Please vote in the November 7 election. If you live in Virginia, here's why you should vote FOR Jim Webb in the Senate race:
Who is Jim Webb?
Jim served his country as a Marine platoon and company commander in Vietnam, for which he was awarded the Navy Cross, Silver Star, two bronze stars and two purple hearts. Later, he became Secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration. He earned a law degree at Georgetown University, but became a writer, authoring works of fiction and nonfiction, including an acclaimed best-selling novel--Fields of Fire--based on his Vietnam experience, and a history of the Scots-Irish people in America--Born Fighting.
Jim has written many op-ed pieces over the years, including a prescient column in the Washington Post several months before the Iraq war in which he warned of just the quagmire we find our country in today.
What are his politics?
Jim was a Democrat for much of his life, but like many disaffected Democrats in the late 1970's found himself attracted to Ronald Reagan and his political philosophy. Jim has returned to the Democratic party after seeing the disastrous results of George W. Bush's fiscal and foreign policies.
What this means is that Jim is a true independent minded moderate. He will be a voice of reason and principle in the Senate, who will not be afraid to stand up to leaders of either party if they are pursuing bad policies.
Is Jim really a Democrat?
Yes, he is. But, like many Democrats, his views are moderate, and on some issues he does not necessarily embrace the party's position. We expect him to be not that different, frankly, from Chuck Robb (and we doubt Virginia will be electing anyone much more liberal than that anytime soon).
Where Is Jim On The Issues?
Iraq/National Defense/War on Terror. Jim favors a strong national defense but opposes adventurism abroad. He favors using diplomacy to further America's interests with the rest of the world. He has the mature knowledge of a warrior as to the limits of military power.
In keeping with that philosophy, Jim will work hard to get us out of Iraq as quickly as possible without sacrificing our security interests. He believes we need to engage the governments of Iran and Syria, as well as other middle eastern states, in dialogue about the problems in Iraq. It won't be easy, but absent involvement of those states we're not going to solve the problems that we have, in part, created there.
Jim knows that Islamic terrorists, particularly those affiliated with Al Queda, pose a continuing threat to the U.S. He supports a more concerted effort to find and eliminate Osama Bin Laden and supports policies that will give law enforcement and intelligence agencies the tools they need to prevent terrorist attacks without sacrificing the very freedoms that make our country special.
Economy/Taxes. Jim is a progressive on economic issues, who favors raising the minimum wage and would let the Bush tax cuts expire while pushing for meaningful tax relief for middle income taxpayers. He favors a prudent federal budget that is balanced and free of special interest earmarks and tax breaks.
Energy/Environment. He favors policies to protect the environment and move us toward sustainable energy development. Global warming is a fact that we need to begin to address. We can improve our national security by reducing dependence on imported oil and gas.
Civil Rights. Jim will work to preserve civil rights laws and ensure their effective enforcement by courts, opposing appointment of right wing judges with a professed antipathy toward such laws.
What About Jim And Women's Rights?
The Allen campaign has made much of an article Jim wrote in 1979 opposing admitting women to the Naval Academy. Jim has apologized for comments he made in that article that women rightly viewed as offensive. As Secretary of the Navy Jim actively promoted women in the military and the Pentagon. Many of those women are working hard with his campaign today.
Jim is committed to women's rights. His campaign is filled with women in key positions, including his campaign manager and his campaign spokesperson. Jim will favor laws that help women attain and maintain equality in the workplace.
There are, of course, dozens of other issues that may be important to individual voters. Jim's positions are generally progressive. For example, while he does not favor gay marriage, he opposes Virginia Constitutional Amendment No. 1, which goes well beyond the issue of gay marriage.
Electing A Democratic Majority
Finally, electing Jim is important to attaining a Democratic majority in the Senate. Having a Democratic majority is key to reigning in the Bush administration and forcing change in the way the war in Iraq is being waged. With control of congressional committees, Democrats can set new priorities, prevent silly show votes on non-issues like flag-burning, hold hearings and investigate abuses.
VOTE ON NOVEMBER 7! KARL ROVE THINKS YOU WON'T--PROVE HIM WRONG AND SEND A MESSAGE THAT WE'RE FED UP WITH BUSH'S FAILED POLICIES!
[Next week: Why You Should Vote AGAINST George Allen.]