Okay, I am taking bets. Well, if not bets, comments. The evidence is mounting. Webb’s appearances in the national media are increasing. On the night of May 20th, the day that Obama will definitely go over the top in the majority of elected pledged delegates, Webb will be making at least two national TV appearances, one on CNN and one on MSNBC, Olbermann’s Countdown. Webb can help Obama win: a military guy, who is something of a populist, with blue collar appeal. He has been a dogged opponent of the Iraq War, and he shares with Obama the loneliness of the long distance writer. Obama strategist David Axelrod recently said that, “the primary characteristic Mr. Obama would look for in a vice president was someone with whom he was extremely comfortable” (New York Observer, May 13th). Webb seems to fit the bill here also. And for what it’s worth, Intrade has him as a close second to Hillary for the VP slot. (But Hillary fails the comfort test that Axelrod mentions. Not sure if the Intrade traders have factored this in.) [Update, May, 22, Intrade now has Webb slightly ahead.] I am not surprised that there is a draft Webb movement underfoot. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Obama_Webb08/
However, if Webb’s military background proves insufficient, I have a suggestion. I don’t think Obama should mess around. I’ve heard that these GOP characters can play pretty rough. And they like surfing the waves in swiftboats. Obama may need phasers and shields. He will need someone who knows how to use them. He will need someone whose citizenship no one would dare to challenge, given the consequences. He will need:
UPDATE May 19, 2008, 5:00 PM. In comments on this site and other sites, concerns have been expressed about misogynistic statements made by Webb. If true, this would be an extremely serious problem for his candidacy, to say the least. I have been under the impression that claims about his alleged misogyny originated from his opponents in his race for the Senate in 2006. Webb is a novelist. It appears that passages from his fictional works were used by his opponents to represent his views. Needless to say, this is dirty pool. It is called “fiction” for a reason. But if readers have more information on this topic, please reply.
UPDATE May 22, 5:00 PM EST. I haven’t heard any further comments about Webb’s alleged misogyny. And while it is true that he is currently trying to hawk his new book, what he is saying in his appearances on TV are very much in line with what Obama has been saying. Consider their comments the last couple of days about our having negotiated with adversaries who were much stronger than Iran, for example, the USSR and China. And how we must not confuse negotiation with capitulation. Also, consider how both are declaring that the needs of poor folks, white and minority, have not been adequately addressed. To say that they are on the same wavelength would be putting it mildly. (Of course, Obama will have to weigh numerous factors in making the final decision for VP.)
UPDATE June 6, 2008 Washington Post, Kristen Mack reports that at a rally in Virginia, “Obama thanked Webb, saying, ‘If you’re in a fight, and we are going to be in a fight, you want Jim Webb to have your back.'” I still think that he is very much in the running. Regarding concerns raised about misogyny. I have learned that he made some very bad calls about women in the military, as well as unacceptable comments about Tailhook. However, I have also heard that he has since apologized and that his record has markedly improved. Webb was a Republican. He is something of a changed man. The questions is, how much has Webb changed? I believe that his populism is for real. I want to hear more.
UPDATE June 21, 2008. Well, the Webb for VP story just doesn’t appear to be going away. Again, for what it is worth, Intrade today as him as the favorite for VP ahead of Clinton. In terms of the issue that could be most damaging to his selection, his record on women’s issues, the following was reported today in a Wall Street Journal article cited on the Huffington Post. “Sen. Webb’s spokeswoman points out that he has received “100%” scores from Naral, a pro-choice women’s group, and just last week introduced a bill that would provide four weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees.” “Arming Obama,” The Wall Street Journal, June 21st.