Michael Gerson takes Virginia’s wordsmith Senator Jim Webb out behind the shed over his democrat rebuttal speech last night:
The Democratic response by Virginia Sen. James Webb was also memorable, in a different way. Whenever a politician puts out to the media that he has thrown away the speechwriters’ draft and written the remarks himself (as Webb did), it is often a sign of approaching mediocrity. This was worse. Senator Webb made liberal use of clichés: the middle class is “the backbone” of the country, which is losing its “place at the table.” I am not even sure there is a literary term for a mixed metaphor that crosses two clichés. And Senator Webb’s logic was as incoherent as his language (the two are often related). No “precipitous withdrawal”—but retreat “in short order.” Fight the war on terror vigorously—except where the terrorists have chosen to fight it. It is, perhaps, a good thing that James Webb earned a job as senator. As a speechwriter he would starve.
But Joshua Stanton supplies the rebuttal speech Jim Webb should have given.
My fellow Americans, We have have a long and glorious history that I join you in celebrating here tonight. Let me share with you this deguerrotype of my great great great great grandfather, a penniless drunkard and street-corner pugilist who sat in a Dublin jail, until he was paroled and came to Virginia in 1724, just in time to join in the massacre of the peaceful Massapequasimolie Indians. I would hope you draw strength from this tomorrow when you return to your janitorial duties, brooding about the hour when you will rise up against the robber barons of the beef trust, but none of you are likely to have understood those historical references anyway.
But let me get to the real reason we are here, besides your mandate to disband the Mark Foley Man-Boy Love Association: to change course in Iraq. I know a lot about changing course because I was the Navy Secretary in my young Republican days, when I was one of the people my most enthusiastic supporters would ordinarily revile.