The Democratic Party's job in 2012 just got more difficult, as Virginia Senator Jim Webb announced he wouldn't seek another six years. The loss to the Democrats is less than the loss in political integrity: Webb, though conventionally viewed as a conservative Democrat, was a harsh critic of the Iraq War (which inspired his run for office) and one of the few politicians to talk about growing economic injustice. As noted in November in Salon:
Webb's one of the last FDR Democrats. An economic populist. Liberals also admire the populist Webb. The same cannot be said for the Democratic establishment. Webb has pushed for a onetime windfall profits tax on Wall Street's record bonuses. He talks about the "unusual circumstances of the bailout," that the bonuses wouldn't be there without the bailout.
"I couldn't even get a vote," Webb says. "And it wasn't because of the Republicans. I mean they obviously weren't going to vote for it. But I got so much froth from Democrats saying that any vote like that was going to screw up fundraising.
"People look up say, what's the difference between these two parties? Neither of them is really going to take on Wall Street. If they don't have the guts to take them on, and they've got all these other programs that exclude me, well to hell with them. I'm going to vote for the other people who can at least satisfy me on other issues, like abortion. Screw you guys. I understand that mindset."
With Jim Webb retiring, 2012 Senate prospects get harder for Democrats
February 9, 2011
Jim Webb on Democrats and Wall Street
Tuesday, Nov 9, 2010