Vote Tuesday (for Jim Webb)

This post begins with a simple request: Please vote for Jim Webb in the
Democratic primary on Tuesday. Each endorsement carries a story. Here’s
mine:

On December 9th, 2005, the Rasmussen Reports polling company issued the
results of a statewide poll which began with the following words: “U.S.
Senator George Allen holds a solid lead over four potential challengers
for 2006.”

Who were the potential Dems against Allen? Leslie Byrne, me, Jim Webb
and (drum roll please) Ben Affleck. Leslie, having just finished the LG
contest, was the closest contender. Webb and myself were tied for
second. In possibly the low point of his flagging career, Ben was last.

It was the first time in a while that I’d heard the name of Jim Webb.
You see Jim Webb had been the Secretary of the Navy nineteen years ago
when I was in USMC officer candidate school. Back then, he was known as
the butt-kicking Secretary who had been a boxer at Annapolis, a
highly-decorated Marine in Viet Nam and a best-selling author. He was
the maverick’s maverick who spoke his mind even to the President. This
man was going to run for U.S. Senate as a Virginia Democrat? A couple
days later, I got his phone number and gave him a call.

I met him on a gray December afternoon at his office which overlooks
Arlington Cemetery. I told him that I had run a statewide primary and
learned a lot from it. We talked about the Democratic Party, what it
represented historically and where it was headed. We also talked about
Virginia’s unique history. He struck me as being a straight-shooter. A
non-politician. I liked that and I liked him. He was something
different.

Over the next few weeks, a strange thing happened. A small band of
Virginia bloggers (largely but not exclusively Democratic) began to
float Webb’s name and bio around the blogosphere. It was if someone had
lit a match by an oil drum. Because the demand was there for a
different kind of Democrat to take down George Allen.

In February, I got a call from Jim Webb. I’m going forward, he said. I
hope I can count on your support. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind
four months. Straw polls, fundraisers and community festivals. I’ve
seen the campaign struggle in some areas and succeed beyond belief in
others. But the bottom-line message has been the same: Jim Webb has
what it takes to beat George Allen and represent Virginia in the U.S.
Senate. And no one else can realistically claim that.

Last Thursday, I cast an absentee ballot for Jim Webb. (For you
statistic gurus, I was #14 in Fairfax City). This turnout will be very
small. Every vote will count. Therefore, if you are a Democrat,
independent or Republican looking for some new leadership, please
vote Tuesday for Jim Webb.

Leadership for a change.

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