Jim Webb, American hero

Webb detests politics just like the rest of us. You can see it in his eyes. He hates campaigning. He doesn’t like raising money. Last night, Webb exhibited contempt for the bunkum that poured from mouths of people who can claim that climate change is the most pressing problem mankind faces. And I have little doubt he would have been similarly unimpressed by most of the platitudinous answers Republicans offered in their debates.

Now, Webb would be far more conservative than the GOP frontrunner, but his moderate positions on tax policy, immigration, and foreign affairs would make him just disagreeable to most conservatives as he is to most liberals. He isn’t exactly right for either party—not because of some triangulation or convenient moderation, but because he’s not an ideologue. He’s also not a coward, as he’s unwilling to say whatever his party demands in the pursuit of power.

In theory, these are all commendable traits. These, in fact, are the sort of things voters are always pretending to look for in a candidate. In reality, this authenticity gets you to around 0.7 percent in the polls. Americans claim not to like the partisanship of Washington. What they mean is they dislike the other guy’s partisanship. What it means for candidates like Jim Webb, serious people who deserve to be heard, is obscurity.