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I guess it's for real

Hugh Hewitt links to a Washington Times article on James Webb's decision to try for the Democratic nomination in Virginia to challenge George Allen this fall. Hewitt, Jack Kelly and Mack Owens (to both of whom Hewitt has links) both seem to think that Webb will make short work of his primary opponent, lobbyist and former Congressional aide Harris Miller, and then give Allen a good tussle in the fall. Owens' piece is especially interesting for its look at why someone like Webb, who was Secretary of the Navy under Reagan, would change parties. It makes for interesting reading, and resonates with this essay on Mudcat Saunders that indicates how shallow the roots of Red State Republicanism might actually be. Polls right now show Allen handily defeating whoever wins the Democratic primary, but if he keeps traipsing off to New Hampshire people might start wondering if he's worth the vote.

In fact, if I were Webb, I'd be getting Saunders on the phone about ten minutes ago, because they're birds of a feather, not that I think Webb needs any help rallying populist Republicans and conservative Democrats to his side. Question is, can he also pull enough of the notoriously liberal Northern Virginia Democrats to win? Virginia has open primaries, so it's not like Webb has to suck up to the party bosses, but the whole dynamic of the primary is going to be very weird.

The big question, of course, is what Webb's going to do with himself if he does in fact defeat Allen. Webb's opposition to the Iraq War is for very different reasons than those trotted out by Kerry, Kennedy and Dean, and I daresay he's going to be about as well-liked among the Kossacks as Joe Lieberman or Zell Miller, since he's no kind of a socialist. He might well find himself in the same odd position as Lincoln Chafee and Olympia Snowe - someone who has litle in common with the rest of their caucus except for which side of the chamber they're sitting on.