October Surprise for Webb?

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If you want an eyebrow-raising experience, go visit Drudge right now.

No links to anything yet, so all I can say is if the story is a fabrication it will go down as one of the dirtiest tricks of all time. If it's true, plenty of people will scratch their heads and say "I thought October suprises were supposed to happen to Republicans."

"Rove you magnificent bastard" indeed.

UPDATE: Now Drudge has a report. My appraisal: Webb wrote the novels to convey reality rather than invent it, so this news would not change my voting decision either way. But that's easy for me to say because I skew libertarian, and I'm voting for George Allen anyway on the basis of trusting him more than Webb to do the right thing on 2nd Amendment and immigration enforcement decisions.

I think a good argument could be made that some aspects of reality, as represented in a couple of Webb's passages, don't need to be conveyed. On that basis one could question Webb's judgment. But I say this without having read the context, ie the rest of the books in question.

UPDATE II: It's still not on the Allen Web site, though. I wonder if they are having second thoughts or just can't figure out how to frame NC-17 prose on a Web site accessible by children.

UPDATE III: Y'know, after reading through the bombshell press release again, I have to wonder if anyone in the Republican party even knows how to pull off a proper October surprise. A couple of Webb's passages are a bit weird to say the least, but some of them don't seem strange at all. I mean, "AMERICAN ASS IS OUR MOST IMPORTANT PRODUCT"?

A few others fall in the same category (not to be reprinted on this wholesome blog, however). Except for bad language, there's nothing particularly scandalous. So what in the heck are they doing here? If you dig up some questionable writings by a political opponent, you make a bigger impact of you don't dilute the message with a bunch of stuff that most people will simply shrug off. Oh well, they're the political geniuses and I'm the one sitting in my pajamas typing.

UPDATE IV: Ok, I read the stuff a third time and never mind the "libertarian" remark above. That one passage from Lost Soldiers is just weird. Why would anyone need to write that?

Jim Webb, what were you thinking?

The Allen team could have simply printed this paragraph in their press release with the question: Does the person who wrote this belong in the U.S. Senate representing the state of Virginia?

A commenter here immediately took the obvious route of claiming it "sleazy" of the Allen campaign to publicize this, and I suspect shortly if not already this charge will resound through the liberal side of the blogosphere. THAT'S going to backfire. They don't want to be putting the word "sleaze" in people's minds while Webb's very questionable little vignette is also fresh in their minds. That is one nasty bit of writing, probably sleazier than many Virginians have seen, and trying to redirect the charge at Allen will not work. The people know sleaze when they see it.

UPDATE V: Heh. That's why they call it "politics," as opposed to "baking cookies."

UPDATE VI: I don't think the everyday lexicon has been augmented this colorfully since, like, 1998. Of course, the certified adult bloggers will get to have a lot more fun with it than we will.

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zimzo said:

Wow, the Allen campaign is pretty sleazy and desperate. I can't wait to see what Allen's ad man will do once he finishes making racist ads for Corker in Tennessee. That you would still even think of voting for Allen after this is just sad.

Jack said:

Well, at least Joe can think.

HA!! Zimzo, you're exasperating but I gotta say, I do love the creativity and tenacity. You just keep bouncing back.

WEBB writes one of the the sickest passages I've ever read in my life - the one that begins "A shirtless man walked toward them along a mud pathway." It has no redeeming value whatsoever and at the same time paints a revolting picture in the reader's mind.

...and ALLEN is the one you call "sleazy."


I have to say, though, unless Allen's team manages to screw this up (I'm not putting it past them), this could evolve into one of the most effective negative ad campaigns. I'm not exactly a man of the people, but from what I know of the people many are going to think Webb is just plain weird for writing this passage.

zimzo said:

What Webb wrote is called a novel, Joe, which is fiction, not a position paper. I know that Republicans have a hard time telling the difference between fiction and reality so that might be why you're having problems grasping this simple fact.

Ok, so when Jim Webb writes about extreme perversion between a parent and child, it's art, whereas his political proposals are listed separately in other documents. Check. Thanks for clearing that up. I shall share this information with my fellow constituents.

zimzo said:

You should really try to read more of these things called novels. They are full of observations author's make that don't represent their political positions. Later in this novel, in fact, comes this passage on pp 335-6 (which Allen and Drudge left out):

"Why did he kiss the little boy's penis?" wondered Dzung.

"I do not know," said Manh.

You'll find if you ever travel to other countries someday that you will probably see some pretty strange things. Actually, I've been to Vietnam a couple times myself and saw a lot of strange things. I just might put them in a book someday. I'll send you a copy.

Jack said:


Did you go to Viet Nam because you are a communist, or did you learn to be a communist while you were there?

charles said:

I don't think the actual passages were part of a "press release".

Allen's campaign has a press release, but it doesn't quote anything, it simply says that Webb's fictional books treat almost all the women poorly, which from my brief reading is true.

Still, it's fiction, so I agree that it doesn't make much of a difference to me, except in the general sense that I tried to read his books (checked them all out of the library) but other than Born Fighting I did not enjoy them, because I don't like the imagery he uses and don't think it's good to pollute the mind with every perversion simply because they exist.

To give a better example, I know terrorists are chopping the heads off innocent people, but I have not watched ANY of those videos, and won't, because I don't want that image in my head.

The list of quotes has been circulating on the web for a long time now, so I don't know why it would be a big deal now simply because Drudge stumbled across them.

The WP said it had seen this list a long time ago, but other than a brief mention in one of their pro-Webb stories didn't think it was interesting, either that a list existed or who made it.

I'm much more interested in Webb having Michael Fox in to distort Allen's position on stem cell research, because that fiction is being passed off as reality.

Thanks, Charles, that's what I was trying to convey.

A Moderate Voice said:

Jim Webb books have been exclaimed by many Republicans to include George Will and John McCain.

I admit I’ve not read the passages Joes speaks of, but I do know that in a book context matters.

Perhaps in context a writer my clearly describe a scene so as to let the readers really understand how opposed he was to what happened.

Context matters, and I don’t think any of us can speak with any amount of authority on this issue until we read the passages in context.

A Moderate Voice said:

Waldo Jaquith also is talking about this on his blog.

From what I understand that in Cambodia a parent putting their child penis in their mouth is an act of affection.

Yes I am totally grossed out by that, but different cultures do different things.

Webb was describing a "warm" moment between father and son in the Cambodian culture, not a sex act.

That's why I say context matter.

zimzo said:

Indeed, this is a cultural difference that Webb was describing, not something from his imagination:


Although our culture does not approve of it and there is no evidence that Webb approves of it, it does exist.

In fact, in Jewish culture mohels do the same thing after circumcision:


Perhaps this is just another example of Allen being anti-Semitic. (How's that for spin?)

Well, maybe the lesson here for all of us is it sometimes takes a good old fashioned p*nis-mouth story to teach us the limits of our own cultural sensitivity. I know I've learned something.

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