#DemDebate: Stick a fork in Jim Webb

jim-webbJim Webb has a lot to offer. It won’t be as a long-shot presidential candidate.

“I know that my time has run out, but in speaking of changing positions and the position on how this debate has occurred is kind of frustrating because unless somebody mentions my name I can’t get into the discussion.”

That was what Webb was reduced to in Tuesday’s CNN Democratic Party presidential debate. Two different times, the former Virginia U.S. senator pleaded with moderator Anderson Cooper for time to be able to say, well, anything.

Both times, Cooper put Webb in his place – if Webb’s place was at Thanksgiving being told to eat at the little kids’ table.

“You agreed to these rules, and you’re wasting time. So if you would finish your answer, we’ll move on,” Cooper said, dismissively, the second time through.

Webb is just as much economic fairness as Bernie Sanders is, with more bona fides on foreign policy than anyone in either party’s nomination field, but you wouldn’t know that after seeing him gasping for air Tuesday night.

Webb got 15:35 of speaking time, a sliver more than half the time that front-runner Hillary Clinton was given to state her case to the voting public.

For all of his strengths on the issues, though, a big part of being presidential is, well, being presidential. Clinton (who had 31:05 of air time) and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (28:05) were able to have the rules bent in their favor because they’re the ones the voters are casting their lots with right now, at least according to the pollsters.

Cooper’s fawning deference to the frontrunners is merely a function of the debate being run by ratings-focused CNN and not whatever C-SPAN is focused on.

Which is to say, get the voters to clamor for more of what you have to say, and voila, you get more opportunity to offer what you have to say.

Chicken or the egg, right? No, it’s not fair, but it’s the way we play politics.

Time to draft Webb for Secretary of Defense.

– Story by Chris Graham

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