Tuesday, January 30, 2007

(Fast) Rising star

First Jim Webb told off W at a White House event for new members of Congress. As Stacy Schiff put it, when Bush asked about Sen. Webb's son, who is serving in Iraq, Webb didn't really intend his brusque answer. "Evidently, he meant to slug the President." Wouldn't that have been something?

That was just for openers. A couple of weeks ago, Webb asked Condi if she thought that the President could move against Iran without prior congressional approval. The Secretary of State, showing talent for the diplomatic bob and weave that I didn't think she had, demurred. Instead of answering, she promising to give the Senator a response in writing. Now, everyone knows that she had no intention of replying to the question by speech, writing or smoke signals. Webb got what he intended from asking the question; Rice's refusal to answer made the response clear as day.

But Jim Webb is looking distinctly different from other politicians, even other anti-war Democrats. So, he's written to the Secretary of State to pose his question again, and added this helpful comment: "This is, basically, a 'yes' or 'no' question regarding an urgent matter affecting our nation’s foreign policy." More details here.

You've got to love this guy. He seems to have watched "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," and taken it seriously. After a career in the Marines including a record in Vietnam that makes John Kerry look like a draft-dodger, a stint as Reagan's Secretary of the Navy and a hard-fought senatorial campaign in which he knocked of a man who had been considered a leading contender for the Republic nomination in 2008, he still appears to have the unsullied faith in democracy of a Frank Capra hero. The Democratic candidates for President had better watch out--no one's going to be talking seriously about Jim Webb in 2008, but he's going to make a lot of them look like wimps.

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