The recording of this mornings hour long interview is available here.
Jim did an outstanding job, thoughtful and engaging. If all Virginian's could hear this Webb would win by 20 points.
Mark Plotkin is known for asking candidates all of the uncomfortable questions that they may wish to avoid and Jim handled all of them with intelligence and ease. They cover the entire campaign from the point when Jim announced his candidacy to today, including the current novel kerfuffle that the Allen camp is desperately trying to sell (Jim completely smacks it down).
If you have the time/ability I highly recommend that you listen to this interview.Update [2006-10-27 15:35:27 by Loudoun County Dem]:
Steve Jarding (Webb's Senior Campaign Consultant) responds.
One point: Mark Plotkin has criticized Allen for refusing to appear on his show despite being asked "many times." Is this part of the "muzzle our candidate" strategy by Dick Wad(hams) et al? If Allen's own campaign doesn't have faith in him, why should we?(Thanks Lowell)
On Gail Parker, Webb says he hasn't talked to her but is not opposed to talking to "anyone about anything." Webb pointed out that he has been speaking "in favor of approving rail systems" and also for "accountability."
Asked about his "approachability," or lack thereof, Webb said he didn't think he was unapproachable. He also talked about the huge turnout he's been getting at rallies, including the "biggest turnout ever seen in Harrisonburg," according to Mark Warner. On his style of soliciting peoples' votes, Webb said that his style was to talk to people about what he believes and what we can accomplish together.
Turning to the Sludge...er, Drudge Report, and the slimeball Allen campaign's "charges" against Jim Webb for including sexually graphic scenes in his - gasp! - fiction writing, Webb spoke forcefully, making several points.
First, Webb noted that he actually SAW the particular event mentioned by Mark Plotkin "happen in a slum in Bangkok," and that it was "not a sexual act."
Second, Webb talked about how "the duty of a writer is to illuminate his surroundings," noting that he is a "serious writer" who has "made my career as a novelist." Webb blasted the Allen campaign for its "smear after smear," pulling excerpts out of context and "pound[ing] people over the head" in classic Karl Rove fashion.
Third, Webb criticized George Allen for running this kind of campaign. Webb charged that this is because "George Allen doesn't have an accomplishment" of his own, despite many many years of public service.
Fourth, Webb bristled at Mark Plotkin actually reading a sexually explicit passage on the air. Webb said that this was "not appropriate for you to read on WTOP," and I couldn't agree more.
Fifth, Webb pointed out that the scene Mark Plotkin referred to is the sort of thing that "hundreds of thousands of military men" in places like Vietnam and Thailand have experienced. More broadly, this is what a novelist does, depicting how the "human species behaves" with all its good and bad parts. [Note by Lowell: if George Allen ever READ great fiction, he might know that!]
Sixth, Webb explained that his novels were not "Tropic of Capricorn" style novels, but that his books "go after themes" and aim to show "how the world lives."
The bottom line is that this is a Karl Rove campaign by George Allen - divisive, character assassination, etc. In contrast, Allen is "not running on his affirmative vision" and instead is trying to "avoid the fact that he has shown no leadership" on the Iraq War and other issues.
On Iraq, Webb said he would not vote to cut off funding, but that he certainly would not vote to fund construction of permanent bases in that country. Webb reiterated that he was an early warning voice against going into Iraq in the first place. He also noted that what Jim Baker and his study group are saying now, "I started saying 2 1/2 years ago." Webb stressed that we need to talk to everyone, and that we need a Senator with the ability to "think these issues through."