Polemics & Exchanges

On Webb and War

While I share some of the concerns expressed by Leon Hadar in his February View (“It’s the War, Stupid!”), his analysis of the 2006 election is short on facts, as when he says that Virginia Sen. James Webb’s victory over former Sen. George Allen could only be explained by Webb’s success in “accentuating a consistent and very aggressive antiwar agenda.”

Webb won for many reasons, including the increasing dominance of affluent liberals in Washington, D.C.’s fast-growing Northern Virginia suburbs, whose votes have elected two consecutive Democratic governors during campaigns that had nothing to do with issues of war and peace.

Having discussed the 2006 campaign with many Virginia conservatives, I can say that most agree that the Allen campaign was badly mismanaged.  In particular, after the much-publicized “macaca” incident, Allen’s handlers sent him out to grovel apologetically, a move that alienated many of the state’s conservative voters while placating none of Allen’s enemies.

Webb, by contrast, never apologized for anything, nor was he expected to do so.  During a campaign in which Allen was repeatedly vilified as a “neo-Confederate,” no one in the major media nor any liberal activist group ever called attention to Webb’s...

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