Will Webb Make the Cut?

Quick aside: the McCain folks have simply just got to HATE how much more attention Obama’s running mate hunt gets than his does.  I’m just sayin.

Speculation is flying hard and fast regarding who will eventually find themselves on the number two spot for the Democratic ticket.  I think it’s worth noting that in the Spring of last year my pick was Tim Kaine (just hold onto that for a little longer, we’ll see how well I did soon enough).  But while my long ago prediction hasn’t gotten a lot of mention in the VP running, another prominent Virginia politician is the subject of much speculation: Jim Webb.

There’s lots to be said for an Obama/Webb ticket, but as talk about him grows louder, there seems to be more dissent out there as well.  For one, I’ve heard rumbling in the weeds that Webb’s just not that great of a campaigner, something that I mentioned earlier this morning may not actually be a problem.

The Politico reports that another stumbling block to Webb’s selection might be his affinity towards the Confederation.  While Webb frequently makes an historical argument for the Confederacy that I’ve heard often in the past, that doesn’t change the divisiveness of the issue any.  Such proclivity may tamp down support in some areas, even while in others it will undoubtedly help (hint: Appalachia and the South).

But I think the Slate’s Timothy Noah probably gets the biggest picture.  Simply put, Jim Webb’s got a pretty long paper trail of positions on issues that don’t go over well, not for a progressive base anyway, and on some issues probably not with a good majority of Americans.  Not that he continues to hold some of these stances, mind you, such as women in the military, but in the world of politics, as we all know, if you ever believed in something that is a political liability, you believe in it until the day you die.

Of course, there’s a very likely possibility that none of this matters.

Virginia has a strong and growing Democratic party, but at the moment it almost feels as though that party is balanced on the shoulders of Tim Kaine, Mark Warner, and Jim Webb.  Those are the big three.  Now, Tim Kaine’s governorship is almost up (in Virginia, you can only serve one consecutive term as governor), so if he were to be tapped to be Obama’s running mate, little would be lost.  But if Webb were to join Obama on the ticket, and they won, then we would have to figure out how to hold his Senate seat, which may prove to be a difficult task.

Former governor Jim Gilmore (who is challenging Mark Warner for the John Warner’s seat this election year), has made it clear that he wants in on the Senate.  He will lose (badly) to Mark Warner, but I’m not sure that Virginia can put up another tough challenger to hold the seat against Gilmore should Webb vacate.

I’ve also heard that George Allen wants his seat back.  The Macaca moment may have sunk him initially, but, again, without another strong Democratic challenger, one wonders whether or not Allen could take his seat back.

In other words, we kind of need Webb where he’s at right now.  On top of this, while Webb hasn’t pulled a Strickland-esque, “I’ll never ever ever serve ever,” he has indicated in the past that he would better serve as Senator as opposed to Vice President.

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