Former Virginia senator Jim Webb says he is mulling a run for the presidency. There are reasons to doubt his viability — although he was an effective campaigner in 2006. Here are a dozen reasons he should run:


Hillary Clinton addresses a conference at the National Auditorium in Mexico City this month. (Ronaldo Schemidt/Agence-France Presse via Getty Images)
  1. He has no ties to a floundering administration.
  2. He is candid about the faults of the president (and implicitly of Hillary Clinton), removing a big target for the GOP. (“Our foreign policy has become a tangled mess in many cases of what can only be called situational ethics. In the area of international relations, it’s not a healthy thing when the world’s dominant military and economic power has a policy based on vagueness.”)
  3. Dems love a veteran who turns dove. (“John Kerry reporting for duty!” And don’t forget how they swooned over Chuck Hagel.) And he certainly will fulfill the left’s anti-interventionist yearnings. (“[H]e quoted advice he was given while in Beirut in the 1980s to ‘never get involved in a five-sided argument,’ and he cautioned against U.S. forces getting overly involved. ‘We should never become an occupying force in that part of the world,’ he said.”)
  4. He is not overexposed. Nor has he worn out his welcome in the media by decades of drama on the national stage.
  5. He is from a swing state he won before.
  6. With only one term in the Senate, he can play the “maverick” and “outsider” role.
  7. He is smart and knowledgeable enough to challenge Hillary and has nothing to lose politically (he would never be her VP) by going full-throttle.
  8. He opposed the Iraq war in 2002, a litmus test for the left.
  9. Polifact in 2011 looked at his record on Obama’s agenda, finding “Webb and [Harry] Reid were always in his corner.” When it mattered, Webb was there for liberals 87 percent of the time and always when it really mattered:
    • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as health-care reform.
    • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, or stimulus bill.
    • The New START nuclear arms agreement with Russia.
    • The repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” a policy barring openly gay men and women from the military.
    • The DREAM Act, which would grant citizenship to undocumented immigrants who serve in the military or attend college.
    • The deal between Obama and congressional Republicans that extended the Bush-era tax cuts and added some payroll tax reductions.
    • The Supreme Court nominations of Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.
  10. He is not a clueless millionaire. In fact, he strikes a populist tone. Newsweek observed that he expertly “tries to reconnect the Democratic Party to its working-class roots. John Edwards talks about Two Americas; Webb says there are Three Americas — the wealthy 1 percent that owns 53 percent of the stocks; an underclass ‘calcified at the bottom,’ and a large group in the middle getting less than their fair share.”
  11. He is a prolific fiction author. Liberals love that sort of thing, you know.
  12. His vote to repeal don’t ask, don’t tell, opposition to a proposed state ban on gay marriage and support of abortion rights check the boxes on liberals’ social issues.