April 28, 2006
I missed yesterday's visit to Staunton by James "Born Fighting" Webb, the former Navy Secretary (under Ronald Reagan!) who is running as a Democrat for George Allen's Senate seat. Oh well. His transparent effort to portray himself as an authentic military hero may be wearing a little thin, from what I read about his appearance in Arlington later that day. He mocked the incumbent senator's fondness for cowboy boots and urged his supporters to wear boots -- any kind of boots except cowboy boots! -- to show that Democrats are tough on defense. Huh? Well it made the front page of the Washington Post, in a story that was predictably sympathetic. I found it rather odd, however, that Webb declared that the war in Iraq is "wholly unrelated to our national interest," and then went on to lament the skyrocketing price of crude oil and gasoline. Does he not know that Iraq is a major oil producer? A more incisive report of Webb's appearance is at the National Journal's Hotline blog, via Instapundit.
I did manage, however, to attend this evening's forum of the six candidates running for the three open seats on the Staunton city council. Thankfully, the tone has been very respectful during the low-level campaign, nothing like the unfair calumnies hurled at Republicans Ray Ergenbright and Elnora Hazlett during their unsuccessful runs for reelection to city offices last fall. As I mentioned on April 17, there is a lot of suspicion that the big downtown renovation projects of recent years, culminating in the reopening of the Stonewall Jackson Hotel last fall, favored certain people at the expense of others. That was the subject of the written question I submitted in advance, and after an hour or so, they finally got to that one. Here is my summary of their main points, not necessarily accurate representations of their views:
The candidates all agreed on the importance of finding a highly qualified person to replace City Manager Bob Stripling, who was involved in some of that controversy last year and just announced his retirement. After two of her male rivals used the pronoun "he," referring to a replacement City Manager, Andrea Oakes made it clear that the best person for the job might be a man or a woman.
I thought the idea of reforming Social Security was dead as a door nail after Bush got burned on that issue by fear-mongering Democrats last year. Tom Faranda disagrees, arguing that the need by Congress to take action will soon become clear to all, for various demographic reasons. Well, I hope so. He has obviously done his homework on this complicated (and dry) issue.
Sad news for dittoheads across the Fruited Plain: After his show today, El Rushbo turned himself in at the Palm Beach County sheriff's office as part of a plea agreement by which he will pay a fine and continue to get drug treatment without going to jail. See the Washington Post.