Former Virginia senator, Jim Webb is exploring the possibility of becoming a presidential candidate during the 2016 elections. Webb is the first individual to really make any serious steps towards making a bid as a candidate. An exploratory committee was set up by the former senator in an effort to at least acknowledge his interest in running for office. Legally an exploratory committee is the same as declaring a campaign although at this point he does not yet have any type of campaign staff.
Webb is a Vietnam veteran and he also served as Secretary of the Navy in 1987 to 1988 under the Republican President Ronald Reagan. He found success politically as an opponent of the Iraq War back in 2006. His run as the Democratic senator of Virginia lasted for six years until 2013. While he only served one term in the Senate, his stance on not only economics but also on America being noninterventionist marks him as a strong challenger to the other potential Democratic candidates.
The former senator’s made his announcement in a four page letter posted to a new website and in a video. In his statement he does not name any names for potential adversaries but he does say that he knows that he will face strong competition to be the Democratic party’s nominee. Although Webb does not specifically name Hillary Clinton as his competition, she is considered by many to be the most likely candidate to run in 2016.
As a possible presidential candidate, Webb has already begun to lay out his beliefs on issues such as economic justice and national security. His positions on economics has already put him in contrast with what some individuals would call the economic elite. This includes pointing out that hedge-fund managers who make million dollar deals should be paying ordinary income tax on the money rather than a capital-gains tax. He has also objected to both political parties being indebted to the financial interests of Wall Street.
In his letter exploring the possibility of running for office, Webb addresses his concerns about poverty, crime and lack of opportunities for the poorest citizens of the country. He also asks that people consider the possibility of a president who lays out a plan that would bring all parties together to work towards the betterment of the entire nation. While he does acknowledge in the letter that the parties do not currently agree on the running of the country it seems as if his desire is to offer a vision that would allow all the different philosophies of politics to work together.
Another major difference between Webb as a possible presidential candidate and someone like Clinton is in their style of campaigning. While Clinton is more than willing to connect with the political elite and cultivate donors for her campaign, Webb has an aversion to the political fundraising process. There is also their approaches to getting their messages across that marks the differences between the two as Clinton is careful in how she addresses issues and Webb is more direct and seemingly rough around the edges. Although there is still time before all the candidates are official and announced, it seems that in this instance Webb may be true competition for the Democratic party.
By Kimberley Spinney
Photo by Marc Nozell – Flickr License