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Republic. I like the sound of the word. It means people can live free, talk free, go or come, buy or sell, be drunk or sober, however they choose. Some words can give you a feeling that makes your heart warm. Republic is one of those words. - John Wayne

Thursday, November 30, 2006
Tangled Webb
by Cordeiro
Some people just don’t know when to turn off the campaign switch.

There is a tradition in American politics. After the election dust is settled those chosen by the people to do the people’s business get together in the middle of the field, shake hands, and go to work. People in Washington have been doing this for over 200 years now.

A part of this tradition is a White House reception for incoming lawmakers. I don’t know about you, but being on a White House guest list for any occasion, even for a sit down Barbeque on the veranda, would be an honor to attend.

Note to W and Laura: I’ll gladly clear an evening of your choice.

Enter Jim Webb, narrow victor in Virginia’s senate race. He has made no secret of his disdain for W as a President and as a man. His campaign was more against W than it was against his opponent George Allen. Webb did not win his senate seat as much as Allen lost it.

Webb has a son, a Marine Lance Corporal, who is currently on active duty in Iraq along with 125,000 of his countrymen. The Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces went out of his way to ask the incoming senator the question “How’s your boy?”

Most people would have politely responded and thanked the President for his inquiry. Not Webb. He replied:

I'd like to get them [sic] out of Iraq.
You’ll note the [sic] because W inquired as to a specific marine, Lance Corporal Webb, not the entire deployed force. W “rephrased” the question:

That's not what I asked you. How's your boy?
To which Senator-elect Webb retorted:

That’s between me and my boy, Mr. President.
For nearly six years now, the press and the Washington establishment have decried W’s lack of tact and class. Looks like W has been upstaged in that department.

Memo to Jim Webb: You now represent me in the United States Senate. You represent all Virginians when you enter the White House door. Let me put it to you in simple language you might understand. I expect better. I would expound further on my disgust in regards to your behavior, however I’ll leave that to the brilliant pen of George Will:

Webb certainly has conveyed what he is: a boor. Never mind the patent disrespect for the presidency. Webb's more gross offense was calculated rudeness toward another human being -- one who, disregarding many hard things Webb had said about him during the campaign, asked a civil and caring question, as one parent to another. When -- if ever -- Webb grows weary of admiring his new grandeur as a "leader" who carefully calibrates the "symbolic things" he does to convey messages, he might consider this: In a republic, people decline to be led by leaders who are insufferably full of themselves.( Emphasis added)
Getting on George Will’s bad side before even taking the oath of office is not a good sign, Jim. He took all of two paragraphs to eviscerate your Wall Street Journal victory lap editorial. He used stubborn facts. You used vague hyperbole. You lost.

I expect better, Jim.

Here endeth the lesson.
3 Comment(s):
You forgot to mention the nearly 1500 negative comments Will got from readers, and they're still coming in. The ratio of unfavorable to favorable comments was around 18 to 1.
The Washington Post, and most of its readership, leans so far to the left it falls over when pushed by a slight breeze.

The sheer volume of whiny comments shows Will's assessment of Webb to be amazingly accurate.
I think Peggy Noonan got one right:
"Imagine Lincoln saying, in such circumstances, "That's not what I asked you." Or JFK. Or Gerald Ford!

"That's not what I asked you" is a sentence straight from cable TV, from which many Americans are acquiring an attitude toward public and even private presentation."
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