Posted by Ginny on October 31st, 2006 (All posts by Ginny)
James Rummel discusses the way women choose men. Of course, women often find “bad boys” quite attractive; still James Webb may push this a bit far.
Update: Over at Althouse (this is a week later or so), they are discussing Webb & David Brook’s column about him. It seems to me that many who write or comment on this blog have enough of the Jacksonian temperament to find Webb attractive. I confess, I do. He is smart & witty & active; he is also entertaining. But loose cannons may entertain – they don’t always provide good policy. And one way he is quite different is his isolationism – one that few of us share. (I still think “first candidte from the Buchanan wing of the Democratic party” is not a bad summary.)
I actually was cheered, years ago, watching him debate Pat Schroeder on the Lehrer show. He knew people whose careers were destroyed by the Tailhook affair, he knew the potential (and, as it turned out, real) problems of women living with men in the tight quarters on Navy vessels. His contempt for her vacuity was refreshing.
So, a couple of years ago I read his autobiographical Born Fighting. I’d thought these were probably my mother’s people – the Scots-Irish Presbyterians from Kentucky & Virginia. By the time I was through, I was hoping they weren’t. Webb values strength but he also values the kind of pugnacious, assertive & impulsive behavior I’ve always found entertaining in short quantities & a bit wearing on further acquaintance. You get the sense that there’s always a simmering anger – and with it an energy & a resistance to any boundaries. This is the mode of the explorers. It is also the mode of less useful social behavior.
Webb’s charm is that of a loose cannon; if he does get elected, he’s likely to be unpredictable & even entertaining. But then, Kinky is entertaiing & I sure didn’t vote for him. Generally, entertaining & responsible don’t correlate well. Of course, Webb has the guts & energy, the stubborn distrust of authority that pushes explorers. He blends heroism with kid-on-a-tear rebellion as did that early Virginian, John Smith.
On Brit Hume, Fred Barnes remarked that Webb was the first candidate from the Buchanan wing of the Democratic party. There’s some truth to that – I noted earlier that the Democrats had already conceded a kind of loss in the fielding of Republican-like candidates. With Webb, we don’t have someone who is “performing” like a Republican – he has had a lifetime where he pretty consistently doesn’t sound like he belongs in a netroots Blue city. Buchanan has been on panels with Huffington – I guess that weird combative isolationism has a following & now it’s on the left.