“If he does, we will join him. If he does not, we will be showing him the way.”

Senator Jim Webb of Virginia:

God damn. It’s like I’ve fallen through some wonderful rabbit hole, into a land populated with Democrats who are able to be rhetorically and politically effective. It’s enough to give a man hope.

Advertisements

17 thoughts on ““If he does, we will join him. If he does not, we will be showing him the way.”

  1. Ananth

    The reason why Jim Webb is effective, and is for the most part the kind of democrat I can get behind, is that unlike most democrats, even including those that served, this is a man who truly does care for the military, and doesn’t simply pay lip service to it.

    In his Victory Speech, it was a funny a thing I witnessed. Everyone there was gloating on how great it was to have taken the Senate. Webb starts the speech, referencing how today was a historic day. Democrats Cheered wildly. Then he went on to explain that it was the 200 something birthday of the Marine Corp… Cheers were suddenly muted.

    Now I am not saying all Democrats think that people in the Military are victims, or stupid, or rubes, or manipulated or whatever, but I think a lot of them do think that way, but Jim Webb is someone that these charges couldn’t stick…

    On a compeletly unrelated note, why is the term Democrat considered a perjorative? When did this happen?

  2. Steve

    On a compeletly unrelated note, why is the term Democrat considered a perjorative? When did this happen?

    Newt Gingrich and Frank Luntz popularized it in the 90’s when they were doing all that coaching for the Republicans on what language they should use, although apparently it goes back at least to 1940. It’s not a pejorative per se. It’s just that when Republicans incorrectly use “Democrat” as an adjective instead of “Democratic,” they’re doing it to be pricks — they don’t want people to associate the Democratic Party with being democratic, and “Democrat” ends with “rat,” which they do want people to associate with the Democratic Party. Also, the Democratic Party calls itself the Democratic Party, and it’s usually considered polite not to make up your own names for people you’re talking to. It’s like calling Republicans “Rethuglicans.”

  3. Ananth

    But see, Jim Webb, Democrat or John Warner, Republican sound better than, Jim Webb, Democratic Party, John Warner Republican Party.

    The whole rat thing, whatever…

    also damn you once again for Regina being stuck in my head!

  4. Steve

    Also,

    In his Victory Speech, it was a funny a thing I witnessed. Everyone there was gloating on how great it was to have taken the Senate. Webb starts the speech, referencing how today was a historic day. Democrats Cheered wildly. Then he went on to explain that it was the 200 something birthday of the Marine Corp… Cheers were suddenly muted.

    I watched that very speech just last night as I was searching YouTube. I’ll look for it again tonight after I get home, but in the one I watched, I heard something like, “You know, I tried to keep from mentioning the Marine Corps during the campaign, but tonight…” and then he was drowned out by the cheering. Then he brought up a bunch of guys to the stage that he’d served with. Perhaps there’s some sort of Dean Scream thing going on, where it sounds different depending on what microphone picked it up.

    Honest to god, the idea that a room full of Democratic political supporters wouldn’t cheer the fucking Marines is absurd. Especially the Democratic political supporters of a guy who is a Marine. Seriously, I’d bet that almost to a person, if someone cares enough about their country to work for a Senate campaign, they also respect military service.

    I know Fox News would like us to think that Democrats hate the military, even though the party itself is positively lousy with veterans, but I’m surprised you buy it.

  5. Ananth

    It’s in the very beginning when he comes on. I think Harry Reid or Chuck Schumer introduces him in it. I am telling you what I remember as I was watching the speech live. this wasn’t a filtered ‘Hannity’ version of what happened. I definetly remember that the level of cheering went done noticably when it was cheering for marines….

    I never said hate the military. I do absolutely believe that Democratic Party members (see I am trying here) more than Republicans look at the military as something other than a noble/selfless/ serving your country pursuit. Again, I am not saying all, but a lot.

    I think that there are a lot of people who look down on the people that serve, as if the only reason people serve are because the have no other options, and that they are being used by serving. These are the people who will continually point to how the uneducated or minorities are baring an unfair burden, regardless of what the actual facts say. And serving does not make you immune to this. Do you think the row over John Kerry’s botched joke would have the same legs if Jim Webb had made them? And I think they feel that people who are in the military are ‘victims’ that need thier help to get out this horrible situation they would never have been in if they only had choices. To them that is how to ‘support the troops’.

    Look both political parties are lousy with veterans. Being something doesn’t immunize you against something. that’s like me saying I can’t be racist because I am a minority.

  6. Steve

    I think that there are a lot of people who look down on the people that serve, as if the only reason people serve are because the have no other options, and that they are being used by serving.

    Are we still talking about Democrats, here? Rather than, say, Dick “I had other priorities” Cheney?

    And I think they feel that people who are in the military are ‘victims’ that need thier help to get out this horrible situation they would never have been in if they only had choices. To them that is how to ’support the troops’.

    As opposed to sending soldiers to Iraq to be killed, maimed, and/or scarred for life in order to advance Iran’s strategic interests?

    Again: this Democratic contempt for “The Troops” is a story you’ve been told.

  7. Ananth

    Actually I wasn’t referring to one particular party on this. I said a lot of people. that means R and D or I.

    And again, whatever your feeling on the war is, we have an all volunteer army. Lamenting the suffering of the army and using it as a reason not to use the army makes no sense. I mean, I wouldn’t be able to Justify a War but saying the soldiers are enjoying themselves?

    Also, I didn’t use the word contempt either… It is more of looking at the military with pity kind of phenomonon….

  8. Jennifer

    Man, why does the camera keep zooming? Find a frame and stay there, my friend. Find a frame and stay there.

  9. Steve

    Find a frame and stay there, my friend. Find a frame and stay there.

    If the camera didn’t keep shifting perspective, the intensity of Jim Webb’s manliness would burn his image permanently into the lens. It’s science.

  10. Eric

    “And again, whatever your feeling on the war is, we have an all volunteer army. Lamenting the suffering of the army and using it as a reason not to use the army makes no sense.”

    The only reason a debate on contempt for the troops is important is if they’re being undervalued and therefore being unnecessarily put in harms way. They didn’t volunteer for Operation Human Shield.

    I think Webb said it damn well – the leaders of a nation respect the sacrifice of a voluntary army by making sure the threat posed to the nation is at least equivalent to the price those troops would have to pay if called upon to defend it.

  11. Ananth

    “They didn’t volunteer for Operation Human Shield.”…

    In fact they did. People in the Military have been and will be ordered in the future to sacrifice their own lives to save particular people, places, positions, etc… I am not saying that the Iraq war in it of itself qualifies, but history is filled with missions that were one way tickets for those serving…

    That however in no way negates the validity of Webb’s statement.

  12. Steve

    In fact they did.

    NO. Soldiers have agreed to give their lives for their country, if necessary, and the least — THE LEAST — they can expect from that country is that it will honor that agreement by making absolutely goddamn sure that when we finally ask for that sacrifice, it is because we have exhausted all other options.

    This is from John Rogers’ most linked-to post, and it is so for good reason:

    There is truth in the idea that soldiers are our designated warriors. But the accidental revelation in these attitudes is the bizarre concept that by soldiers choosing a life of taking risks on our behalf, these war supporters are somehow absolved of any responsibility to them other than emotional support and approval. There is the stink of … the troops as employees. Like, say, gardeners. Not that I would ever make such a crude comparison.

    But the fact is that soldiers make this choice in a specific context. They are not just entering a job. They are, to pull up my Catholic high school education, entering into a covenant with us. They take an oath to sacrifice their lives, if need be. That is, in my faith anyway, the holiest thing a person can do. In return, the civilian side of the covenant is a deep responsibility, a responsibility far beyond the emotional support one gives a sports team, or the minimal responsibility one has with employees. Our oath is simple:

    We will make sure you have the equipment you need.

    We will make sure have a clearly defined mission.

    We will make sure that such missions are as well-planned as possible.

    We will take care of your families while you are gone.

    We will take care of you when you come home.

    That’s not a lot to do for someone who’s out there getting shot at for you. Even better, rather than the fuzzy “we will support you” standard set by many, these are actionable, definable terms. Is “supporting the troops” just waving flags, writing supportive essays, and arguing for the nobility of their mission? I say no, those actions are laudable but meaningless if they are not backed by these concrete goals. And concrete, plainly spoken responsibilites are exactly what we need: by measuring ourselves against our progress in these arenas we can, if we are honest, meaningfully judge if we are fulfilling our duty.

    You know this. You just said so. The Iraq war does not qualify, and the Bush administration, who started this war and are having United States soldiers killed — who are ordering them to torture — for less than nothing, are evil. Straight up. No prevaricating, no allowances for your preference of political party. They have not just failed, but scorned the responsibility a nation has to its soldiers.

  13. Ananth

    Look, I am not arguing about the general Iraq war. I took Eric’s point to mean that soldiers didn’t volunteer to perform missions in which they are sacrificed. I disagree with that. I think arguing against a war because of the loss of our troops is not really germane. You aren’t suddenly going to change your mind on the Iraq war if the American Causulity Rate was 0.

    Also you are misrepresenting what I said. I simply said that I wasn’t arguing with whether the Iraqi war qualifies. I didn’t say it DIDN’T Qualify. You and I have talked about this Ad Nauseum, and while you seem to think that we have lost, I am reserving my judgement until things are actually concluded.

  14. Steve

    I took Eric’s point to mean that soldiers didn’t volunteer to perform missions in which they are sacrificed. I think arguing against a war because of the loss of our troops is not really germane. You aren’t suddenly going to change your mind on the Iraq war if the American Causulity Rate was 0.

    Eric’s point, and mine, is that no one is saying what you’re arguing against. The point is not that soldiers should never die, as you assert it is. The point is that the covenant a nation makes with its soldiers is that it won’t ask them to kill or die needlessly.

  15. Eric

    Ananth, I’m with ya. Steve’s interpretation of my statement is more accurate though. The military (and police/firefighters) are respected specifically because they did sign up for a job that might entail their being sacrificed. And I know you made no statements tying this discussion to Iraq and don’t disagree with Webb, so this isn’t counter to anything you’ve said but my problem with Iraq is not the bodycount, it’s that our troops aren’t being “sacrified” for reasons I find weighty enough.

  16. Ananth

    I know that’s what you and Steve’s problem with the Iraq war is. But I think a lot of the people who make that arguement in this case where they are more justified in feeling the covenant has been broken, feel the same way about Afghanistan or the first gulf war. I think that a lot of those people are more against the use of the military at all, and well use whatever excuse that is most compelling for thier PR campaign. I am not saying you two.

  17. Steve

    But I think a lot of the people who make that arguement in this case where they are more justified in feeling the covenant has been broken, feel the same way about Afghanistan or the first gulf war. I think that a lot of those people are more against the use of the military at all, and well use whatever excuse that is most compelling for thier PR campaign.

    Who is this lot of people? Where are they? What influence do they have? When has there ever been a war that didn’t boost a sitting President’s approval ratings when it started? These knee-jerk pacifists just don’t exist in the numbers you seem to think they do.

Comments are closed.