The Corner

Jim Webb

I think all of the predictions that Webb will make for one of the Senate’s most interesting senators are all probably  true. There’s a lot to admire about the guy. But, I also get the distinct impression that he will end up having a real political tin ear and turn out to be amazingly prickly. One small example: the networks keeps running this clip from his victory rally where he calls on the president to denounce the sort of negative campaigning which divided Americans in this election. It’s a really, really lame soundbite — and the press probably deserves some grief for airing it so much. But it’s telling. Here this guy just won this huge election, the Democrats are all on their “bipartisanship uber alles” talking points, Allen has just conceded graciously and called for unity, and here’s Webb calling for Bush to denounce yesterday’s news. There’s no percentage in it. Nobody will want to talk about it. Bush isn’t running for anything and asking the head of a party to, in effect, apologize for how it ran a losing campaign is deeply ungracious in political terms. The sense I got is that Webb is still peeved about the negative ads and he won’t let it go — even on his day of victory. Recall that Webb couldn’t last long as Secretary of the Navy either. Obviously, it’s too soon to tell, but my guess is that within a year the conventional wisdom will be that he doesn’t play well with others.