Jim Webb

The GOP Needs to construct its own foreign policy narrative

On Tuesday, former Virginia Senator Jim Webb — who many remember as former Secretary of the Navy under Reagan, and even more recall as a respected novelist and fierce Marine of the Vietnam era — stood at the podium of the National Press Club and announced that he’s at least considering a run for president in 2016.


He was frank that he’s assessing support and will decide in several months if he’s all in. And, as expected, he was asked questions about positions already being staked out by the presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and how he felt given his expertise —and there’s no doubt he’s an expert on matters of national defense — about our current engagement with ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

The takeaway was that we have a very incoherent foreign policy in these matters and we’d do well to develop and communicate a more concrete set of strategies. “It is not a healthy thing when the world’s dominant military and economic power has a policy based on vagueness,” he said. And that’s a reasonable thought. Somewhere in there was also the mention that we shouldn’t be an occupying force in that region of the world, but that was hardly a surprising position for someone known as one of the harshest critics of the Iraq War under Bush.

He also talked about economic fairness and even touched on corporate cronyism, as is typical of someone at least attempting to hash out a platform. But the talk of war is of interest because, almost immediately following his speech, media pundits that were in attendance began tweeting and writing that Webb had given an impassioned “anti-war” speech, possibly to set him in opposition to “hawkish” Hillary Clinton.

Tim Kaine’s Obama problem

Former Gov. Tim Kaine, who last week announced his bid for the seat being left open by Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), is trailing former Republican Sen. George Allen in a prospective general election match-up, according to a poll from Roanoke College:

In a very early look at the possible battle for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jim Webb, registered voters in the Commonwealth preferred former Gov. and U.S. Sen. George Allen, a Republican, over former Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, by 45 percent to 32 percent with 23 percent undecided. [Please note that the margin of error for this question was + 5.2 percent because it was asked only of the 360 registered voters in the sample.]

Among the battleground groups, Kaine led among political moderates (41%-34%), while Allen led among Independent voters (40%-35%). Not surprisingly, Allen led among Republicans (78%-4%) and conservatives (68%-10%) while Kaine led among Democrats (79%-12%) and liberals (83%-10%).

Over at National Review, Jim Geraghty notes that the poll shows President Barack Obama with an 34% approval rating in the state, while Gov. Bob McDonnell has an approval rating of 66%.

Making Kaine’s problems worse, as Virginia political observer Norman Leahy writes, is the never-ending push by Obama to increase taxes:

ObamaCare repeal fails in the Senate

As you have likely heard, Senate Republicans were unsuccessful in their attempt yesterday to repeal ObamaCare, in a 47-51 party line vote:

The vote came two weeks to the day the Republican House voted 245-189 to repeal the law, and just days after a federal judge ruled Obama’s signature legislative achievement is unconstitutional.

Republicans have vowed to carry the fight forward, saying they will seek to de-fund the law as it is implemented. The GOP also has promised Wednesday’s repeal vote will not be the last in this Congress.

The vote came on a budgetary point of order, which Republicans needed 60 votes to overcome. Democrats argued repealing healthcare would add an estimated $230 billion to the deficit, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) called that estimate “preposterous.”

McConnell was trying to add an amendment repealing the healthcare law to legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration.

Neither the result nor vote breakdown were surprises. No Democrats in attendance voted in favor of the measure and no Republicans rejected it. Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) were absent for the vote.

While that’s the bad news, the good news is that the Senate, in a bipartisan effort, was able to kill off the 1099 provision, which requires businesses to file forms for transactions of $600 more in a calendar year. Repeal of the provision has failed at least three times previously.

Senate Republicans poised to bring a vote on ObamaCare repeal

Just a few days after Judge Roger Vinson struck down ObamaCare as an unconstitutional violation of the Commerce Clause, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has proposed an amendment to legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and a vote could come as early as today:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will force a vote in the Senate to repeal the new health care law by offering it as an amendment to the first bill the Senate takes up this year. A vote could come as early as Tuesday afternoon.

The Democrat-controlled Senate will take up a bipartisan authorization measure to fund the Federal Aviation Administration using an open process, which allows any member to offer amendments regardless of whether the proposal is related to the topic of the bill.

Since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has refused to put a health care repeal bill to a straight vote, the move is one tactic GOP members in the Senate can use to put their colleagues on the record about health care law repeal.

The Senate didn’t vote on the amendment yesterday. McConnell told conservative talk show host Sean Hannity that a vote is likely to come today.

Liberty Links: Morning Reads for Wednesday, February 2nd

Below is a collection of several links that we didn’t get around to writing about, but still wanted to post for readers to examine. The stories typically range from news about prominent figures in the liberty movement, national politics, the nanny state, foreign policy and free markets.

George Allen makes Senate run official

We noted last week that former Sen. George Allen (R-VA) was rumored to be preparing for a rematch against Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), who has yet to decide if he’ll run again. Yesterday, Allen made it official, he will run in 2012:

Former Virginia senator and governor George Allen has launched his campaign to win back the Senate seat he lost in 2006.

Republican George Allen, left, lost his U.S. Senate seat to Democrat Jim Webb, right.

Democrat Jim Webb narrowly defeated Allen, a Republican, for the U.S. Senate in 2006 and has not yet said whether he will run for a second term in 2012. Allen made his announcement via a video posted on his website.

“It’s time for an American comeback,” Allen said, “…where leaders in Washington listen to ‘we the people.’ “

Allen’s announcement wasn’t met with a lot of applause from conservatives. RedState’s Erick Erickson took word of his entrance into the race as an opportunity to express support for Jamie Radtke, a tea party activist:

George Allen to seek rematch with Jim Webb

George Allen is gearing up for a challenge to Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), a rematch of the 2006 matchup that Allen lost by a little over 7,000 votes:

George Allen, the former U.S. senator and Virginia governor, plans to tell supporters within a week that he is mounting a campaign to retake the Senate seat he lost to Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) in 2006. Allen, 58, the most prominent 2012 challenger to announce so far, has begun to line up key staff members. Webb, 64, who won by 1 percent, has sent mixed signals about whether he will seek reelection. DNC Chairman Tim Kaine, a former Virginia governor who could be the Democratic nominee if Webb bowed out, has been telling friends he thinks Webb will run. The rematch could be one of the hottest races in the country, especially if President Obama’s reelection campaign plays hard in the Old Dominion.

As this story over at Fox News notes, part of Allen’s undoing in that race outside a national wave against Republicans was when he used the word “macaca” in reference to a Webb staffer that happened to be an Indian-American. The word is considered to be a racial slur.

Webb, who hasn’t made clear if he’ll run for re-election, already has at least one challenger in Jamie Radtke, chairwoman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots.

Virginia Turns Just A Little More Red

Continuing a trend that began with the GOP wins last year at the statewide level, Tuesday was a very good night for Republicans in the Old Dominion:

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D) was holding on to a thin lead in the race to keep his seat Tuesday night, even as a Republican wave swept three fellow Democratic members of Congress from Virginia out of office.

In a rematch of their 2008 race, Connolly led Oakton businessman Keith Fimian (R) by less than 500 votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting in the 11th Congressional District, which includes most of Fairfax County and a portion of Prince William County. Connolly won by 12 percentage points two years ago and was leading Tuesday by less than 1 percent.

Connolly, a veteran politician who once headed the Fairfax Board of Supervisors, spoke to supporters late Tuesday and made what appeared to be an acceptance speech.

“I hope you will find me worthy… and accept my deep gratitude to continue to be able to serve this public for another two years,” he said.

But Fimian did not concede. His campaign released a statement early Wednesday saying, “In an election this close, it is important to take the time to get the result right by seeing the counting and canvassing process through.”

Fairfax elections officials said they had counted all of the votes – including absentee ballots – except for those in two precincts, where a small number of machines malfunctioned. Those votes will be counted Wednesday morning, Registrar Edgardo Cortes said.

Connolly won each of those precincts two years ago by 20 percentage points.

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