Primary Obama: Jim Webb? Naahhh
by fairleft, Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 07:08:18 PM EST
Looking from the left among the electable politicians -- i.e., those with appeal to classes and voters divorced from the typical liberal wonkfest -- who have actual Congressional voting records, it's tough getting hopeful and enthusiastic about any potential populist/leftist Obama challenger.
Consider Jim Webb, for example. He's a guy who has said some great words about economic inequality and military quagmires, and yet in four years as a Senator his actions have largely betrayed his words. Does that description also roughly summarize Obama? Yeah, and that's the problem: gotta say NO to enthusiasm based on bright and shining words that don't come with a track record. Not necessarily a track record of accomplishment, but at least a record of a passionate and smart fight against the corporate/financial DC PTB.
Back to Webb, who said this about class after his election in 2006:
The most important-and unfortunately the least debated-issue in politics today is our society's steady drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century. America's top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years. ... The top 1% now takes in an astounding 16% of national income, up from 8% in 1980. The tax codes protect them, just as they protect corporate America, through a vast system of loopholes.
... the true challenge is for everyone to understand that the current economic divisions in society are harmful to our future. It should be the first order of business for the new Congress to begin addressing these divisions, and to work to bring true fairness back to economic life. Workers already understand this, as they see stagnant wages and disappearing jobs.
But where was/is Webb on three critical 'class votes' of recent years: he voted for the bankers bailout, as best I can tell helped block card check unionization, and he now lobbies to keep the Bush tax breaks for some or all of the rich. And then there's the Obama deficit commission chairmen's recommendation to cut Social Security, which Webb 'needs more time to review'.
As for Iraq and Afghanistan, well, he keeps saying he's uncomfortable and has deep misgivings and all that (blather), but keeps voting for the military funding and every other bill that keeps the money flowing. Honestly, though, from an electable Democrat like Webb I might accept the usual hypocrisy on our imperialism, in part because I believe economic decline will force that imperialism/militarism to diminish over the next decade no matter what the U.S. military-industrial complex wants.
But not on the class war. Webb's actions show he's on the wrong side, so screw him.