For all the talk of Elizabeth Warren possibly running to Hillary Clinton’s left and taking the nomination in 2016, the overlooked path may be that to Hillary’s right. Enter former Virginia Senator Jim Webb.
Report from the Washington Post:
This is why it isn’t really the Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren who should worry the Clinton camp. It’s the former Virginia senator Jim Webb, a Vietnam War hero, former secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration, novelist and opponent of endless wars in the Middle East. Late last month, Mr. Webb formed an exploratory committee. “He’s a very long shot,” Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, told me. “He has to become a serious candidate. At that point she would find him much more complex than dealing with liberals. He’s not a liberal, but a lot of what he says might appeal to liberals. He does not get carried away by humanitarian intervention.”
Mr. Webb’s attacks on free trade and economic elites, coupled with a call for America to come home again, might well prove a potent combination in the early primaries, attracting antiwar progressives as well as conservative-minded Southern white men whom he believes the party can win back. His credo is as simple as it is persuasive: Rather than squander its power and resources abroad, America should rebuild.
Mr. Webb, whose national poll ratings are negligible, may look like an unlikely candidate, but that is also what most observers thought when he wore his son’s Iraq combat boots on the campaign trail and ousted George Allen from his Senate seat in 2006. Today he represents for the Democrats what the Republicans tried to stamp out in their ranks during the midterm elections: a Tea-Party-like insurgency against its establishment candidate.
Webb has many characteristics which benefit him as a politician and contrast him with Hillary Clinton. He’s generally relatable, especially considering his military service, and he holds some positions which will entice moderate voters to give him a look such as his general support for gun rights. Then again, Webb is barely a blip in most polls coming in around 1.5% on average behind Clinton (61.5%), Warren (12.3%), Biden (10%), and Sanders (4%). He’d have a mountain to climb but stranger things have happened (See: 2008, the inevitable Hillary Clinton).