I mentioned this story about Webb's 'affinity' for the Conferdacy, but Fallows thinks it's more about an 'affinity' for being a solider:
"By the way, here is what the inscription at the Confederate Memorial says, in words Webb quoted in his 1990 speech (courtesy of Alex Massie):
"NOT FOR FAME OR REWARD, NOT FOR PLACE OR FOR RANK, NOT LURED BY AMBITION OR GOADED BY NECESSITY, BUT IN SIMPLE OBEDIENCE TO DUTY AS THEY UNDERSTOOD IT, THESE MEN SUFFERED ALL, SACRIFICED ALL, DARED ALL, AND DIED.
"Perhaps this "has the potential" to alienate people? If so, they're not understanding what it says. As Webb put it at the time, "this simple sentence spoke for all soldiers in all wars, men who must always trust their lives to the judgment of their leaders.." The cause of the Confederacy was unjust and deserved defeat. That didn't make all its soldiers bad."
In a way I think that beyond being a foil against McCain, it's this attitude of Webb's that can really benefit the Democratic party. As MY brings up in his latest book, historically (or at least in recent history) the GOP has been the party of defense, and Democrats the party of domestic issues. But I've always felt that the GOP has been the party of the military-industrial complex while the Democrats are the party of the solider (just like they're supposed to be the party of any blue collar worker). Yet somehow that phrasing of the issue has gotten lost in our debate. Webb is just the right man to shift that paradigm.