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I just listened belatedly to the Webb/Allen debate on Meet the Press.  The debate began with Tim Russert showing a clip of Webb's original endorsement of Allen; Webb did a superb job of explaining his withdrawal of support when Allen did not do his job and particularly when he supported going to Iraq.  

Webb presented some excellent ideas for concrete policies, such as a 5% tax break for military people, as well as a goal of attracting volunteers across class boundaries.  He deftly deflected any need for a draft, argued for withdrawal from Iraq asap but without an inflexible date, and listed several very sensible steps for withdrawing prudently from Iraq.  After Allen refused to express any regrets at all over all the billions poured into Iraq, Webb sparkled (while Allen smirked).  But wait.

Where Allen was slick, Webb came off as smart, sincere, and more knowledgable, but not nearly as polished.  This was actually working in his favor, or so I thought, as Allen slithered and squirmed and point-blank refused to answer Tim Russert's question about whether he's planning to side with Warner/McCain/Graham's rebellion against Bush torture policies.  Good so far, I thought.

But then Russert pulled out a grenade-- Webb's 1979 "Women can't fight" article, with its sexist remarks about women in the military.  Were you wrong? Russert asked.  And then Webb started to squirm.  It was painful to watch.  They ran a clip of Kathleen Murry, who testified that Webb's remarks were actually used by her academy classmates and instructors to justify mistreating women cadets further.  But after even this dramatic clip, Webb refused to apologize; he hemmed and hawed about perspectives, the times, etc. etc. and spoke about what he has done for women since then. His locutions became Kerryesque at this point.

Why oh why couldn't he just come out and say: I was a product of the times, of my military culture; I am truly sorry that the remarks I made and the positions I took hurt the cause of our brave women in the military.  Now I am among their biggest supporters, and I will do everything possible to redress the harm of previous years.  Why?? I think this is what he meant, but believe me, it wasn't pretty as Russert asked again again: Were you wrong? Were you wrong? and the bleeding just continued. Russert asked whether he now believed that military women could lead men; Webb quite confidently said yes, but then refused to acknowledge that this represented any sort of change on his part.  

Why can't politicians admit to making mistakes?  It need not be interpreted as flip-flopping when the change of heart spans a couple of decades.  Even Allen has figured this out; when it was his turn for an embarrassing question, he told Russert that his attachment to the Confederate flag was something he now regretted.  This was the best possible answer he could give.

Aaargh.  Were not for Webb's fumbling of the women-in-the-military segment, I would be thrilled to be reporting that he won this debate.  To my mind, he missed a great opportunity to present himself as someone who could evolve and grow, who could abandon a rotten sexist perspective and learn from the experience.  Did anyone else find this frustrating?  What do women who have served in the military think of this?

Originally posted to Patience is Not a Virtue on Sun Sep 17, 2006 at 05:03 PM PDT.


Who won this debate?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Le sigh. (9+ / 0-)

    I too wish Webb had recanted. In my mind, (admittedly, I know nothing about Virginia politics,) it would have been good politics as well as plain old decency.

    Many voters have or know someone who has a female family member or friend serving in the military. I have to believe that some significant majority of the public accepts the 1979 position to be wrong (Ok, I'm too lazy to dig up a poll...)

    Disavowing his sexism, like he disavowed his Allen endorsement and Republicanism, could have tied in with a campaign theme of the necessity to move on in changing times. "I used to support Republicans/ discriminate against women. The times have changed. Now, with conservatism such an abysmal failure/ the recognition that sexism is dipshitty, I can no longer endorse a failed war/ promote inequality. As we have changed since 1979, we have changed since 2000, and we can recognize that now it is a necessity to vote for Democrats/ support women in the military."

    "I am an an all-powerful Amazon warrior, not just some sniveling girl." -Ani Difranco

    by righteousbabe on Sun Sep 17, 2006 at 05:12:54 PM PDT

  •  frustrating, yes (0+ / 0-)

    It was the low point of the discourse for Webb although he pulled out of the rut after a lot of tire spinning.
    His point of giving the military control to have sex preferenced specialties for the service people is common sense now and is a non issue at this point.

    What stood out far more is that Russerts attempt to dig dirt up on Webb found only this feeble verbage foible of 27 years ago. Look at the political landscape today and ask yourself, who cares? If that's the best Russert can do take Webb to task on his record, well, that's why Webb makes Senator Macaca look like a Mcpublican snake oil salesman.

    •  I have to disagree (4+ / 0-)

      Not with the contention that Russert had to go back a quarter century to find something to throw at Webb.  That much I agree with.  

      But Webb's article was not a small thing at the time and it cannot be lightly dismissed even now.  The article was published in November of 1979, four years after women were first admitted to the Naval Academy.  It not only called into question the role of women in the military, it called into question to integrity of the Academy itself.  It raised questions of dual standards, of favoritism, of lowered standards.  By implication it questioned the quality and readiness of four whole classes of midshipmen, men and women alike.

      To be fair to Webb, the questions he raised were real ones.  He didn't pull that article out of his ass. He did the work of a conscientious journalist.  He talked to a lot of people at the Academy, both male and female.  He fairly accurately portrayed the attitudes and beliefs that prevailed within the Academy, and by extension within the Navy and the Corps in general, at that time.

      Nevertheless, Women Can't Fight is out there.  It is a part of Jim Webb's history every bit as much as his exemplary service in Vietnam and after.  He will have to answer for it just as George Allen has to answer for his Confederate flag, his hangman's noose, and his macaca moment.  The fact that I want Jim Webb to win in November doesn't mean he gets a pass on this.

  •  I repost (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries, va dare

    this comment from this diary -

    I am in the Navy and have served since before Tailhook.  I personally knew and went to school with the first female aircrew on P-3s.  I've lived the debate over females in the military.  And frankly, I don't think Webb's views on the topic necessarily hurt him among the military.  Many peoples views on the subject have evolved over the years.  Many other people's views haven't.  I was on a large, roomy ballistic missile submarine 10 years ago and an admiral came on board.  My friend asked him, "Hey this is a big boat.  Seems to me women could easily serve on board".  The Admiral answered - not in our lifetimes.  I think his biggest problem with the issue among military people will be - don't be weaselly about it.  'Cause believe me, some people still share Webb's 27 year old views even today.  

    Republicans are jokes, wrapped in lies inside a cloud of obfuscation.

    by calipygian on Sun Sep 17, 2006 at 05:21:58 PM PDT

  •  troublesome (2+ / 0-)

    I just watched the Webb-Allen MTP debate also.  I watched that segment very closely.  I have to say I'm not satisfied with what I saw.

    I want to be very clear about this.  I support Jim Webb in his bid to unseat George Allen.  For a whole raft of reasons I want Jim Webb to be the next Senator from Virginia.  I've sent money to his campaign.  I hope he kicks Allen's ass in November.

    But having said that, I am troubled by that exchange.  I am uncomfortable with Webb's unmistakable evasion of the question.  It is so out of character for him.  He has a long, well-earned reputation for saying exactly what is on his mind even when it costs him personally to do so.  When Russert asked him point-blank, "Were you wrong?"  he tap danced all around the question.  But he did not answer it.

    He gave forthright answers on any number of other questions, some of which will gain him support, some of which will cost him.  But on that one question, he simply did not give a clear answer.  I have to wonder why.  And what troubles me most is not what his answer might be.  It is that he so clearly found himself unable to give a straight forward answer.

    He had to have known that question would come up.  He had to have known that a lot would ride on his answer.  And yet he gave an evasive answer.  That troubles me more than any straight answer he might have given, whether I would agree with it or not.

  •  I AM a female veteran (7+ / 0-)

    I lived through the transition. It was not easy and there still remains the perception that women have it "easier" than their male counterparts. There is a palpable resentment when a female ends up pregnant while in. I can not count the number of times that people laughingly referred to the male/female ship the Acadia as the "Love boat" because of the frequency that women left the ship during Gulf war deployment because of pregnancy. I do wish the transition had been done with more thought rather than namby pamby. Perhaps if it had we would actually have equality and less resentment over the differences. As far as I am concerned there is nothing to forgive. The mission comes first. Webb had a responsibility to speak with the mission foremost and not voicing his concern simply because politicians wanted integration would have been wrong.

    •  How do you think Webb should have (0+ / 0-)


      •  Women (3+ / 0-)

        I think he needs to make it clear that his concerns were not about the capabilty of women but about the compatibilty of integration. He needs to make it clear that as a leader it was his responsibilty to look at the issue and look at the potential problems that it might cause the mission. It was his responsibilty to voice concerns not be a yes man or be a political pawn. Our nation's defense is important and anything that poses a potential conflict or barrier needs to be addressed. Iraq is a perfect example of what happens when political leadership ignores what the military suggests might be cause for concern(troop levels, lack of planning etc, etc,)

    •  I completely agree. (6+ / 0-)

      It is a complex subject and difficult to handle.  I too have gone through these adjustments.  Quite frankly, I was happy to serve with women at sea because, if women who were capable of doing the same job as I (a technical, behind the scenes, highly specialized and decidedly non-physical job) then they should be able to go to sea so I wouldn't have to go as often as I did.  And it's worked out okay.  I serve in a specialty that is (was) seagoing intensive, but none of us is stationed permanently on ships which means that we spend months at a time jumping from ship to ship on temporary duty.  My job is now about half women.  Even 20 years ago, there were a significant amount of women in my job specialty.  Those women couldn't go to sea, which means the men had to pick up that slack.  Out of sheer laziness on my part, I welcome the expansion of that sea going pool.  I could tell some very hair-raising stories of sexual harrassment that many have encountered.  And there is the "Love Boat" slur that may have a kernel of truth at the very center.  I have seen "accidental" pregnancies to avoid deployment.  I have also seen men malinger or come up with lame excuses not to deploy.  Women are now serving at sea and on the front lines of combat zones - that is not going away.  Other nations (Scandanavian nations, Spain, maybe a few others) even have women serving aboard submarines (I think a women even skippered a Danish submarine).  The day is rapidly approaching when women in the military will be entirely non-contraversial.  Webb is the beginning of the end.  Once his generation is gone, we'll never hear about it again.  But for now, I think he needs to be cut slack on this issue.  His views have obviously evolved and the clock is not going to be rolled back on women in the military.   I'd worry more about having an obvious racist as the junior Senator from VA whose views on race are not consistent with the places and times he has lived in rather than someone who wrote an article that in the context of its place and time was consistent with the views of the vast majority of military people.

      Republicans are jokes, wrapped in lies inside a cloud of obfuscation.

      by calipygian on Sun Sep 17, 2006 at 06:06:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Women on ships (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ignorant bystander

        It's good to hear that there is less and less grumbling from the male half of the population and more and more acceptance. I left in 1997 and my spouse left in 1999 and there was still debate going on. I was fortunate because I was a corpsman so a woman was pretty much readily excepted in my field. I think alot has to do with a resistance to change and some has to do with when you have a small group that even one bad apple can sour someone's opinion. Once someone forms an opinion it can be very difficult to get them to change it. That ol' resistance to change thing again.

    •  Thank you for your disciplined perspective... (0+ / 0-)

      given what you must have endured, I'm impressed that you feel there's nothing to forgive.  

      Before I quote from the transcript, let me say that clearly Webb regrets his remarks of 27 years ago and possesses good judgment now.  I hope that he will be able to handle this issue better the next time it comes up--a short and simple apology would work.

      MR. RUSSERT: Now, you issued a statement said, “To the extent my writing caused hardship,” you were sorry. “And Ms. Murray has sent me a letter saying, ‘That’s not enough.’ It’s not to the extent that my writing caused hardship, the content of the article was just plain wrong and Mr. Webb should say that.” Do you agree?

      MR. WEBB: I—this article was written from the perspective of a Marine rifle platoon and company commander, and to that extent, I think it was way too narrowly based. I wrote that article...

      MR. RUSSERT: But was it wrong? Was it wrong?

      MR. WEBB: I don’t think it was wrong to participate in the debate at that time. It’s, it’s been 27 years, it’s a magazine article, and it’s something, if, if I may say, I am fully comfortable with the roles of women in the military today. I’ve been all around the world at the, at the request of many, you know, women commanders. This issue was vetted twice in, in Senate confirmation hearings, 1984, 1987, and both times I, I expressed my views on women in, in military billets. And when I was secretary of the Navy, on my own initiative, I put together a task force where we ended up opening up more, more billets, operational billets, to women than any other secretary of the Navy in history.

      MR. RUSSERT: When you say “Being in the Naval Academy is a horny woman’s dream,” you regret that.

      MR. WEBB: Well, I do regret that. And I, you know, I’ve said...

      MR. RUSSERT: There’s been, there’s been...

      MR. WEBB: know, I’ve said—there’s many, there’s many pieces in this article that if, if I were a, you know, a more mature individual, I wouldn’t have written. And I’ve, and I’ve tried to say that and I’ve tried to show by my conduct when I had positions in government that I, I am open to, to assisting women succeed in all the areas where that’s possible.

      Here's the link to the entire transcript.  

      "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it." - Mark Twain

      by Patience is Not a Virtue on Sun Sep 17, 2006 at 06:13:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you served you would understand (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ignorant bystander

        the concerns and the differences between men and women and what the consequences often are when you place the two of them together. Additionally, women place additional needs requirements on units. A ship that has women on board is required to carry pregnancy tests, birth control, etc etc). They require annual pap smears and when they hit a specific age mammograms.

        I would imagine that is why he is not sorry he participated in the debate.

        The question in my mind is not about capability but about whether or not integration is compatible and whether or not it can and has been done in a way that does not intefere with the military's mission.

        People can tiptoe around it but the truth is when a woman is 5 months pregnant she is limited on what she can do with regard to the mission. Let me make this clear I am not looking at placing blame(I am well aware that a woman can not get pregnant without the help of a male).I am looking at compatibility of integration with the primary concern and understanding of the function of the mission of the military.

        As far as his 1979 article, does it shock me that a a young marine would feel that women did not belong in a fighting enviornment? No. I very sincerely doubt if you went to a marine unit that was able to be forward deployed TODAY and told them there would be no repercussions for being honest and asked them if they felt women belonged in their unit they would say "hell yeah". I bet you dollars to doughnuts you'd get the exact same response as the one Jim Webb gave. As much as folks like to think we have moved forward and are beyond the men and women integration thing but I can assure there is still discussion going on within the military on this.  

  •  It seems to me that Webb (3+ / 0-)

    was thoroughly unprepared for this question.  I have to really wonder why his aides didn't sit him down and tell him that this question was going to come up, and to put together a decent answer.

    Even worse, Webb knew that this was going to come up sometime during the campaign, I'm actually very surprised that it didn't come up in the primary more, as Miller could have drew some serious blood.  He should have formulated a decent answer to this when he decided to run.  

    Allen couldn't prepare damage control for Macaca since it was real time.  But Webb could have for this writing, as he knew it would come up.  

  •  From another Diary (0+ / 0-)

    I did not post this, Lowkell did.

    I am completely comfortable with the roles of women in today's military, and I fully support the advancements that have taken place.  Over the past few years I have been privileged to visit numerous military units, and to accept the invitations of female officers for command visits in Japan, Hawaii, Washington, DC and Quantico.  I look forward to continuing to do so.
    27 years ago I wrote a magazine article about the issue of women in combat and women at the Naval Academy.  I did not title the article.  In the article I made clear that I would support a woman candidate for President and would have voted for Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir.  The article was written during a time of great emotional debate over a wide array of social issues in this country, and the tone of this article was no exception.  Many leading military figures, including the Commandant of the Marine Corps, shared my concerns in these areas.
    I did not anticipate the widespread reaction to this magazine article, and to the extent that my writing subjected women at the Academy or the active Armed Forces to undue hardship, I remain profoundly sorry.  On the first occasion that I was invited back to the Academy in 1983, among my comments was a strong call for harmony among male and female midshipmen.
    This issue was addressed during two Senate confirmation hearings, in 1984 and 1987, to the satisfaction of the Senate, which on both occasions unanimously supported my appointments in the Defense Department.  Further, when I was Secretary of the Navy, I strengthened policies against sexual harassment.  I also personally convened a Navy-wide task force of senior male and female officers and NCOs to examine roles of women in the Navy, and as a result tripled the number of operational assignments available to women.

    This issue has been covered a number of times over the past 27 years, 2 Senate confirmation hearings, this statement Lowkell provided and so on.

  •  The question is not... (0+ / 0-)

    ..whether Webb would make a better Senator than Allen.  The question is whether -- given Webb's 1979 statements demonstrating crystal-clear sexism and utter contempt for women at the Naval Academy, and his failure to repudiate those sentiments when given today's opportunity -- whether women (Democratic or even Republican) will cast a vote for him -- or simply decide he's not worth any special effort.

    He may have just lost the election with that sorry display.  

    •  Which part of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ignorant bystander, indy2dem

      "I remain profoundly sorry" did you have difficulty comprehending?

      •  Which part of... (0+ / 0-)

        ...the entire sentence did you have difficulty with?  

        He didn't apologize to the women, he didn't repudiate what he said, he merely said he was sorry if his article "caused undue hardship" to women in the military.  

        And that's precisely what he's getting called to the carpet on:    

        Now, you issued a statement said, “To the extent my writing caused hardship,” you were sorry. “And Ms. Murray has sent me a letter saying, ‘That’s not enough.’ It’s not to the extent that my writing caused hardship, the content of the article was just plain wrong and Mr. Webb should say that.” Do you agree?

        MR. WEBB: I—this article was written from the perspective of a Marine rifle platoon and company commander, and to that extent, I think it was way too narrowly based. I wrote that article...

        •  You are aware that (0+ / 0-)

          this being made an issue once again is the doing of the Allen campaign, aren't you?

          Murray said she contacted other women and urged them to discuss Webb's article after learning that he was running for the Senate. She described the group as "not partisan," though she acknowledged that Allen's campaign helped to "facilitate" their news conference.

          And you fell for it hook, line and sinker.

          •  You miss the point (0+ / 0-)

            I was aware that Allen released this information - and unfortunately did it well. Fell for it?? It's true!

            The problem is that it is going to have a negative effect - big time. And Webb, and those of us who support him, have to do something about it quickly.

            •  I would find it difficult to believe (0+ / 0-)

              that Webb and those helping him with his campaign do not realize this is an issue they have to address.

              As to your statement that "it's true", it is true that Webb could have expressed himself better 27 years ago, and contrary to statements I see here at Dkos such as the one made by Kathleen, he has apologized, repeatedly.
              If you look further up this thread, cwaltz explains all this very well, from someone who actually understands this issue. She is not the only vet I have seen do this, and I am inclined to listen to them, not people who are simply speculating. Webb made the same point today in the debate about the "theorists" and those who actually KNOW, when he addressed the question about who he supports in Bush’s attempts to rewrite the Geneva conventions  

              Believe me, I understand your concern, that you are a Webb supporter, as am I. We want Allen out the Webb in for a number of reasons.

              I just would request that some of my fellow Kossaks would quit making Allen’s case for him.

            •  Speaks for itself (0+ / 0-)

              cwaltz is not a theorist.

              I think he needs to make it clear that his concerns were not about the capabilty of women but about the compatibilty of integration. He needs to make it clear that as a leader it was his responsibilty to look at the issue and look at the potential problems that it might cause the mission. It was his responsibilty to voice concerns not be a yes man or be a political pawn. Our nation's defense is important and anything that poses a potential conflict or barrier needs to be addressed. Iraq is a perfect example of what happens when political leadership ignores what the military suggests might be cause for concern(troop levels, lack of planning etc, etc,)

          •  Sorry... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ..I don't think Virginia voters are going to be impressed with the "Allen set me up!" line.  Of course Allen is out to get him -- that's politics.  Anyone following the news knew that this issue would come back to haunt him. In the middle of a tight, high-visibility campaign, there's no excuse for being unprepared and delivering such a weaseling response.    


            •  Mr. Webb and women in combat (0+ / 0-)


              You haven't served so I am going to suggest you do some reading. Integration poses problems. Placing your fingers in your ears and hollering la la la doesn't make it go away. In order to address a problem and create dialogue our country needs leaders like Webb that our willing to speak up when they see a potential problem. I would have LESS respect for Mr Webb had he said just integrate women without any regard for the consequences that would occur as a result.
              His job as a military leader was first and foremost the mission, which is to protect and defend our country not to pander to politicians that wanted a grand social experiment.

  •  Hmmm... (0+ / 0-)

    I, too, am not happy with this.  I lived through the change.  There were very few women in the service when I started, and none in my first operational flying squadron.  Fortunately, things changed completely within a few years.  Women in the service is not a social experiement.  It is a change in policy and we are not going back.  Any arugments against women in the service have been ripped to shreds by recent events.  

    But we need to take a bigger view because we have a bigger problem:  the GOPigs have the Senate.  Mr Webb could be the 51st Democrat if other elections go our way.  It is the overall balance of power that counts now.  A Democratic Senate will not allow a return to the bad old days.  A Democratic controlled Congress will be advantageous for many issues and better for the Nation overall.

  •  Different Perspective (0+ / 0-)

    I was very involved in lobbying for women being admitted to the military academies, and I was living in Annapolis, home of the Naval Academy, at the time.  I was one of many locals who tried to provide moral support to the female midshipmen as they bravely integrated the Academy - and it was a very difficult time. I remember well when Webb's article came out because it was devastating. It caused a lot of harm, especially since he was seen as a Naval hero. I developed an intense hatred for the man, because of what he said and the effects that it had.

    Then several months ago, I read here that people were pushing for Webb for the Senate. I thought it must be a joke. But I kept reading, and I realized there was more to this man than that article. Of course,I was highly motivated by an intense desire to get rid of George Allen. I have followed the race very closely and I eventually developed a very strong positive impression of Webb.

    However, I was very disappointed with his response to this issue. He had plenty of warning and should have developed a stronger response. It should still be sincere - that's one of his strengths - but he needed to say more to reassure women in the military and their families. I don't want him to have to keep apologizing all over the place like Allen has. I worry that this could hurt him badly.

    Probably his response reflects his lack of political experience and polish, which is not all bad. Also, when I look at how little money he has compared to Allen, he probably doesn't have much in the way of staff to help him. The best thing we can all do right now is send him money.

  •  Webb has to fix this - FAST! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He can't insult the majority of the population on national television and expect it to go unnoticed. Is it being military or simply being male that keeps him from saying he was wrong and apologize?

    Unfortunately Allen has learned. Let's hope Bush doesn't. The reason women have turned against Bush is because every woman has had personal experience with men who will never ever admit they were wrong, no matter what. The thing Webb needs to understand is that women ADMIRE men who have the balls to admit they were wrong. It will enhance rather than diminish him. Now he has lost his best chance of reaching women everywhere. His campaign better get him out there FAST saying he was WRONG WRONG WRONG and they'd better get a BIG forum to counter this national disaster.

    Out here in California Schwartzennegger is keeping ahead by admitting he was wrong and apologizing for every stupid public gaffe and slur. Damn him.

  •  hmmm (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ignorant bystander, natchezms

    Well, this has been interesting; I see there's a range of perspectives from women in the military (cwaltz in particular--thanks!).  I also see that resistence to having women in the military for logistical reasons can be distinguished from resistence due to simple ugly sexism.  And I can certainly see how a woman in the military must distinguish these and in doing so, develop a rather thick skin (to do otherwise would lead to madness I think!-).  I think I appreciate where Jim Webb is coming from.

    However, the average voter doesn't make very fine distinctions (as we shades-of-grey types have learned from listening to smart men like Al Gore and John Kerry verbally spin their wheels).  And unfortunately Jim Webb's "dream" comment wasn't about logistics.  I would suggest to the Webb campaign that he address this in the future by splitting it apart into two issues.  First, he might take a page from cwaltz and emphasize that he has never and would never put security/defense at risk just to be politically correct, hence his resistance to rushing into gender integration back then.  In this part, he was and is right.  And second, he could actually apologize for the part that was wrong--the cavalier comments made by the man he was then--emphasizing how he's grown over the past 27 years to be a big supporter of female cadets and their opportunities in the military.  

    (This is oh so different from Allen's macaca problem. While Allen's regret is no doubt genuine, his bias and meanness are clearly not in the past; he hasn't had time to grow out of them.)

    "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it." - Mark Twain

    by Patience is Not a Virtue on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 12:10:31 AM PDT

  •  Running in Virginia - what is the "right" answer (1+ / 0-)
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    First off, my dad was career miliary, once sister married a West Pointer and the other served as in office in the Medical Corp.

    Several folks here have lamented that Webb was not "prepared" for this question.  Could it be that he was perfectly prepared, and the answer he was prepared to give was not the answer you wanted?

    Could it be that his "inadequate" reponse to this question is in part based on the fact he is running for the Senate in what is still a rather red state, and maybe he has decided he's willing to forgo a "perfect bleeding heart liberal" response in order to win the election.

    He's said he is sorry, he says he was young, and he clearly supports women and women's issues far better than Allen.  

    i was going to vent some, but what's the point? We each have our views, and we know our views are the right ones.

    •  If that was the answer he's going to give (0+ / 0-)

      to questions in general, he will not win this race.  It was not very well articulated, and came off as very defensive.  It might be what he intended to say, but this has been Webb's style throughout his career, he has come off as a little too defensive and abrasive at times, and it is that, not his message that will cost him.  

      He's said he is sorry, he says he was young, and he clearly supports women and women's issues far better than Allen.  

      I've no problem with Webb's message on this matter.  I do have a problem with his presentation.

      Webb was always a gamble as a candidate, we all talked about the upshot.  The downside was that he is a rather unpolished speaker.

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