I didn’t see anything of real importance in the State of the Union speech tonight. The speech and reactions to it were all reasonably predictable, I thought. I did enjoy watching Pelosi’s reactions behind Bush, and wondered if Amy Klobuchar lost some sort of straw poll that determined she was the one who had to sit next to Lieberman. And, the seating of Hillary behind Obama was choice. I kept hoping the camera might catch her giving him a backrub. Speaking of inappropriate contact, I thought Michelle Bachman (whose Wikipedia entry is approximately 50% of all Wikipedia content, counting every language) was going to start running her hands through Bush’s hair as he walked by her in the receiving line. She looked like one of those girls screaming at the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. That’ll be the highlight of her two years in DC, right there.
But the real highlight of the night was Jim Webb’s response on behalf of the Democrats. According to Brian Williams of NBC (and most likely every other network talking head), Webb declined to use the speech provided to him by the Dem Party and instead penned his own. I’m curious what Pipeline readers thought about Webb’s speech. I thought it was powerful and struck just the right tone. Of course, I have biases that might lead me to that conclusion, such as for Democrats, truth, etc.
Another note about Webb that just struck me in reading his (impressive) Wikipedia site: Contrast Jim Webb with the assclown he displaced, George Allen. In particular, go back and read this article about a development in the last 10 days of that election, when Allen was terrified he was going to lose and pulled out all the stops by declaring Webb was a man of low character because he wrote novels about wartime that featured graphic sex scenes. You wouldn’t think somebody whose own sister had written books about how she had been physically abused by her brother, George Allen, would start arguments about low character and books, but there it is.
Now, tonight, Jim Webb gave a measured, personal, and powerful statement about what our leadership today is and what it could be. He looked, well, Senatorial, and given his own history and that of his family, and their belief in and service to this country, I have to believe his words tonight will strike a chord with Americans of many stripes. It seemed to me Jim Webb had met his moment, and seized it. It’s one thing to be an understated guy running uphill against an incumbent, but once you win, everything changes. Understated becomes thoughtful. “Upstart” becomes “respected”. Among many potential Democratic choices, somebody knew what they were doing when they chose him.
I wonder where George Allen was tonight?