Jim Webb is mercifully out of the Democratic presidential race. Thank goodness. Not sure I could have handled another debate with him whining about talk time. This guy got 15 minutes to share why he’s running in a two-hour debate with four other candidates on the stage. Meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) made the most of the 11 minutes he got to talk in the three-hour CNN extravaganza with 14 other Republican presidential candidates around him at the Reagan Presidential Library last month. Clearly, a more efficient and successful effort, since the freshman senator was a standout that night.
But I’m not here to stomp on Webb’s political grave. No, my purpose is to talk up Larry Lessig. The Democratic Party should make sure he’s at the next debate.
Yeah, yeah, I know what I said last week. That no one should support his Democratic presidential bid because he promised to resign after passing a much-needed campaign finance reform package. That such a pledge neutered his ability to be an effective chief executive and would make his vice presidential choice a powerful president-in-waiting.
Everything changed last Friday when he was asked about his resignation pledge during an appearance on “Real Time With Bill Maher” on HBO. “Yeah, that was stupid,” Lessig said to laughter. “That was totally stupid.” And then the Harvard law professor explained why he backed off.
….[E]very time I get on a show and you’ve got four minutes to talk about something, the whole focus would be, “Geez, you’re going to resign, you’re going to resign.” And, I’d be, like, no, what I want to do is pass the most important democracy legislation that we’ve seen in 50 years! That’s what I want to do. And then resign.
And…so, people are obsessed with that. So, here’s the thing: Democratic Party said, “We can’t take you seriously, because you’re going to resign.” So, here’s the thing: my – like my – like my daughter would say, “Fine! You win!” I withdraw that promise. I’m not going to resign. I’m running for president.
I’m running for president with a commitment that we’re going to pass the legislation that gets us a democracy back. And, then once we pass that legislation, then there’s all the issues, the wonderful things that Bernie [Sanders] is talking about, everybody on that stage – well, three, two, maybe – on that stage in that Democratic debate, were talking about – we would have a chance to get that done if we actually had a representative democracy again. And that’s what I’m fighting for.
The latest poll from Monmouth University puts support for Lessig at 1 percent. That is the same amount of support for the departed Webb. And that’s more than former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island governor and senator Lincoln Chafee have.
Given their standing, if O’Malley, Chafee and Webb could secure a spot at last week’s Las Vegas debate, then Lessig should be on the stage at the next debate on Nov. 6 in South Carolina. People will have a reason to listen to him now that he has backed off his irresponsible pledge to be a single-issue president who wouldn’t stick around for a full term.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj