Jim Webb

Conservatives on Jim Webb: Pro and Con

|

Scott McConnell, editor of The American Conservative:

[I]t may be true that no successful politician is doing more to shatter the post-1960s categories of Left and Right than Webb is trying to do. If the present results hold, the Old Dominion has given us a vastly more complex senator than the oleaginous George Allen and perhaps its most interesting emissary to the upper chamber since the 19th century.

R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., founder of The American Spectator:

At first I thought his discomfort might come from the fear he was going to have to pay his way. It was a classy eatery. I reassured him that he was my guest. I went on to make clear I considered him a fine writer. Nothing I said reassured him, not even my insistence that he have dessert. I left baffled….After that dinner I never made the mistake of inviting him anywhere again.

Advertisement

NEXT: Quotes

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. as a libertarian leaning virginian who voted for webb, in only the 2nd election i’ve voted in (i’m 24), i love all the attention webb’s getting here at reason. 🙂

  2. I’m not sure I’d give much weight to anything flowing from Tyrrell’s pen.

    All that florid prose is but shiny packaging on character assassinating dreck.

  3. I’m pretty sure Jim Webb can afford to eat at a nice restaurant.

    I can’t believe I thought Tyrrell was a good writer once.

  4. All that florid prose is but shiny packaging on character assassinating dreck.

    More like muddy packaging…

  5. “After that dinner I never made the mistake of inviting him anywhere again.”

    Mission Accomplished!

  6. It’s like the brain gears start seizing up and smoke pours out of their ears when they encounter a Dem who isn’t a nice guy/punching bag or professional jobber like Alan Colmes.

  7. Maybe I don’t run in those circles, but do straight men ever invite other straight men they’ve never met out to dinner at fancy restaurants? Gay insinuations aside, Tyrrell sounds like an insufferable boor to me, and I always got that impression about him even back when I considered myself a conservative. His writing is Buckley with the ideas removed.

  8. Webb is probably an insufferable jerk, but I don’t see why that matters. I can think of a lot of pretty competent people who were also geniunely nasty people to be around. Why does a politician have to be a nice guy in his private life to be successful? I don’t want a dinner date with the guy, I would like to know if he is really sincere in his commitment to gun rights or is he just giving boob bate for the bubbas and does he really by into the cracked economic policies of his Democratic colleges. If he has even rudimentary understand of economics and a geniune commitment to gun rights, he is already better than at least half of the Senate Republican or Democrat.

  9. Wow, Tyrrell’s peice was just about the most fluffed out hunk of tripe I have read in a long time. He took 10 paragraphs to basically say:”All leading Democrats are rude boors and Jim Webb’s confrontation with the President, and an uncomfortable dinner with me a few years ago, proves he is too.” If this is what passes as prime journalism these days, I should look at changing careers!

  10. The entire slam rests on the opening quote “At first I thought… The piece proceeds from there as if his perception is a fact.

    Maybe Webb’s discomfort (assuming there was any actual discomfort) was in having dinner with a man with the manners and snobbery of a bitchy mother-in-law.

  11. How many showers will I have to take to rid myself of the stench of Tyrell’s elitism? So what if Webb gets a little testy while some idiot reporter is silently judging him? What should he do? Kiss every WASPy hand in DC? Jim Webb apparently doesn’t fawn over people, and that’s enough to make me like him, even if some of his positions are a little daft.

  12. So…just imagine…you’re a conservative *ahem* journalist resonsible for a magazine that specializes in hatchet jobs of anyone left of Goldwater. You pal around with Richard Mellon Scaife and you’re biggest recent claim to fame was a program orchestrated to dig up dirt on and discredit a Democratic president.

    And you expect a Democratic senator to be at ease around you? What a diluded prick.

  13. Scott McConnell on Webb: “…perhaps [Virginia’s] most interesting emissary to the upper chamber since the 19th century.”

    More interesting than Carter Glass? Come on, dude! Carter Glass rocked!

  14. And you expect a Democratic senator to be at ease around you?

    Not to defend Tyrell, but at the time of the dinner Webb was not yet a candidate, and was probably still a Republican.

  15. My god enough with Jim Webb already. There’s 49 other states out there guys.

  16. I think Kwix, Madpad and Matt have Tyrrell pegged. Read that column again and imagine Webb’s perspective. You’re invited to dinner by a magazine editor, connected in the conservative movement and with literary pretensions. Great! You get there and your host is a whiny blowhard who tells a bunch of stories about his dangerous life as a pundit and the perfidy of Bill Clinton (I’m guessing, since that’s all Tyrrell ever writes about.). You start to check your watch. Your host proposes dessert. “No, uh, thanks,” you say. “I’ve got to return some videotapes.”

    Tyrrell’s been a has-been for going on a decade, and he’s miffed when people aren’t sufficiently awed by his has-beenness? Awesome.

  17. Ah, Senator Webb, the Human Rorshach Test.

    Democrats look at him and see an anti-war activist, ready to throw his Viet Nam medals over the White House gates.

    Republicans look at him and see an egotistical sell-out who would do whatever it takes to get on the WaPo’s front page.

    Libertarians look at him and get dreamy as a thirteen year-old girl looking at Matthew McConaghey.

    Unfortunately, everyone is going to be disappointed, because if you strip away all the Bush-bashing Webb is still a conservative Republican populist who will probably end up with a voting record indistinguishable from his predecessor’s.

    Me, I’m not expecting too much: As long as Webb toes the line on gun rights, I’ll be happy.

    But something tells me I’m going to be disappointed, too.

  18. The dinner, if there even was one, took place in the ’80s. But the prose (which basically consists of nothing but an impression of Webb as ‘uncomfortable,’ and probably even Tyrrell’s memory of what the dinner was like, are from this week.

    The richest part, to me, is that Tyrrell still seems to remember how expensive the dinner was some 20 years later, but he accuses Webb of being the skinflint? Right.

  19. Not to defend Tyrell, but at the time of the dinner Webb was not yet a candidate, and was probably still a Republican.

    Doesn’t matter when the dinner was…the article was written yesterday. And it’s pretty much an unrelenting stream of explicit (“gruesome evening”) and implicit (“brief stint”) jabs on the level of the Kevin Spacey’s mother in The Ref that have nothing to do with anything other than Webb not acting like Tyrrell though he should.

    Tyrrell’s a self-important lulu – kind of like the gaggle of Pythonesque upper crusts in the horse race scene of My Fair Lady.

  20. Captain Holly has it about right, I’d say.

  21. Tyrrell’s a self-important lulu

    Yeah, that’s the point of the post. But it’s still anachronistic to expect Webb to react negatively to Tyrell because, as “a Democratic senator,” he’d be offended at the stuff Tyrell would go on to do in the ’90s. I suspect Tyrell managed to offend him in other ways.

  22. Oh, I do try not to do this self-promotion thing, but when I read Tyrrell on Webb yesterday, I wrote a post titled Hillary [told] Bill, during an argument in the kitchen, “I need to be f*cked more than twice a year.” I took Tyrrell’s dead tree American Spectator for almost two decades — he imagines himself a latter-day Mencken — NOT! But he DID have some wordsmithing skills before Clinton hatred and a desire to lure the Limbaugh audience destroyed his magazine.

    How the man could have spent the 90s publishing the sleazy, National-Enquirer-level Bill ‘n Hill bashing I excerpt from in my post, whilst now decrying that Dems in general, and Webb in particular, are *boorish,* well you be the judge of the sheer chutzpah it takes for him to make that claim.

  23. This from the same political faction that said nothing about Webb’s predecessor during the whole “Macaca” incident and didn’t even blink an eye when the same senator’s goon squad assaulted a citizen for simply asking a question… who laughed at the way people twisted in the wind over Ann Coulter’s diatribes… and suddenly they get all up in airs when Webb doesn’t kiss White House rump and act like a wannabe Hollywood starlet in front of a Texas dufus. They should be thankful that they aren’t getting the same venom they’ve been dishing out for the past six years.

  24. “Webb is still a conservative Republican populist”

    I will believe that when I see it. My guess that he makes an ass of himself on pretty much continuous basis for the next six years and is a one termer.

  25. I suspect Tyrell managed to offend him in other ways.

    You’re assuming that Webb was indeed offended or reacted negatively. Tyrrell doesn’t even offer specific actions or inactions by Webb to back up his assertion. Tyrrell only gives his impressions of the evening.

    Tyrrell has neither the credibility or integrity to trust anything he says at any given moment about anything.

  26. You start to check your watch. Your host proposes dessert. “No, uh, thanks,” you say. “I’ve got to return some videotapes.”

    Nicely done.

  27. “I’ve got to return some videotapes.”

    Digital downloads are so gonna kill that excuse.

  28. I was particularly entertained by Tyrrell’s assertion that no matter how hard he tried he could not “reassure” poor Webb that he was picking up the tab for the dinner, in spite of Webb’s being a prosperous self-made man and successful novelist, and former Secretary of the Navy to boot. He actually thinks it was Webb’s fear of the check rather than his own boring, self-infatuated, and no doubt extremely narcissistic prattling which may have turned Webb off and sent him scurrying back to the comfort of a beer and a copy of Guns N Ammo for relief.

  29. I’ve come to the conclusion that the Republican establishment is terrified of this guy. He hasn’t even taken office yet, and they’re already starting with the “Jim Webb is craaaaaaazzzzzyyy” stories.

    Just like Gore, just like McCain, just like Dean. They think this guy could beat them in 2008.

  30. My guess that he makes an ass of himself on pretty much continuous basis for the next six years and is a one termer.

    Gimme 99 more of those and I might actually respect the US Senate.

  31. Yeah, how is it supposed to hurt Webb that he isn’t at home eating in snooty restaurants with a guy with a name like R. Emmet Tyrrell, Junior who used big words? That’s the part I don’t get.

  32. “conservative Republican populist”

    Isn’t that a triple oxymoron?

  33. “They think this guy could beat them in 2008”

    Holy shit, joe! Are you telling us that the Right Honorable Senator will desert his fellow Virginians for the (allegedly) greener and more luscious pastures of the US presidency? After serving only TWO YEARS in the world’s greatest deliberating body?

    Who The Fuck does he think he is? JOhn Fucking Kennedy?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.