There was a famous Seattle labor union lawyer named George Vandeveer, who was known as the "Counsel of the Damned”. He made his name during the ruff and tumble times of the Northwest labor movement of the 1930’s. Once he had a client come to him seeking his services over a business partner who had swindled him out of a small sum of money.
Vandeveer ask the man what he like him to do about it. “If I had my way, the man said. I really like to punch him in the nose”! Vandeveer reportedly put on his coat, drove to the guilty man’s office and proceeded to smack the man in the nose. This story was told to me years later to make a point that Vanderveer was a man among men who was revered as a man of few words and direct action on behalf of the downtrodden masses.
The story reminded me of the recent row between George Bush and Senator Elect Jim Webb of Virginia that reportedly took place at a private reception for newly elected members of congress. Apparently Webb did everything he could to avoid Bush until Bush final approached him and ask him “how his son was doing”? The president was apparently referring to the fact that Webb’s son is a Marine in Iraq.
Webb a long time opponent of the war and a decorated former Marine officer himself replied, “that he really wanted to see his son brought back home”. Bush reportedly retorted, “I didn’t ask you that, I asked you how he’s doing”. Webb then said, “that it was between him and his son how he was doing”! Webb would later confessed that he was so angered by the exchange he was tempted to slug Bush in the kisser. But somehow restrained himself.
I believe that many veterans despise Bush for the hypocrisy concerning his own military service and the decisions that have led us into this terrible and un-winnable war in Iraq. One that also has put this countries soldiers in the middle of a civil war and in situations where they cannot really defend themselves. As a former soldier himself, I think Jim Webb feels anger and frustration with the phony straw man president Bush really represents. Then Bush tries to patronize him at the reception using Webb’s son as a ploy for small talk.
Now most presidential yes men, lefty liberal types and new age namby-pambies would take umbrage with the thought that the President of the United States could have his ass kicked by a pissed off former combat Marine who’s marine son had been sent by the same president to fight in war where he’s treated like so much cannon fodder. Not me.
I think it would have been a classic statement from the likes of Jim Webb to smack the President. Webb apparently represents some vestiges of what is means to be a man’s man in this world. More like the George Vanderveer’s types of times gone by.
Forgive me, perhaps it the Irish Catholic in me, but maybe a black eye would wake this president up to the fact that you can’t be a malingering SOB when it your time to serve your nation and then think you have the moral authority to sent young men and women off to die to protect the oil companies or whatever else interest your rich friends because you eventually happen to become president. Or conduct a preemptive war without out a plan to win the peace, based on some twisted and sick ideological poppy cock that won’t ever be able to stand up to the lessons of history when they are finally written about these times.
Webb represents “old school”democrat politicians to me. The one’s my father used to tell me about when I sat at his knee. They weren’t so much the posturing overly image conscious types we see today. Webb and the new senator elect Jon Tester of Montana, the so-called “blue dog” democrats, are more of a throwback to the populist and maverick types of a former democrat party. There is a sort of a honesty to them that says what you see is what you get. Not afraid to be closer to libertarians on social issues and mind their own business on the wedge issues that the Republicans use to divide and conquer us. Men comfortable in their own skins.
No matter what you say, I kind of would of like for Webb to have invited George out back to the rose garden for an after dinner knuckle sandwich, like in a John Wayne movie. Perhaps, it knocks some sense into him. Mounting casualties, loss of the congress, civil war in Iraq, failed diplomacy, neo-cons jumping ship, must I go on. Nothing else has seems to get this president to see the truth.
Webb would become an instant folk hero to many I'm sure of it.