January 23, 2007
For the second time in as many years, a Virginia Democrat was tapped to deliver the Democratic response to the State of the Union.
It was a short 9 minute speech by the freshman Virginia Senator Jim Webb. After touching on one or two social issues, he hit the highlight of the evening, the War in Iraq.
"This country has patiently endured a mismanaged war for nearly four years," Webb said.
After a beginning that tackled issues like the economy and accomplishments by the Democratically controlled Congress, Senator Jim Webb tackled the biggest issue at hand, the War in Iraq.
"The President took us into this war recklessly. He disregarded warnings. We are now, as a nation, held hostage to the predictable, and predicted, disarray that has followed," he said.
Webb has been an opponent to the war ever since the beginning, even changing parties because of his beliefs. It is those beliefs and personal experiences that Matt Smyth from the UVa Center for Politics thinks made Webb the man for the Dems.
"It is a sign that Democrats are looking to have some credibility with the War in Iraq, Webb having served himself, he has a son serving in Iraq. I think that probably rings true with a lot of viewers out there," Smyth said.
And in the end, Webb says a policy shift towards diplomacy is needed to get the United States out of this war.
"We need a new direction. Not one step back from the war against international terrorism. Not a precipitous withdrawal that ignores the possibility of further chaos but an immediate shift," Webb said.
Besides the obvious difference about the war, Webb talked about an economic imbalance that is causing the middle class to lose their spot at the table. It is an issue that Webb says Democrats are trying to address by raising the minimum wage.