Former Virginia senator Jim Webb announced last night the formation of a presidential exploratory committee. Webb, a contributor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD, made the announcement in a lengthy YouTube video posted on his website:
Interestingly, not once does Webb say which party primary he'll run in. But he served as a Democrat while in the Senate, so it's likely he'd run for that party's presidential nomination.
Yet Webb, in his announcement video, knocks his own party: "The Democratic Party used to be the place where people like these could come not for a handout but for an honest handshake, good full-time jobs, quality education, health care they can afford, and the vital, overriding belief that we’re all in this together and the system is not rigged."
Here's the full announcement statement: "I'm Jim Webb. I’d like to take a few minutes of your time to ask you to consider the most important question facing America today: Is it possible that our next President could actually lay out a vision for the country, and create an environment where leaders from both parties and from all philosophies would feel compelled to work together for the good of the country, despite all of the money and political pressure that now demands they disagree?
"As one who spent four years in the Reagan Administration but who served in the Senate as a Democrat, I believe it is possible. It is also necessary. We desperately need to fix our country, and to reinforce the values that have sustained us, many of which have fallen by the wayside in the nasty debates of the last several years. I hope you will consider joining me in that effort.
"Over the past few months thousands of concerned Americans from across the political spectrum have urged me to run for President. A constant theme runs through these requests. Americans want positive, visionary leadership that they can trust, at a time when our country is facing historic challenges. They’re worried about the state of our economy, the fairness of our complicated multicultural society, the manner in which we are addressing foreign policy and national security challenges, and the divisive, paralyzed nature of our government itself. They’re worried about the future. They want solutions, not rhetoric.
"I share every one of these concerns.
"I have proudly spent several periods in government but I’m not a career politician. I come from a family of “citizen soldiers.” My father served 26 years in the Air Force as a pilot and a pioneer in our missile programs. I learned early about the sacrifices a family makes when a member is repeatedly deployed, and also the fulfillment that comes from serving our country. My brother, my son and I all became Marines. I fought as an infantry Marine on one of the Vietnam War’s harshest battlefields. After leaving the Marine Corps I studied law and found a fulfilling career as an author and journalist. But again and again I came back to the personal fulfillment that can only come from public service.
"I spent eight years on active duty in the military, four years as a committee counsel in the Congress working to help our veterans, five years in the Pentagon, one as a Marine and four as assistant secretary of defense and Secretary of the Navy. And I spent six years as a member of the United States Senate. Each time I served not with the expectation of making government a career, but to contribute to the good of the country during a period of crisis or great change.
"In that spirit I have decided to launch an Exploratory Committee to examine whether I should run for President in 2016. I made this decision after reflecting on numerous political commentaries and listening to many knowledgeable people. I look forward to listening and talking with more people in the coming months as I decide whether or not to run.
"A strong majority of Americans agree that we are at a serious crossroads. In my view the solutions are not simply political, but those of leadership. I learned long ago on the battlefields of Vietnam that in a crisis, there is no substitute for clear-eyed leadership. We are the greatest country on earth, overflowing with innovative thinkers. We need bold leadership that can tap into this talent, for the good of the country. We need people who will put the well-being of all of our citizens ahead of any special interest group, and who understand how to manage our complex federal system of government.