Webb Access Denied
07-08-2008
In a handful of conversations I’ve had with Obama supporters recently, one name keeps surfacing as a favorite for the vice presidential slot, Senator Jim Webb of Virginia. So I am sure those voters were sorely disappointed yesterday, when Webb appeared to firmly remove himself from consideration for the Democratic ticket. While conventional wisdom suggests that no politician will refuse to serve as a running mate when asked directly by the nominee, Webb’s under no circumstances statement yesterday seemed to rule it out, and most certainly brought the vetting of his candidacy by the Obama campaign to an abrupt halt.
 
While these voters told me that they appreciated Webb’s military credentials and his outspoken opposition to the Iraq War, what really intrigued them was Webb’s penchant for bluntness and his independence of mind. Webb’s now famous exchange with President Bush at a White House reception for new members of Congress serves as a classic case in point. Any political professional will tell you that this wild card aspect of Webb’s personality is precisely the kind of personal quality that can cause headaches for a presidential campaign in the heat of a general election contest, when a nominee depends on his running mate to stick to the script. But these voters seemed to value Webb as a fresh political presence much as they do Obama, and they saw the potential for a real electoral synergy there. Unfortunately for them, Webb was exercising that very same independence of mind, when he removed himself from any further consideration.


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