« Thank You, Darcy | Main | Post - Election Discussion This Evening at UW »

November 11, 2006

Webb a Conservative? Hardly

There has been much in the traditional media lately about the new crop of conservative Democrats.  These folks point to James Webb, former Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan who has only considered himself to be a Democrat for a short time.  Ha! Are they in for a surprise. 

Lou Dobbs interviewed Webb on CNN the other day and I don't think you could walk away from that interview thinking of Webb as a conservative.  In addition to his very sane position on this war, Webb is also focused on the income disparities between the rich and the rest of us and on the national policies that promote and exacerbate that disparity.  Best of all, he is able to articulate it (helps to be a writer, I tell you) in a way that people can hear.  He calls it "fairness".  I foresee the end of the Republicans ability to stop all conversation about this subject by saying "Oh, they're just fomenting class warfare". 

Here's a bit of what they talk about in this interview: re-instituting the idea of fairness in society, wages and salaries being at an all time low, a lack of accountability in corporate America, and the migration of wealth to the top 1%.   

Dobbs points his listeners to Webb's website for a picture of what we can expect Webb to focus on as a Senator:

Jim believes that solutions will be found using a progressive approach to policy that prioritizes fairness and justice, focused on four major themes:

    * Refocusing America's foreign and defense policies in a way that truly protects our national interests and seeks harmony where they are not threatened.

    * Repairing the country's basic infrastructure, which has eroded badly over the past decade, and developing more creative ways to assist disaster-stricken areas such as those in New Orleans and along the Gulf coast.

    * Reinstituting notions of true fairness in American society, including issues of race, class, and economic advantage; and

    * Restoring the Constitutional role of the Congress as an equal partner, reining in the unbridled power of the Presidency.

I don't have cable and don't watch Dobbs often but I do think of him as right on target on some key issues and a loose cannon on others.  He has focused on the issues of corporations taking jobs and money offshore.  Then he goes off on immigration and other issues in ways that just don't make sense to me.   However Dobbs has a large following.  He didn't anchor CNN's election coverage for nothing.  And I think of his listeners being in the "Reagan Democrats" mold.  (I may be off here but it seems likely.)  So, if Webb were able to make a consistent connection with Lou Dobbs and his listeners, I suspect we wouldn't have to worry about another election in a decade or more. 

Follow me over the fold for more on James Webb.

The above interview on CNN got me to do some research on Jim Webb.  I checked out both Webb's own personal site and the entry for him at wikipedia.  I came away even more impressed with him.

I now want to be one of the first to suggest that we seriously look at James Webb as the Democratic candidate for President in 2008.  I have been talking with a friend about this and had come to the conclusion that he needed more time as Senator under his belt before he ran.  But that was before I read his bios.

I now think he is one of the best people this country could have as President.  He is new on the national political scene at that level.  But that doesn't mean he isn't prepared.  He may in fact be more prepared than anyone else because he has done so much outside the political realm, all of which have honed his ability to think well about our nation.  He has excelled as a military man, earning the Navy Cross for bravery; been a lawyer which has including stints in Congress as legal counsel; consulted to governments (ours and others); served as Secretary of the Navy; and been an award-winning journalist, and best-selling writer of both non-fiction and fiction. 

And imagine what that stage would look like with Webb and his Vietnamese-American wife, an assortment of their children from previous marriages, and maybe Barack Obama as his Vice-Presidential choice.  Now that is modern America. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on November 11, 2006 at 09:33 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink


How come no body can tell me who the richest 2% are? When I ask political candidates how much a person has to make before they are considered wealthy, they don't answer.

This is the kind of thing that causes me not to vote. Because I cannot get a straight answer from anybody.

Either they don't know, which then makes me question the knowledge of the issues, or they know and don't want to tell, which tells me they're hidding something.

How can I as a citizen make an infomed decision if none of them can answer my basic question?

Just hearing the tax cuts are for the wealthiest 2% doesn't cut it.


Posted by: Dave | Nov 13, 2006 1:31:33 PM

Dave, I can't pinpoint the exact figures you want, which don't seem to appear on the standard data tables, but I can get somewhat close to it.

From this table, we see that in 2005 the top *five* percent of household income was at or above $166,000.

Looking at this table, we see that there were approximately 114 million households in the USA in 2005 (top of the first "Number" column). One percent of that would be 1.144 million families. Looking at the very bottom of that same column, we find that there were 2.023 million households (a bit under 2% of households) earning at least $250,000. That group is a pretty good surrogate for "the top 2%".

So a good ballpark is that the top 2% of households make at least $250,000 a year, and the median income in the group (in essence, the lowest income in the top *one* percent) is around $435,000.

Posted by: Neal Traven | Nov 14, 2006 1:03:24 AM

Post a comment