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Correction to This Article
In some Nov. 12 editions, a photo caption with a Metro article incorrectly said that Sen.-elect James Webb (D-Va.) was shown in Alexandria. He was at Dulles International Airport.
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Webb May Be Senate Maverick

James Webb, shown arriving in Alexandria for an election-eve rally,
James Webb, shown arriving in Alexandria for an election-eve rally, "will be a much better and happier senator than senatorial candidate," said former Virginia lieutenant governor Donald S. Beyer Jr. (D). "I don't think he is a natural candidate, but he is very bright, strong-principled and apparently fearless." (By Melina Mara -- The Washington Post)

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But for at least the next six years, Webb will have to be the politician and deal-maker that he never was during the campaign.

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His life might become filled with ribbon-cuttings, Rotary Club dinners and town hall meetings. In Washington, the lobbyists and corporate executives he railed against during the campaign will be vying for his attention around the clock.

"He was the ultimate outside candidate," said Mark Rozell, a politics professor at George Mason University. "The trouble is, an outsider can run successful campaigns running against Washington, running against incumbents, but once elected they have to learn the task of government and taking responsibility of governing."

"Not only does he lack legislative experience, he lacks any electoral experience," Rozell said. "I think everyone will say his victory is an anti-Allen vote."

Webb's record in Washington was mixed, and he developed a reputation for being abrasive and difficult to get along with. He quit as secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration because he objected to congressional efforts to cut the Navy's budget.

But those who know him say Webb should fit in well on Capitol Hill, where he worked as a staffer during the 1970s.

"My perspective is Jim will be a much better and happier senator than senatorial candidate," said former Virginia lieutenant governor Donald S. Beyer Jr. (D). "I don't think he is a natural candidate, but he is very bright, strong-principled and apparently fearless. I think he can be a very strong voice in the Senate. He will be very comfortable working with 99 other senators to solve problems."

Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) said Webb has "a keen intellect" and will do fine in the Senate, once he understands its frustrations.

"It will test his patience, as it does all of us," said Davis, who has known Webb since the two coached Little League games together in Fairfax County.

Webb, an early opponent of the war in Iraq, might make his mark in the Senate in foreign and military affairs. Current and former politicians said they expect him to become the face of the Democratic Party's antiwar movement.

"It will make him a very important person," said former Nebraska senator Bob Kerrey (D), who had urged Webb to run. "If the question is how you structure our military for the future, he is going to come with a lot of knowledge."

Kerrey said Webb will become a magnet for senators who want him to co-sponsor their foreign-policy bills to give them credibility.


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