This morning’s Virginian-Pilot has an editorial about Senator-elect Jim Webb being a no-show at a local event which was planned for Veterans’ Day, Saturday, November 11. Back in August, Webb agreed to appear. The Webb camp claims that they told organizers a month in advance that he might not be able to make it; however the Pilot reports:
Nobody we talked to, including Webb’s stand-in Col. Robertson, remembers getting more than 40 hours notice.
I have no doubt that, in the last month of the campaign, things got crazy. Events beyond November 8 were probably overlooked. And then there was the closeness of the race that factored in. If you recall, Allen did not concede until Thursday. Neither of these are an excuse for the short notice, mind you, just a simple reality.
What got me, though, was part of Webb’s “clarification” which is included in the editorial:
And the logistics involved in getting from Northern Virginia to the event and then back again (four hours drive time each way – there was never an offer by the event’s organizers to fly me there, or otherwise take care of transportation expenses), would have eaten up the entire weekend.
Some things are best left unsaid. That little parenthetical enclosure is one of those things, especially the part about no one offering to fly him there or take care of the expenses. It sounds whiny and petulant. And it sounds as if he’s blaming the event organizers for him not being able to make it.
But the last sentence really takes the cake:
And quite frankly I am rather perplexed that there would not be a greater understanding of the circumstances that caused me to miss it.
These people are not candidates, Mr. Webb. They are ordinary citizens that have absolutely no clue at how much work running for office is. Kinda like you were at the beginning, remember?
The article makes reference to an email from Webb that was read by his surrogate, Col. Clayton Robertson, USMC-Ret., at the event. Perhaps in that email his tone was less accusatory and more contrite. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on that. I presume also that the email is the source of the lame excuse that Webb’s new Senate responsibilities on Veterans’ Day precluded him from attending. According to the editorial, Webb’s staff said that those responsibilities consisted of “a Senate reception and the need to read materials related to his upcoming orientation.”
Whoever wrote this “clarification” has done more damage than good.
Check out Bearing Drift for another take on this.