Tuesday night, if you watched the Democratic debate, you witnessed the spectacle of Jim Webb’s sort-of campaign turn into a full-blown dumpster fire. He was incredibly tone-deaf on issues of race and gender, to say the least. Leaving aside the petulance over his lack of speaking time (YOU EATED ALL MAH TIME!), Webb serves as a reminder of how much the Democratic Party has improved.
The young’uns (less than 30 – 35, give or take) might not believe me, but in the 1990s, Webb was considered a centrist Democrat. Not a centrist who happened to be a Democrat, but the center of the Democratic Party. We were stuck with ‘school uniforms’ as education policy and ‘welfare reform’, the disaster that it was. Those were very frustrating days, especially since the pre-Internet era* made it very difficult for the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party to find avenues to publicly criticize ‘New Democrats’ like Webb. There was a lot of unsung, hard work by the tail-end of the Boomers and GenXers in the 1990s and early aughts to push things leftward, and, based on Tuesday night’s debate, it seems to have paid off.
So I’m glad Webb was there–to remind us that the Democratic Party has moved past him.
Aside: Regarding Clinton versus Sanders, I think Steve M. has the smartest take I’ve read so far. The punditocracy doesn’t view Sanders as a legitimate candidate, and there was very little he could or can do to change that.
*Telneting into electronic bulletin boards, while fun and old-school, wasn’t exactly a broad audience compared to 2015.