Sen. Jim Webb for Vice President

Posted on June 4, 2008

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The endless campaign for the Democratic nomination served America well.

Sen. Barack Obama earned the nomination and a place in history. Nothing was handed to him. He won Democratic delegates caucus by caucus, primary by primary, debate by debate. Along the way, the young senator from Illinois became a household name. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton together staged a coast-to-coast teach-in on Democratic Party issues, generating hope and participation not seen in decades.

But the easy part is over. Time to turn the page, time to prepare for the struggle ahead, which will be hard and mean. The Republicans will take no prisoners.

May Barack Obama prevail through the coming storm, if there is to be any justice and peace in the 21st century.

If you were entering a contest for the heart and soul of America, and you had to choose one person to stand at your side, and at your back, whom would you choose?

I respectfully suggest that Sen. Barack Obama consider Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia, a Marine, lawyer, administrator, writer, and lately, a politician.

James Webb was a boxer at the Naval Academy and a Marine officer and rifle platoon leader in Vietnam. After the war, he earned a law degree at Georgetown University, worked for the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, and was Assistant Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Navy in President Ronald Reagan’s administration. In 2006, Democrat Jim Webb broke the Republican lock on Virginia, winning a U.S. Senate seat.

Webb’s books include Born Fighting, his history of the Scots-Irish in America, and his latest, A Time To Fight: Reclaiming A Fair and Just America, currently in fourth place on the Washington Post nonfiction best-seller list. Anyone who has read Born Fighting can attest to Webb’s deep understanding of American history, particularly the roots of the American trait of rugged individualism, and his respect and affection for American working people, especially in the South and in the military.

But Jim Webb’s key qualification for vice president is that he is older than I am. I prefer not to deal with doctors, lawyers, priests, or politicians who are younger than me. What could they know? Webb is 62, which also makes him older than Barack Obama. That’s not a bad thing. Obama is viewed by many as relatively young and inexperienced to be running for president. Jim Webb would bring a touch of maturity to the ticket.

Now for the real reason to support Jim Webb for vice president. He makes the state of Virginia a jump ball in the general election. I doubt that the Democratic Party will win anywhere in the coastal South, other than Virginia and Florida, and even that may be wishful thinking. But with Barack Obama’s overwhelming support among African-Americans, and Jim Webb’s rapport with veterans and working-class white males, Republicans could hardly take any Southern state for granted.

Jim Webb would also attract votes from patriots of Scots-Irish heritage all along the Appalachian spine of America. Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri all would turn out more Democratic votes with Jim Webb on the ticket.

Everyplace in America where there’s a military base or a veteran’s hospital, Jim Webb would give veterans an alternative to voting Republican.

Barack Obama and Jim Webb. That’s the winning ticket, in my opinion. — Bernie Hayden

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