As I’ve mentioned before, I voted exclusively Democrat until 1982.
Prior to that, for president I had voted for George McGovern in 1972, Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Jimmy Carter, again, in 1980.
I still have deep regrets about that last one. I didn’t like Carter in 1980. He had clearly led the country in the wrong direction. But I didn’t vote for Ronald Reagan that year only because I was afraid to vote Republican.
I had been not just a Democrat in my early life, but a radical, off-the-charts leftist. Before I could vote, I was a “small c” communist revolutionary who, like Barack Obama, thought the U.S. was an evil imperialistic, racist nation that needed to be destroyed — laid low, subverted and “fundamentally transformed.”
In 1972, I only voted for McGovern because I thought he might end the war in Vietnam, thus saving my butt from being drafted and saving the lives of millions of Vietnamese civilians whom I believed the U.S. were systematically exterminating so we could grab their treasures for greedy capitalist corporations.
By the time Reagan was sworn into office, I knew I had been totally wrong — about him, about Carter, about liberals being the lesser of two evils and about the true nature of the USA.
Since then, with one exception, I have never voted for a Democrat again. The one exception was in 1998 when I voted in a gubernatorial primary election in California for Gray Davis. The reason I did that was because I believed he was such a weak candidate, his victory would ensure that the Republican state attorney general, Dan Lungren, who faced an uncontested path to the Republican gubernatorial nomination, would have an easy path to victory. Even that vote proved to be a mistake.
Davis beat Lungren. And shortly thereafter I moved out of California after 20 years never to return.
I didn’t think I would ever vote for a Democrat again.
The party was hijacked by an ideology that would have shocked John F. Kennedy. It would have turned off Harry Truman. It went off the rails for good with the election of Lyndon Baines Johnson, never to return to its patriotic, common-sense roots.
But there’s a Democratic presidential candidate this year I could see myself voting for. His name is Jim Webb, the former senator from Virginia.
If Jeb Bush somehow miraculously stole the 2016 race to become the presidential nominee of the Republican Party and Jim Webb somehow miraculously defeated Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Party nomination, I would undoubtedly vote for Webb.
I would also vote for Webb, in that case, if the Republicans nominated Marco Rubio or Chris Christie or Lindsay Graham or John Kasich or George Pataki. If Webb had been the nominee of the Democratic Party in 2012, I would have voted for him over Mitt Romney. If he had been the nominee in 2008, I would have voted for him over John McCain.
That doesn’t make Webb an ideal candidate. But it does make him a very unusual Democrat.
That’s probably why he seemed so out of place at the debate this week. He’s a real American — a hero. And that’s not what most Democrats want in a candidate, unfortunately. He proved his character in Vietnam as a highly decorated Marine officer. He served with distinction as Navy secretary in the Reagan administration. He’s also a great writer and author.
I’ll tell you another story about Webb. In 2006, he ran for the U.S. Senate in the state of Virginia against George Allen, the former governor, and beat him. Suffice it to say Allen did not run a very good campaign. Late in the game, with Webb ahead in the polls, Allen’s desperate staff approached me with opposition research on Webb.
What they were offering were salacious excerpts from some of Webb’s novels. I guess they assumed this would be eaten up by WND’s heavily Christian audience. I told them to take a hike.
For me, Webb’s character was defined by his Vietnam War duty when he threw himself on a grenade to save his fellow warriors. It was defined by his combat experience. It was defined by his accomplishments in rebuilding the U.S. Navy in the 1980s. It wasn’t defined by some fantasies he wrote about in his novels.
Jim Webb went on to serve with distinction in the Senate.
And today he has the distinction of being the very rare Democrat I could vote for. That’s what was going through my mind as I watched him earlier this week debate four clowns vying for the presidency in 2016.
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