Ready for Jim? We’re talking Jim Webb here said to be a populist, centrist Democrat with a rollicking resume, and one who just might transcend the dreaded campaign fundraising challenge. He’s formed the first exploratory committee among the pack of potential presidential hopefuls, and has some spectacle to provide weary voters. It was not generated by a focus group. Mr. Webb’s political action committee is called “Born Fighting,” for example. The former U.S. senator from Virginia was also a U.S. Marine company commander in Vietnam who was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. Then he went to law school. Then he became a counsel to Congress, a Harvard University scholar, an assistant secretary of defense, Secretary of the Navy, an Emmy-award winning journalist, a film-maker, and the author of ten books the last of which was titled “I Hear My Country Calling”, and published in May.
Mr. Webb is eager to share his Scots-Irish pedigree; his ancestors arrived in America in the 1700s and he’s unapologetic about the family’s “strong citizen-soldier military tradition that predates the Revolutionary War.” His dad looms large: Mr. Webb says his father flew bombers during World War II and cargo planes during the Berlin Airlift. Interesting resume, and it gets more interesting. The potential White House hopeful has also been a professor at the Naval Academy his alma mater and a Hollywood screenwriter whose original story “Rules of Engagement” was a snappy box office hit at one point.
“Mr. Webb has six children and lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, Hong Le Webb. He speaks Vietnamese and has done extensive pro bono work with the Vietnamese community dating from the late 1970s,” his official bio notes.
Yes, all interesting. This background could create buzzworthy dynamics on the campaign trail and the debate podium, and pique the curiosity of voters who claim they want new alternatives. Will it attract major donors as well? Maybe. Mr. Webb’s biggest challenge is preserving his personal authenticity while meeting the broad requirements of a presidential job description that will require him to sell the Democratic Party, balance the books and protect the nation.