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Almost everyone underestimates Webb.  Almost everyone has him pigeonholed in a tiny little box composed of two or three stereotypes.  Webb is not a conservative, he is a populist.  He is not a Republican and never was, really.  Even when he served in Reagan's cabinet he was a loose cannon, a free thinker who spoke his mind, often at odds with the power structure around him.  When he left there was no love lost on either side.  And the views on women for which he has received so much flak were the views of a class of Naval Academy midshipmen a generation ago.  Webb faithfully reported the views he found there, which he may or may not have shared at the time.  Even if he did share them, his tenure as Navy Secretary would seem to indicate that his views on women in the military have evolved.  He opened more billets to women in the military than any Secretary before or since.

Webb defies any convenient stereotype..  He is much more than a macho Marine, or a woman hating redneck.  He is a deep thinker, a very complex person.  Besides his history of military and government service, he did time as an award winning journalist.  He has written several novels and some nonfiction, and has taught literature at Annapolis.

If you want to understand what Jim Webb is really about, you need to read his words.  I highly recommend Born Fighting.
It is the story of the Scots-Irish, from their origins in the Lowland and Borders areas of Scotland to their current presence as a significant and enduring substrate of American culture.  It is an interesting story about an interesting people, told from a deeply personal, at times autobiographical, point of view.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Fri May 30th, 2008 at 05:23:13 PM EST
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