Could Jim Webb be Hillary Clinton’s “worst nightmare” in 2016? Here’s Al Hunt arguing just that:
If Webb decides to run — fearlessness and unpredictability are his trademarks — there’s plenty of ammunition against him. He’s against gun control, and he has made comments that angered feminists, many of whom consider Clinton a cause as well as a candidate, and environmentalists. He also has been involved in numerous personal controversies.
In a recent Virginia Senate debate, Republican Ed Gillespie sought to paint the moderate Democratic incumbent, Mark Warner, as too left, citing occasions when he didn’t join Webb in voting along a more conservative line.
The maverick lawmaker had a few notable successes, passing a major veterans’ education bill, putting criminal justice reform on the agenda, and calling for a pivot to Asia before Obama was elected. He has criticized executive overreach by both Bush and Obama.
He public mood seems to be turning against Webb on some foreign entanglement issues, but that part of his resume seems unlikely to hurt him with Democrat primary voters. The rest of his positions seems to fit nicely into the current zeitgeist, which is developing a libertarian or at least anti-authoritarian streak. His weak spots include that he can be prickly rather than warm, which might not be a huge handicap against Hillary. And most importantly he has no real power base within the party.
Webb is also a damn fine writer of popular fiction, and I can’t remember the last time we had one of those in the White House, or even as a semi-serious contender.
The Democrats could do a lot worse — and usually do.