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January 23, 2007

JIM WEBB: Opening with the 400th anniversary of Jamestown? Er, okay. Comes across as stiff and awkward -- not surprising, as the "response" format is awkward and unnatural.

Oh, hell, I was going to liveblog this, but Dan Riehl has already blogged it based on the released text, and Webb seems to be following that.

But Webb clearly wants to sound tough on terror while advocating withdrawal from Iraq. He does that about as well as anyone could. Quickly jumps back to the economy and talks about Teddy Roosevelt.

Domestically, Bush will fill that bill in the next two years, I suspect. Now he's invoking Eisenhower, again.

What, are there no Democratic Presidents Webb admires? (LATER: Michael Oliver emails: "Glenn, he did mention Andrew Jackson early in the speech. Maybe it's just 20th century Democrats he doesn't like." Good point.)

A better-than-average SOTU response, by the low standards of those.

UPDATE: Everyone's a critic:

They're saying Jim Webb wrote the Democratic response himself. Maybe he should get a speechwriter. Where a normal person would say the parties have "disagreed" or "differed," he says they've "stood in contradiction."

I guess novelists are use to this sort of complaint. And a reader emails:

Jim Webb told the Air America/Randi Rhodes lie that the majority of the military doesn’t support the effort.

So once again, it seems Democrats get to lie without consequence or question.

There's not much support for that notion -- it's certainly not what Michael Yon just reported from the front -- and it suggests that for Webb's generation it will always be Vietnam. [LATER: CNN has the same problem: Check the photo caption.]

MORE: Jonah Goldberg: "I'm still kind of a two cheers for Jim Webb kind of guy, but I just don't think he did a very good job at all (contrary to the Fox panel's collective opinion). It was definitely more interesting than a lot of Democratic responses (or GOP responses in the 90s). But it was, I thought, something of a mess."

He, too, wonders where Webb got that "majority of the military" bit.

MORE STILL: The poll Webb is probably relying on, and why it's rather dubious, discussed at Callimachus. I know that the Pajamas Media folks talked with Mark Blumenthal and other pollsters about polling military attitudes and concluded that it's effectively impossible to get a reliable poll. And, in fact, the "poll" doesn't purport to be scientific. But if you're going to take it seriously, see what military people say about the media . . . .

STILL MORE: And here's more on that poll at The Mudville Gazette, though as far as I know it's only conjecture that this was Webb's source.

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