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  Jim Webb: Why Reagan Dems Still Matter
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Contributorparticleman 
Last Editedparticleman  Nov 09, 2010 09:29pm
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CategoryGeneral
AuthorDavid Paul Kuhn
News DateWednesday, November 10, 2010 03:20:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionJim Webb went to the White House last September. The Virginia senator was meeting with the president to discuss Guantanamo detainees. The conversation soon shifted to healthcare. "I told him this was going to be a disaster," Webb recalls. "The president believed it was all going to work out.

We're talking about why voters didn't come around. Webb is weighing my report the morning after the election: Democrats won the smallest share of white voters in any congressional election since World War II.

"I've been warning them," Webb says, sighing, resting his chin on his hand. "I've been having discussions with our leadership ever since I've been up here. I decided to run as a Democrat because I happen to strongly believe in Jacksonian democracy. There needs to be one party that very clearly represents the interests of working people.

Webb is a Reagan Democrat who returned home. He was Ronald Reagan's Navy secretary. Almost two decades later, he was the Democrat who scrapped out a win in Virginia. Webb seems less at home today. He identifies himself as a Democrat. But he has few Democratic leaders to identify with. He won't say this. His criticism is discernibly girdled. He begins to tell a story about a conversation with a Democratic leader and pulls back. "I don't want to talk about that," he mutters.

There are aspects of Webb that liberals' embrace. Many relished his critique of George W. Bush over the war in Iraq. Liberals also admire the populist Webb. The same cannot be said for the Democratic establishment. Webb has pushed for a onetime windfall profits tax on Wall Street's record bonuses. He talks about the "unusual circumstances of the bailout," that the bonuses wouldn't be there without the bailout.

"I couldn't even get a vote," Webb says. "And it wasn't because of the Republicans. I mean they obviously weren't going to vote for it. But I got so much froth from Democrats saying that any vote like that was going to screw up fundraising.

"People
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