Sunday, February 04, 2007

Why Obama and Not Webb?

There has been a lot of praise for Jim Webb's speech given in response to the President's State of the Union speech. (An example of such praise is seen in the column by E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post which can be read by clicking on this entry's title.) It was a powerful speech and made the case not only against the war but for a different economic policy, one that is populist and not elitist in approach. Which brings us to this question: why is Barack Obama being hyped for President and not Jim Webb?

Both have made well received speeches that were covered by the national media, Obama in 2004 at the Democratic Convention, Webb's response mentioned above. True, Obama has four years of experience as a Senator while Webb was just elected, but Webb served in the Reagan administration as Secretary of the Navy. He actually has more Federal government experience than Obama. He also has the added advantage of having served in combat in Vietnam and being from a state, Virginia, that has voted mostly Republican in presidential elections but is one in which the Democratic Party is making inroads. Obama, on the other hand, comes from a pretty safe "blue" state, Illinois. Webb is also a white Southerner which was also true of the last three Democrats to get elected president since 1960: Johnson, Carter, and Clinton.

All of this is not to say that Obama wouldn't make a good Democratic nominee or that Webb should run for president. It is to say that it is odd that while the net roots are really buzzing about Obama there is no comparable buzz for Webb, even though he would have a lot to recommend him.

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