Monday, October 30, 2006

Jim Webb Uses Weekend to Make a Punk of George Allen

I find it amazing that, after a couple of decades filled with endless streams of vicious attacks, smears and lies from the Republican party, so many Democrats still choose to respond with mild indignation and meek calls for a formal apology from whomever has just trashed them. Not so with Democrat Jim Webb, who is attempting to remove the GOP's George Felix Allen from his U.S. Senate seat in Virginia and who has often shown the willingness, like the former Marine that he is, to answer a cheap shot with a hard punch right to his opponent's nose.

Webb used a speech given at a get-out-the-vote rally in Annandale, VA on Saturday to totally gut Allen, a man unfit to carry Webb's metaphorical jock as a public servant or as a man.

"I fought in a brutal war. I saw its ugliness while George Allen was hanging out at a dude ranch," said Webb, a highly-decorated Veteran, in ridiculing his pro-war, Chickenhawk opponent.

The 60-year-old Webb served with the Fifth Marine Regiment in Vietnam and was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts.

But Webb mainly used the weekend event to slap Allen down for the pathetic attempts made by his campaign to do everything but have Webb's fictional books burned for what Team Macaca alleges is unacceptable sexual content.

Introduced Saturday by Virginia Governor Tim Kaine as "a guy who’s fearless, who's courageous, who's not going to let a president or a Karl Rove push him around or back him off of anything," Webb made it clear that he wasn't going to let the most recent attacks (on the books he has authored) stand.

"We've had a situation here in the last couple of days that, on the one hand it's kind of ridiculous, but on the other I want to spend a little bit of time today and talk to you about it," began Webb.

Webb then described the critical acclaim his books have received over the decades since their initial publication -- plaudits that are at direct odds with the trash being hurled at Webb by Allen.

"George Allen and his campaign took some small excerpts of my novels and not only criticized them, but used them to question my ethics in my professional writing career and my character -- that's a line that should never be crossed," said Webb, a former Secretary of the U.S. Navy. "You know, you can disagree with me with politics but don’t question my faith and don’t question my character."

He then talked about 'Fields of Fire' and how his book about the Vietnam war -- that's received such ridiculous criticism from Allen, his surrogates and right-wing bloggers -- has been on the Commandant of the Marine Corps' reading list for 20 years and how "it was the most taught piece of American literature in college courses regarding the Vietnam war for many, many years."

Webb discussed his novel 'A Sense of Honor,' another target of Allen's smears, referred to it as a "bluejacket book published by the Naval Institute" and quoted the Boston Globe's review of the book in which it was called "a remarkable moral statement."

And Webb read part of a review from the Washington Post saying of his writing that "a century from now, James Webb will be studied for the light he sheds on military life and civil military relations."

Meanwhile, I'm sure 100 years from now, that history students will study Allen and wonder how a man who wallpapers his home in confederate flags and maintains hangman's nooses in his office was ever elected to even one term in the United States Senate.

"I have written about what I have seen and that is the duty of a writer," said Webb of his career as the author of six best-selling novels and his time as a working war reporter, of which he contrasted his time in battle with Allen's existence "... as a pampered government official coming in for his dog-and-pony show briefings."

"Now maybe George Allen doesn’t understand that, since I'm told he doesn’t read books," Webb said to raucous laughter from the crowd. "Somebody told me yesterday that I've written more books than George Allen has read."

Webb then listed all of the chances he has had to bash Allen for his many blunders in this campaign -- and how he has turned all of them down, saying simply that capitalizing on Allen's many character flaws is "not relevant to what I'm trying to do."

"They asked me to comment, and I refused," Webb said. "I passed up all of this while the Allen campaign has made smear tactics the centerpiece of their entire effort."

"Why have they done that?" asked Webb. "Because George Allen has nothing to report. He has no accomplishments. He has been wrong on foreign policy. He is one of the reasons we are bogged down right now in a nightmare in Iraq. He's been a key figure in selling out the average American worker in order to protect the interests of the powerful who have always paid his way. And by attacking my career and my ethics in this way, if anyone has any doubts from other indicators, he has now shown his true character."

Here's the 10-minute clip showing introductions by Kaine and former Virginia Governor Mark Warner and Webb's speech:

Before giving Allen his dose of straight talk, Webb delivered the Democratic response to George W. Bush's Saturday radio address. Here's an except:
"Since 2003, President Bush has laid out nine different plans for victory in Iraq, none of them serious and none of them workable. And most seriously, this incompetence has hindered our ability to fight international terror.

"If we want a new direction in Iraq, we need a new team in Congress. A democratic Congress will demand from day one that the President find a real way forward in Iraq. We'll work with the Administration and other Republicans to develop a concrete plan, but none of us are ready to settle for empty rhetoric, or the same old unacceptable results."
But as he stood on the stage with Kaine, Warner and a throng of supporters, Webb ended with what should be a strong lesson for meeker Democrats on the take-no-prisoners style required to deal with the neoconservative version the Republicans party.

Said Webb in closing: "Our government should no longer be in the hands of a group of unprincipled, small-minded, power-hungry character assassins. It's time for a change."