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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Webb Campaign A Non-Starter?

Here's an interesting analysis of the Senate campaign and the candidate:
Spinning Webb
By Holman Jenkins, The American Spectator

Daily Kos to Instapundit, political junkies who glance at the Virginia Senate election reflect Chuck Schumer's talking points: that Jim Webb is George Allen's worst nightmare. Except for some assorted Virginia pundits, like Larry Sabato, those who have seen the campaign up close know better. Jim Webb's strengths are all on paper, and absent from the campaign trail.

A Webb victory looked like a no-brainer to those who follow politics through their computers. But Virginia voters told a different story as they went to the polls Tuesday. A paltry 3 percent of Virginia Democrats
turned out for the primary, with only 53 percent opting for Webb. Hardly an upsurge. What is worse is that 35 percent of Webb's votes came from the Democratic strongholds of Arlington and Fairfax Counties, rather than the blue collar, rural areas to which Democrats hope he will appeal. That Virginians could not get excited about either candidate, much less the more "electable" Jim Webb, spells trouble for his campaign against Allen.

Webb's real problem isn't the Jim Webb of the past, but the Jim Webb of today. He is a poor campaigner atop a poor campaign ... (
In my estimation, the Jim Webb campaign can be likened to that of John Edwards. As the latter's run for the presidency progressed in 2004, with much fanfare, it became painfully obvious to the voters that there was no there there. He was an empty suit. But at least a personable, good looking - if dull - empty suit.

With Webb, there seems to be no real attraction - except to those who hunger for a viable candidate - no matter his flaws, no matter his political positions. All the left-wing bloggers in Virginia are now extolling the virtues of a conservative, a recent convert from the Republican party, a member of Ronald Reagan's cabinet, a man who heartily endorsed George Allen , now his opponent - in the last race.

The voters, the real voters, not the fanatical 1% who bothered to show up and vote for him on Tuesday, will be wanting to know more about the man and where he's going to take the commonwealth. They are not interested in his electability or what bloggers have to say. They'll be looking at him.

They may be sorely disappointed.