Oliver Willis

Jim Webb’s Bizarre Presidential Campaign Launch

Jim Webb is running for President, I guess.

Jim Webb launched his presidential campaign with a strange video with bargain basement production values. There’s no real base of support for Webb within the Democratic Party. He’s not a rock star like Sec. Clinton, a progressive icon like Elizabeth Warren, a sitting progressive governor like Martin O’Malley, or an ideological warrior like Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Webb was a decent enough senator, opposing the Iraq War with a centrist portfolio when that’s the sort of thing you needed to win as a Democrat in Virginia, but he hasn’t been front and center on the big fights of the last few years and even when he was in the Senate, he didn’t seem to like being there that much.

In his announcement video, Webb lays on a lot of happy talk about American exceptionalism, but isn’t a particularly motivating or gifted orator. I don’t think serving in the Reagan administration is much of a draw within the Democratic primaries, either.

The staging of the video is odd and dark, apparently filmed in a news studio during some down time. His exploratory committee website is barebones, just reprinting his announcement in text form.

The Democratic presidential contest cannot and should not be a coronation of Hillary Clinton. She should be challenged, and maybe even defeated, with a compelling campaign pushing for a progressive vision that will continue what began under President Obama while also showing a break from his presidency. So far, that isn’t what Webb is offering, at all.