By Margaret Mulvihill
January 19, 2015
President James H. “Jim” Webb. Sounds good, right? Well, not so fast. Let’s take a long look at the candidate. So far, the only candidate who has stated his intent on running for the office of President of the United States (POTUS) in 2016. Webb’s actions over the past few years would certainly indicate a move in that direction. In 2012, Senator Webb (D-VA), chose not to defend the seat he was elected to in 2007. He resigned at the end of his term in 2013.
A centrist Democrat, whatever that means in 2015, Webb formed his exploratory committee in November 2014. For the uninitiated, the exploratory committee allowed him the freedom to fundraise before officially tossing his hat into the ring.
More telling is the hiring of a communications director, Craig Crawford, and Kristian Todd (wife of Meet-The-Press-Chuck). The Webb camp, relatively quiet since November, recently issued a statement that the former Senator has had knee replacement surgery, due to a Vietnam-era combat injury. Why did Webb suddenly require surgery for a decades-old injury?
It coincided with allegations of financial misconduct concerning his political action committee (PAC). Called ‘The Born Fighting PAC’, it has paid close to $100,000 to Webb’s wife, Hong Le Webb, and to his daughter, Amy Webb Hogan, for creating and managing his websites.
Federal Election Commission reports show that while the PAC took in close to $1 million, it has not donated to political candidates since the end of 2010. Breaking down the numbers since inception shows that the Born Fighting PAC has given only 20% to the candidates and groups it was set up to help. Meanwhile, the PAC continues to solicit and accept donations.
Surprising to DC insiders who recall Webb as being uninterested in the day-to-day politics and donor glad-handling, it is somewhat unbelievable to me. He and I share a proud Scotch-Irish ancestry. I have read his excellent book, “Born Fighting” many times over. Webb is an anti-war Vietnam War hero, a former naval secretary under Reagan, and a novelist. A suspension of judgment is called for here. This country needs leadership like never before, and as Webb said in his November announcement, “True leadership makes a difference.”
He went on to say that “Results can be obtained, even in a paralyzed political environment, and in fact I believe we can UN-paralyze the environment and re-establish a transparent, functioning governmental system in our country.”