For the Record: I Hope Jim Webb Runs

It would be good for the party and good for the country to hear his views on equality and militarism.

Then-Senator Jim Webb campaigning with Barack Obama in Virginia in 2012 (Jason Reed/Reuters)

The National Journal, which is part of our same Atlantic Media empire, has a new cover story by Bob Moser on Jim Webb's possible campaign for the presidency.

I've known Webb for a long time, and I am quoted several times about his personality and possible effect on the race. The direct quotes are all accurate, but unfortunately (if inadvertently) they're presented in a context I did not intend.

The story says that I do not think Webb should run. Thus the specific observations on which I'm quoted—about his temperamental difference from run-of-the-mill politicians, about the long-shot prospects he or anyone else would seem to have versus Hillary Clinton—seem to be reasons for opposing his candidacy.

For example, Moser writes:

That's exactly why he shouldn't run, says Fallows. Rather than the-hell-for leather, 2006-style adventure that Saunders and other Webb loyalists hope for, Fallows envisions a Webb candidacy—and, even more, a Webb presidency—as another joyless Senate-style slog. "I've spoken with him about the presidential possibility," Fallows says. "My own view is that he has an extremely remote chance of winning the nomination, which might be harder than winning a general ... "

Actually, I hope Jim Webb does run. Two of the issues on which he has based his political career—economic inequality, and the risks of chickenhawk militarism—are absolutely crucial issues for the Democratic party and the country. Realistically the 2016 Democratic race seems more sewn up than any other nomination race I can recall. Anyone running against Hillary Clinton faces very steep odds. But there's still a long time to go, anything can happen, and the country and the party can only benefit from having a candidate like Webb make the case he would make. For similar reasons, I said nine years ago that I was glad Webb was beginning his (long-shot) run for the Senate in Virginia.

Want to hear how Jim Webb sounds when he talks about economic and social justice? I wrote about this during the 2012 presidential campaign, and I give you the video below. It came during the controversy over whether 47 percent of Americans were "takers," and in it Webb talks both about moral issues and about things he accomplished in the Senate.

This was an unintentional misrepresentation on National Journal's part, which I believe it will correct in the online version of the story. The National Journal has corrected this in the online version of the story. But it is important enough (to me) that I want to make this point myself.