On this rainy day in Northern, Virginia, on the eve of the Democratic Primary, I'm going all out to campaign for the guy I'm supporting not just because he can beat George Allen, but because I think he's exactly what the U.S. Senate and our Democratic caucus needs a hell of a lot more of right now.
I'm for Jim Webb. He's a Marine, and I say "is' because when you're a Marine you're a Marine for life. And I say that as a Navy man.
The people calling the shots in Washington have a habit of treating veterans and members of the military as terrific backdrops for their speeches, but they don't listen to them about what they're seeing on the ground as they serve (witness the body armor ordeal,) they ignore the lessons military men and women learned in uniform (just ask General Shinseki,) and, judging by Bush policies they certainly don't pay any attention to their needs when they come home (they tolerate billion dollar shortfalls in veterans funding.)
They won't be able to ignore Senator Jim Webb. Jim won't tolerate that garbage when he's in the United States Senate, and I pity the Republican or bureaucrat who gets on his bad side.
Jim's got courage -- and when I came out in support of him I endorsed his courage and his
character in his campaign for the Senate. We need more people of strength and character in the Senate, and that means we need leaders like Jim who have served honorably in the military and in the government on behalf of the country they love.
It's not just in his military service that Jim's shown courage. Jim lost a lot of friends when he spoke his mind about Iraq and quit his party. I know something about that. I lost my share of friends over a different war thirty five years ago. I'm married to an incredible person who quit a Republican Party she'd been a part of for decades. She quit because she saw what Republicans did to Max Cleland. It wasn't easy for her. So it means something to me knowing that Jim Webb quit the Republican Party over the Bush Administration's incompetence and malfeasance in creating a mess in Iraq that has cost lives and weakened our security.
For Jim, this is personal. I want to know that after November the father of Marine Lance Corporal Jimmy Webb will be in the Senate thinking and leading on the best course for American troops including his son who will be deployed to Iraq this fall. I dare any Republican to question this man's courage, character, or moral authority on questions of war and peace. And if anyone tries any Swift Boat-style attacks on Jim Webb, all of us - Bob Kerrey- me - everyone - in his band of brothers will have his back.
It's that important - Just think, when it comes to Iraq, faced with Sen. Webb the Republicans might just be forced to debate the merits of the issue! Talk about throwing a wrench into the partisan smear machine these Republicans rely on to stifle debate. That's why I want people like Jean Schmidt to have to stand face to debate a veteran who's been there. It will elevate the dialogue in our country; it will change the voices in the conversation.
I hesitate to bring up the politics of all this, because it almost does a disservice to Jim Webb. But there's another reason we need Jim Webb in the Senate. We need to beat George Allen. This is a critical year for Democrats. We can take back the Congress and put an end to this string of disastrous years of Republican control of Washington. It won't be easy. It demands candidates of unquestioned integrity and experience who can fight and win tough campaigns against challenging odds. Jim is in a tough primary fight in Virginia. I don't like to choose sides among my fellow Democrats, and neither of us would deny that we've had our differences over the years, but Jim has my support for the Democratic nomination for the US Senate. He has the best chance to beat George Allen.
Agree, disagree, but please take a hard look at this race and this candidate and tell me you don't think our troops in Iraq will be better off with Jim Webb in the Senate. That's why I'm taking sides.
This guy is going to help us get Washington back in the business of keeping faith with veterans and our military - and he'll fight to get the policy fixed in Iraq. We need him. If you're in the neighborhood, drop by today -- 3:30 PM, Webb Headquarters, 1916 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, Virginia. You can turn this race.