Having had a chance to sleep on last night's huge victory (58%-42%) by Jim Webb over Harris Miller in the Fairfax/St. Patrick's Day Straw Poll, I'm even more shocked than ever. Look, this victory simply wasn't supposed to happen. The shock waves are only beginning to reverberate. Webb was an outsider to this crowd and should have been fortunate to get 40% of the vote. Miller was the total insider, having worked in Fairfax County Democratic political circles for years, and should have won this poll easily.
Instead, Miller was crushed by 16 points, prompting calls for him to withdraw
from the race so that Democrats can unite and turn their full attention on George Allen (I've heard a strong rumor that Webb is essentially tied with Allen statewide, and way ahead in NOVA).
As my good friend Virginia Centrist (VC) puts it
, "Harris Miller's showing at Gerry Connolly's event was pathetic. Webb won at the most pro-Miller venue outside of Miller's house." How true. In addition, VC is reporting that "Gerry Connolly was lobbying people in favor of Miller all week on the phones" and also that "Miller purchased a couple hundred tickets for his "supporters" (many of whom probably voted for Webb)." If true, this makes Jim Webb's 16-point victory - before his speech, by the way, which had the crowd clapping and cheering - all the more impressive.
Wow. Just wow.
Look, there is no question here at this point: last night's victory by Jim Webb was truly shocking, one that everyone knew was not supposed to happen. More than that, though, it may have marked the beginning of a populist-progressive, "Jacksonian Democratic" revolution in America, what may be seen in a few years from now as Virginia's "shot heard 'round the world."
A bit of hyperbole here? Perhaps a wee bit, but the St. Patrick's Day green beer - not to mention the adrenaline rush from last night - hasn't completely worn off yet so forgive me. Still, look at this guy Jim Webb, and think about it. Does Webb represent "politics as usual" in this country? No! Does Webb represent a new, "bottom up," small-donor way of running political campaigns? Yes! Does Webb represent the true values - fundamental fairness, equality of opportunity for all, economic populism (pro-"Fair Trade"), social libertarianism (pro-civil unions, for Roe v. Wade) - of the Democratic Party founded by Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson? Yes! Can Jim Webb win back working-class, "Reagan Democrats" to the Democratic Party? Yes! Would this be revolutionary if it spread across America? You betcha.
Another important point here is that Virginia- as it has so many times in its history - once again has the chance to lead the nation and the world. Frankly, the past 5 years in this country have been an almost unmitigated nightmare: "torture, warrantless searches, seizures, illegal wiretappings, prison without a fair trial or any trial, war on false pretenses," massive budget deficits, outing of a covert CIA agent by the Vice President's office, corruption rampant at the highest levels of the Republican Party, the Katrina/New Orleans fiasco, the failure to capture Osama bin Laden, and on and on. Now is the time to turn this around, and Virginia is the place to start!
Obviously, putting our country back on the course of freedom, justice, respect for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is going to be tough work after 8 years of Republican rule. And Jim Webb is just one man. Having said that, put him the U.S. Senate from our great commonwealth of Virginia and watch what he can do. Give him the tools he needs to fight George Allen, and he can defeat him. Donate $50, $100, $250, $500, or more right now to Webb for Senate and watch the revolution begin! They said Webb wasn't going to run. They said he wasn't a "real Democrat." They said Webb wouldn't win last night. And they said we couldn't raise $300,000 in 3 weeks through small donors. Let's prove them all wrong! Thank you.