Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sec./Sen. James Webb

Senator James Webb of Virginia...I like the sound of that.

As Secretary of the Navy under Reagan he served in a Republican government before they all went off the deep end. My Republican mother, aka egregiousMom, says she would like to belong to the Party of the Reasonable. What happened to these guys?

Sec. Webb believes his party left him, so he is now in our strange new alliance, which includes libertarians, gun owners, progressives, and true conservatives. Strange bedfellows indeed.

Secretary Webb's son is just now leaving to serve with the Marines in Iraq. Proud Marine father. This has caused him to miss some important Labor Day weekend campaign events. The timing of the callup...surely just a coincidence....

Some highlights from Webb's speech on September 2:

Starts off joking about being 5 cups of coffee behind previous speakers. Honors Gerry Connolly's appearance despite being 2 days post-op. His comfort level in speaking to large crowds grows by the week. Decides to change the order of his speech to talk about:

KATRINA. Webb's wife is from New Orleans, watched her family go through this experience. Says people thought he got into the race out of frustration with national security and leadership; that's a big part of it, but the last straw was our response to Katrina, the incompetence and the indifference. Our response could have been different with competent leadership.

When South Vietnam fell in 1975, our country was able to take care of 500,000 refugees within weeks. We rescued them from the ocean, formed refugee camps, created transition points, and were able to assimilate them into communities where they could be taken care of. This was much more complex than Katrina.

We might have used Fort Polk, halfway between New Orleans and Houston, with 330 square miles, for some of the FEMA trailers that are to this day still sitting empty in Little Rock--these could have helped a lot of people. Here we are a year later. New Orleans has been allowed to just sit there...not a lot of humanitarian thought from this administration.

MARSHALL PLAN FOR NEW ORLEANS. We helped rebuild Europe after WWII. People are talking about a Marshall Plan for Lebanon and Iraq, hundreds of billions of dollars. "I say we have got to rebuild the infrastructure of the United States starting now".

WATERGATE. The 1974 elections were a time when the stakes were as high as today. The potential transformation in American government was as serious. The nation was exhausted, the old ways of looking at issues were all being contested. People wanted something new, they stepped forward and took a huge risk.

Party affiliation: a lot of people who have not had a strong party affiliation for the last 20 years are looking for answers--our challenge and our opportunity. The situation is as bad as he has ever seen. Administration has the reverse Midas touch--everything they touch is screwed up.

Webb testified after the First Gulf War that going on to Baghdad would empower Iran and Syria. The same people who got us into the Iraq mess this time wanted it last time. Those military officers who quietly warned against war with Iraq this time are now retiring and confirming their warnings.

EISENHOWER'S ADVICE: During the darkest days of the Korean War, Eisenhower said that the people who allowed this disaster to occur are not the people who are going to be able to repair it.

End of Part One.

Part Two: Webb's speech on domestic policy.

This administration and people like George Allen who supported it blindly have threatened to disrupt the very fabric of what we call ourselves as Americans. We used to talk about the difference between rich and poor Americans, now it's the difference between rich and middle class Americans. After tax corporate profit as a percent of net worth is the highest it's ever been. Wages are the lowest.

In the last 3 years real income has gone down for most people, medical costs are up, good jobs are going overseas, gas is $3 a gallon. Gas is coming down "until Thanksgiving" i.e. around the elections.

We have a one-party government, abuses of presidential power, fraud and waste in places like Iraq, don't have people who will stand up, who have COURAGE.

Webb was really happy to destroy Allen's characterization of him as an out-of-stater. He said he went to the same small town where Allen called on "Macaca" and spoke of tending nearby family graves. He goes back 12 generations in SW Virginia. His great-grandfather was 40 miles to one side of the Macaca town, his grandfather 40 miles to the other side. It is Allen, from California, who is the outsider here.

Furthermore, Allen's characterization of the people here as excluding anyone is AN INSULT to the good people of SW Virginia. Sidharth's father has worked in eastern Kentucky and western Virginia, and he said it's the only place where when his car broke down, 3 people stopped and asked if they could help him.

Congress is talking about the wrong issues. We have the war in Iraq, poverty, issues of Constitutional powers, and what is the Congress talking about? Gay marriage...burning flags...excluding people....

We all know this game. We all know what's going to happen between now and November 7. We can change the direction of this country if we can get the word out and get people who are dedicated to the future of our nation.

Inclusive government carries a responsibility to take care of people who have no power, and to give those people a voice in the government. Webb says if you stay with us and bring people like me into Congress, there will be momentum this year and on into 2008. "I'll bring a lot of people back into the party." Huge applause from the audience there on September 2, and here as well.

End of Part Two. [looking for hot paraffin for typing hands]


Redshift said...

Another great bit, pointing out the lie Allen started off with, before he even got to the macaca incident -- "I was visiting relatives in Southwest Virginia when George Allen was still a Californian."

Redshift said...

Thanks for your transcription efforts, too!

egregious said...

Thanks redshift, fellow Virginian, see you at the polls!

egregious said...

This is the first of what turned out to many live blogging experiences here and at firedoglake.