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Jim Webb Talks Reagan Democrats And The Way Forward

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Jim Webb ran as a Democrat in Virginia and barely won. He pleaded with the leadership to consider the bloc of voters that brought him into office, but he was ignored.

And then last Tuesday happened.

Real Clear Politics caught up with the moderate Dem and he shared his thoughts on what happened and why…

Webb seems less at home today. He identifies himself as a Democrat. But he has few Democratic leaders to identify with. He won’t say this. His criticism is discernibly girdled. He begins to tell a story about a conversation with a Democratic leader and pulls back. “I don’t want to talk about that,” he mutters. “I have had my discussions. I’ve kept them inside the house. I did not want to have them affect this election, quite frankly. I didn’t want to position myself in the media as a critic of the administration.”

But criticism is in order. Democrats’ suffered historical losses from Congress to the state houses last week. It’s an apt moment for Webb to step in. He is an atypical politician. Politics is not his alpha or omega. He’s authored more than half a dozen books, succeeded as a screenwriter and won an Emmy for his coverage of the U.S. Marines in Beirut. This success outside politics empowers him to be less political. Yet what suits Webb to criticism is not that. It’s the political sociology he embodies.

Here’s web on the healthcare fight…

“A lot of people in this country, when they look up here, they want to see leadership. They want to see credibility. And they are not always the same thing,” Webb says. “The healthcare issue really took away a lot of the credibility of the new leadership–Obama particularly–the Reid-Pelosi-Obama trio.”

Webb swallowed the bitter pill in the end. He voted for the final healthcare package. He quickly notes that he’s open to improving the legislation. These issues will dog Webb two years from now, when his term ends.

Honestly, it would be a shame if Dems like Webb got voted out of office. His voice is needed if Dems have any chance to make their case to independents.

And to that point…

This independent problem returns Democrats to their white problem. Most non-aligned voters are white. White males constitute the plurality of independents. These are the Reagan Democrats. Webb does not see himself as their spokesman. But he is one of the few Democrats able to speak as one of them.

If I were Obama, I’d pay A LOT more attention to folks like Webb and no time talking to Pelosi. Obama passed one of the most liberal agendas in the past 30 years and liberals didn’t show up at the polls because the legislation wasn’t liberal enough. The mojo is in the center. That’s the only way Obama was able to win in 2008 and it will be the only way for Dems to keep the White House in 2 year’s time.