CommunityFDL Main Blog

Responding to the President — with Authority


Not many folks pass up a chance to get their photo taken with the president. It doesn't matter what party you are, or who the president is — it's just one of those things that folks do when they get the chance.

Except Jim Webb. You see, he's not at all happy with George Bush.

"I'm not particularly interested in having a picture of me and George W. Bush on my wall," Webb said in an interview yesterday [November 27, 2006] in which he confirmed the exchange between him and Bush. "No offense to the institution of the presidency, and I'm certainly looking forward to working with him and his administration. [But] leaders do some symbolic things to try to convey who they are and what the message is."

And that exchange?  The Washington Post described it like this shortly after it happened:

At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia's newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn't long before Bush found him.

"How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"

"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.

Now that's a Response to the President.

The photo above is from the Webb for Senate campaign site, and the boots he's holding belong to his son, Jimmy. Jimmy is serving in Iraq, and Webb wore the boots throughout his campaign. The caption "Thank you, Virginia" is Webb's message to the voters who elected him. The rest of the Democrats in the Senate and progressives around the country want to thank you, too, Virginia, for sending Jim Webb to the Senate.

Bush may have power, but Webb has authority, and he knows how to use it.

(a drum rolls, followed by trumpet fanfare) 

Ladies and gentlemen, stay tuned for a Democratic Response to the State of the Union address, delivered live, in color, and with authority, by the Honorable James Webb, the Junior Senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

(a drum rolls, followed by trumpet fanfare) 

Webb won't be standing in the well of the House of Representatives like President Bush, and there will be no colleagues leaping to their feet to interrupt Webb's speech with applause. But don't let that stop you from doing so here in the comments.

Previous post

T Minus Two Years And Counting

Next post

Libby Trial: Openings And On To Witnesses



I'm an ordained Lutheran pastor with a passion for language, progressive politics, and the intersection of people's inner sets of ideals and beliefs (aka "faith" to many) and their political actions. I mostly comment around here, but offer a weekly post or two as well. With the role that conservative Christianity plays in the current Republican politics, I believe that progressives ignore the dynamics of religion, religious language, and religiously-inspired actions at our own peril. I am also incensed at what the TheoCons have done to the public impression of Christianity, and don't want their twisted version of it to go unchallenged in the wider world. I'm a midwesterner, now living in the Kansas City area, but also spent ten years living in the SF Bay area. I'm married to a wonderful microbiologist (she's wonderful all the way around, not just at science) and have a great little Kid, for whom I am the primary caretaker these days. I love the discussions around here, especially the combination of humor and seriousness that lets us take on incredibly tough stuff while keeping it all in perspective and treating one another with respect.

And Preview is my friend.