Updates on two of the more interesting political races this year.
First, here’s James Webb on the Colbert Report. I’ll have more to say about Webb in the future; for now, all you need to know is that he’s a former Marine and Reagan-era secretary of the Navy now running as a Demcrat against Sen. George Allen. And he’s running because he opposes the Iraq War (and opposed it from the beginning). He’s got my vote.
Colbert, in pitch perfect imitation of a good patrioteer, asks Webb at one point (paraphrasing here): “Are you saying that because you were in a war [Vietnam] you know more about war than me? Because if you are, that means you’re saying you know more about war than the president.”
Not that one needs to be in a war to have a sensible opinion about U.S. foreign policy, of course — the problem with the chickenhawks is not that they don’t have experience, but that they’re content to leave the fighting and dying and limb-losing for their cause to other people. But it’s obviously more important that able-bodied neocon pundits fight on the home front, since it’s the media’s fault the war is going badly.
Meanwhile, back in Candyland, National Journal has some thoughts on the DeLay race. The Politiscope suggests that Democrats wanted DeLay to win this week, which is why they didn’t cross over and vote for DeLay’s Republican opponents in the open primary. More likely, I think, the Democrats just realized that crossover voting wasn’t going to be enough to stop DeLay — perhaps not even enough to force him into a run-off, which he easily averted.
The NJ item doesn’t mention Stockman, but perhaps suggests one way in which having an independent anti-Lampson candidate can help DeLay:
DeLay’s camp knows he’s radioactive, which is why his campaign has been subterranean. His strategists knew that in a low-turnout vote, they could control the makeup of the electorate. With that in mind, DeLay ran few if any TV ads and held few large public events.
If DeLay can keep a low profile in his own re-election race, his odds might be better. But it still doesn’t add up: if voters who get their news for television think the race is between Stockman and Lampson, that’s hardly going to increase the Republican vote or lower Democratic turnout.