The Must Read of the Day

Especially for those of you who appreciate history and the roots and moorings of culture, this exploration in TNR of Senator Jim Webb’s background and his route to his current political position is a must-read. Seems like the author, Eve Fairbanks, is quite the proponent of Jim Webb as Veep choice for the Obama presidency. The more I think about it, the more I’m liking the idea as well:

Mad Skills || The New Republic Online

Webb is supposed to be Obama’s opposite: the angry white politician to Obama’s mild-mannered black one. But, oddly, Webb has something fundamental in common with Obama. Both men felt ill at ease at elite schools, leading them to embark on quests to rediscover their ethnic identities in their twenties. Both deepened these discoveries through writing. And both came to their identities as outsiders–as admiring anthropologists of the identity rather than people for whom the identity was organic from birth. This explains why Webb can celebrate anger without succumbing to it. It also helps explain his appeal to Democrats. Like Obama, he is not simply a member of a group historically important to the party; he is someone who embodies that group, someone who has turned that group’s narrative into his own. Webb–who, in our interview, defended Obama against charges of cultural elitism made by people “trying to cut Barack down”–has shown appreciation for the similarity between their projects. “If [the Scots-Irish] could get at the same table as black America, you could change populist American politics,” he told Joe Scarborough last month, “because they have so much in common in terms of what they need out of government.”

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.