By Steven T. Jones
Even with Democrats retaking Congress and making tentative moves for economic justice and against this disastrous war, political communications have been less than inspiring these days. And President George W. Bush's State of the Union speech last night was a sad and dismal nadir to his sad and dismal presidency. Yet we still had to endure standing ovations that included Democrats for all his dreary non-points and poll-tested platitudes. Ugh, it was almost enough to make a political junkie want to kick the habit.
Then, Jim Webb spoke.
Holy Democratic revival, Batman, this was a knockout! I've never seen the opposition party response so thoroughly outshine a State of the Union speech, with all the pagaentry they entail. Webb, a military man turned junior senator from Virginia, eloquently and forcefully drove home the economic justice and anti-war points that most Ameircans believe in, but which Democrats have generally been too timid to really bring. But Webb brought it!
Sadly, his speech was followed by tepid, throwaway remarks from Democratic presidential hopefuls Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton, although Bill Richardson was a bit better. Yet Webb has now set the gold standard for how Democrats should be talking. Either the other contenders will take the cue and start aggressively speakng truth to power, or we're likely to see a serious grassroots effort to get Webb to run. Progressives aren't going to have a lot of patience for ending this ill-conceived war and reversing the ruling class' exploitation of the masses -- which were the two main subjects of Webb's speech. Democrats have their moment, and if Pelosi -- who has said impeachment is off the table -- doesn't forcefully challenge this imperial presidency with everything she has, it looks like we have a new kid of the block who will.