JL Rsponds

Major Leggett Responds:

Major Joel Leggett writes from Iraq. One of our co-bloggers here, and a gentleman I greatly respect in spite of our occasional sharp disagreement, I'm posting for him the comment he wished to make:


I saw your post and I had to comment. Unfortunately, there is something wrong with our server and I can’t post these comments on your site. First of all, I must take issue with your characterization of Jim Webb as a “real conservative.” I am curious, is it his threats at economic redistribution that make him conservative? I always believed that the defense of private property and freedom to keep what one earns was one of the more distinguishing characteristics of a real conservative. If that is true then I fail to see how Webb’s threats to make the wealthy pay their share and raise taxes qualify him as a true conservative. Furthermore, it seems to me that you yourself recognized that you don’t agree with him on just about anything. Are you some hard leftist that takes issues with Webb’s conservative positions?

What makes Webb such a great candidate for the Senate? I got it. His willingness to publicly apologize for not voting for a man that not only made his political career by slandering servicemen but continues to insult. Obviously this man is a stalwart conservative. Or better yet, maybe it was his sucking up to Clinton so he could pander to the left in VA for their votes. No, no, here it is. It was his intentional misrepresentation of the reason he quit the Reagan administration when he addressed crowds of Democrats, leading them to believe it was anything but his insistence that the U.S. build MORE battleships. You know what gives him real conservative street cred? The fact that his victory just handed control of the Senate to a party dedicated to cutting and running from Iraq as well as ensuring that only left-wing “Living Constitutionalists” are appointed to the Supreme Court.

From Iraq ,

Thanks Grim.
I have to admit that I haven't heard some of these complaints before, so I'm not sure how to respond to them. The Jim Webb I know is a former Marine who holds a Navy Cross, a former Secretary of the Navy whose reasons for stepping down I had never heard were in dispute, and the author of some books on Scotch-Irish culture that I know Major Leggett admires. He ought to admire them.

I can't bring myself worry too much about what the author of Born Fighting is going to do. Nor is it easy to think of a book that more readily encompasses what I, at least, think of when I think of conservativism -- that's the kind of people the word means. That's the sort of man that conservativism aims to produce. A man who honors those values so highly, and has defended them so fiercely, will do right in the big things even if he makes what I consider to be mistakes in the small ones. I don't have to agree with his every idea to trust him, anymore than I have to agree with the Major on every point to know he is a good man that I could trust with the safety of my family if need be.

(For those of you who haven't read Webb's book, here's a review from Parameters, the journal of the US Army War College. It's the third from the last review on this page.)

Major Leggett and I have obviously encountered different material on the subject of Webb as a Senator. Now, I've made a conscious effort to avoid the negative campaign ads pouring out of Virginia since the summer: about the time that Allen became 'the worst racist ever,' I decided there was little of use apt to come out of the next few months of discussion. I know what kind of a Senator Allen was, because he was my Senator. I had no complaints with him.

I think Webb's the better man. I also believe our system of government is cracking on key fault lines, so that we can't depend on the institutions in the way we have in most of our history. We need honorable men on both sides of the aisle.

I wish to extend my thanks to Major Leggett for his letter, and assure him of my continued respect and good will. I am always sorry to disagree with him, as I know he and I are on the same side on the most important questions. Still, a man must say what he thinks, and I think Webb was the better choice.

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