It's absolutely amazing the effect that my new Senator, Jim Webb, has had upon the chattering classes. They simply cannot determine what to make of him. I supported Webb reluctantly -- his record on women is nothing to be proud of, although compared to G. Felix Allen, Jr., he didn't look all that terrible. That's not saying much. But his impact on the nattering nabobs of centrism has been simply breathtaking.
Last week, George Will, whore extraordinaire, got quite an ass-whooping for misrepresenting what happened between Webb and the boyking
. For the record, it appears that Webb's son, a Marine in Iraq, narrowly missed death a few days before the boyking threw a meet-n-greet for newly-elected representatives. Webb attended the function, as only makes sense: it's not just a chance to meet the boyking, but also a chance to meet and network with future colleagues. Webb decided early on NOT to have his picture taken making nice with the boyking. Good for Webb. It's time we stopped treating war criminals as if they were anything other than war criminals. He didn't make a big deal of it; just didn't go through the receiving line. The boyking, in spite of having been briefed that the whole issue of Webb's son was pretty sensitive
, went charging over to Webb and demanded, "How's your boy?" Webb, apparently wanting to deflect any personal discussion of his son with a war criminal, attempted to steer the conversation away from his son in particular, responding: "I'd like to bring them (i.e., not just my son but all Americans in Iraq) home, Mr. President." Bush, ever the snippy son of privilege, retorted: "That's not what I asked you. How's your boy?" Webb, apparently taken aback by Bush's rudeness, responded: "That's between me and my boy, Mr. President."
Will had to essentially re-write the entire exchange in order to attempt to portray Webb as having been rude to the war criminal, rather than the other way around. Will's a tool and lies as easily to his reading public as he once did to both his wife and his mistress, so that's no big surprise.
But today's columns by Kinsley and Cohen show just how much Webb discombubulates the DC establishment. Goddess knows what Kinsley's blabbering about
; he doesn't even make a pretense at coherence. I don't care what Jenna and NotJenna do with their lives. Fuck them. And fuck Kinsley, who has to create strawmen and put words in Webb's mouth in order to come up with this piece of journalistic tripe: Webb seems to believe that because he served in Vietnam, anyone who could have but didn't should shut up. That includes people who opposed that war -- that is, who got it right -- as well as those who supported it. Webb's son is serving in Iraq, and -- in a gesture that would throw Dr. Freud for a loop -- Webb wears a pair of the son's combat boots. At a White House reception for new members of Congress, Webb avoided the receiving line and then, when Bush came up and asked him how his son was doing, he basically told the president to flake off. Webb's self-righteousness can be obnoxious. But at least he is being morally serious.
Kinsley tells the same lie that Will told, pretending that Bush simply asked a nice question and then Webb went off on him. Go on, Kinsley, keep on lying and pretending that it's "obnoxious" to treat war criminals with disdain.
But WTF is Cohen on about
After assuring his readers that confronting warmongers never ends wars any sooner, Cohen asserts that: In this case, it might have jarred Bush into appreciating the fact that many of his critics actually feel keenly about the war in Iraq -- that they are not mere political opponents but people who are morally appalled by a war that continues for no apparent reason. Maybe also the incident made him wonder about Webb, who, after all, hardly fits the demagogic antiwar stereotype constructed by Bush, Karl Rove and Fox News. Webb is a pugnacious sort, a former college boxer, Marine officer in Vietnam and secretary of the Navy under, of all people, Ronald Reagan. I would not, to his face, impeach his patriotism or suggest a dreamy liberalism.
Then, Cohen notes that here is accumulating evidence that Bush is talking to mirrors and taking instruction from his dog. He makes no sense, saying he's amenable to change one day and digging in his heels the next. "I'm not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete," he said recently. Yes. Absolutely. But what is the mission? Please, ask the dog. Lives are being wasted.
That, of course, is the whole point. This imbroglio about Webb and manners is, at bottom, about the (very) premature deaths of young people in Iraq -- the sons and daughters of people much like Webb. Their only hope is that Bush is a liar rather than a fool. There is ample evidence for both propositions. He vowed enduring loyalty to Rumsfeld while interviewing his replacement, and he has overseen the administration of the war with an incompetence that will earn him a special place in American history.
Maybe the president has a plan for disengaging in Iraq. Maybe, though, he is disengaged himself. If that is the case, the thought occurs that it would take a polite version of a Cagneyesque grapefruit in the face to get his attention. If Webb did that, then a medal, not a rebuke, is in order.
Yet the by-now schizophrenic Cohen concludes: "Now, Jim, behave yourself."
WTF? Are the Washington glitterati so shocked to see how a real parent reacts to really having his child put in harms way for no fucking reason by a war criminal that they're reduced to blabbering inconsistencies and lies?