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  Jim Webb: The last Jacksonian Democrat
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ContributorScottĀ³ 
Last EditedScottĀ³  Feb 11, 2011 09:53pm
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CategoryOpinion
AuthorE.J. Dionne Jr.
News DateFriday, February 11, 2011 03:00:00 AM UTC0:0
Description"Much of the focus on Sen. Jim Webb's retirement will be on how this might make the Democrats' already hard job of holding their Senate majority even more difficult. But more important than a single Virginia Senate seat is that Webb was one of a kind.

He was not only a Reagan Democrat who became a Republican and then came back. He was also a self-described Jacksonian Democrat. Democrats often speak at Jefferson-Jackson day dinners and mention Old Hickory, but it's hard to think of any of them being as steeped as Webb was in what it meant to be a follower of Andrew Jackson.

Here's how he once explained his philosophy and his decision to return to the Democratic fold to NPR's Renee Montagne:

I grew up in a family that was Democratic. And I went over to the Republicans, like a lot of people did at the end of the Vietnam War, based on national security issues. And again, like a lot of people, I was never comfortable with the Republican Party platform as it related to economic fairness and some issues of social justice.

The last book that I was writing ... [a] nonfiction book about the Scotch-Irish migration ... [was] basically about the creation of populist-style democracy in the United States, Jacksonian democracy. [It] caused me to do a lot of thinking about where both political parties are. And when I decided to run, I felt most comfortable with, shall we say, the Jacksonian wing of the Democratic Party. And this is why I decided to run as a Democrat."
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