Alex Massie

Webb 3.0

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Ezra Klein leaps into the great Jim Webb discussion to make the important point that we've little idea what a Webb presidency would actually be like. True enough and that's another useful caveat. It's also the case that Obama's Veep may end up being a candidate for the Presidency themselves, either in 2012 or 2016. Do Democrats want to see Webb in that position? Can they envisage such an outcome?

Ezra also observes that Webb has only, officially, been a Democrat for half an hour. That's a matter of some concern to some Democrats. But for those of us who ain't much concerned with the health of the party, that's a good thing. I doubt that this election is going to be won by the side which can turn-out a greater proportion of its core vote (certainly McCain can't win using Rove's 2004 strategy); rather it's a battle for the centre-ground. McCain's strength and appeal is to moderate conservatives and independents.

Now, Obama obviously appeals to many of these voters too, but the point of a Webb Veepship would be to expand the range and type of voters to whom Obama could plausibly appeal, while minimising the dangers he faces amongst white working-class men. Webb is also, it should be said, the sort of anti-politician politician that indepedent voters love. If Obama-Webb defeated McCain in the centre, McCain would be left with nowhere to turn. Once you lose command of your stronghold, the game is up. And that means appealling to people who aren't Democrats.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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