I have not warmed up to Webb during the past five years even though he was a military veteran and anyone who knows me knows how much I adore and respect our military. His major achievement was that he was instrumental in pushing a GI bill that provided better benefits for veterans.
I have respect for his military service but could never get past the fact the man seemed to have a chip on his shoulder the size of Mt. Rushmore. He checked his manners at the door, something that began as soon as he entered the U.S. Senate in 2007 during the George W. Bush administration.
George W, a friendly, down-to-earth man who tried to find something good in those he met, tried to welcome the new Virginia senator to Washington, asking about his son who was deployed to Iraq. Did Webb smile and say, "Thank you for asking, Mr. President"? No. He growled, "That's between me and my boy." Mr. Webb must have needed an updated copy of "Miss Manners."
Tigrrrr Express had an accurate observation about the Webb-Allen issue with honest insight into what happened during the 2006 senate race:
Virginia Democratic Senator Jim Webb has decided not to run for reelection in 2012. After one term, he leaves behind a legacy of an asterisk.Webb's act of cutting and running for shelter in the reelection rematch is not a first. He did the same during the summer of 2009 when Virginians were begging for town hall meetings with Webb to hear and discuss the looming ObamaCare vote. Webb elected to travel overseas during his senate break instead of meeting with those he represented and, when the vote occurred in Congress, he voted with Obama and against the majority of Ameicans who did not want overreaching health care. Since that time, Webb has continued to duck from sight as far as being accessible to his constituents.
His election in 2006 took place because the blogosphere torpedoed the campaign of George Allen.
(Full Disclosure: I did an event with Governor Allen recently. I am enthusiastically supporting his return to the Senate.)
Joe Biden gets to spout nonsense on a daily basis, but one comment blown out of proportion led to George Allen going from a top tier presidential candidate to an agonizingly close Senate loss. The vote was close enough for a recount, but George Allen is not Al Gore. He put the people over his own ambition and walked away honorably.
The man who defeated him entered just as dishonorably. When President George W. Bush tried to welcome Mr. Webb by asking about his son, Webb replied, “That’s between me and my boy.” Webb’s classlessness is one reason he will not be missed. As for why he is leaving, George Allen is making a comeback. For a man who loved attacking Republicans, [Webb's] cutting and running for shelter is a tad gutless. Either way, good riddance to Mr. Webb.
Due to his lack of engagement with Virginians, his votes as a loyal foot soldier to Obama, his vote for ObamaCare and the reaffirmation of that vote last week, many had already read the handwriting on the wall before Wednesday's announcement. Add to that the oft-reported fact that Webb's war chest was languishing from lack of fund raising and the fact that his perhaps most-feared nightmare came true -- George Allen stepping back onto the field for a rematch.
The time of Webb will soon be a thing of the past. Virginians are ready for a representative who will travel the Commonwealth and listen to the voices of the people instead of hiding behind closed doors.
Cross-posted at Virginia Virtucon