I just returned from the Old School Barbecue for Jim Webb, held at Chap Peterson's parents' home in Fairfax City. Lowell Feld, at Raising Kaine, has an excellent, in depth report on it. Since I don't believe in repeating what somebody else has already done a great job of reporting, just go over to Raising Kaine for the details.
My perception of Webb is that he continues to be impressive. His speech covered all the bases, including ensuring America's national security, fighting terrorism effectively, finding an effective exit strategy for Iraq, and making sure that we keep well paying jobs in America. After the speeches, when Too Conservative's Vince Harrris questioned Webb about his positions on gay marriage and Roe v Wade, Webb was unequivocal in supporting abortion rights and civil unions. He knew he was speaking to a blogger who didn't agree with him. But he didn't even try to say what he thought Vince wanted to hear. He said straight out what he truly believed.
Webb said that he always supported Roe v. Wade. On civil unions here's a Webb quote (warning, it's not exact because I wasn't taking notes but it's pretty accurate). "I know what religion says about marriage between a man and a woman. I'm a Christian too. But this is a political issue not a religious one. The issue is that the state should not be involved in deciding domestic contracts between individuals."
It's a simple separation of church and state issue. I don't want to put words in Webb's mouth. The following is simply my take on the issue and what I think Webb was getting at. Far be it from anybody to tell any religion or denomination who they should bless with the sanctity of the marriage sacrament. Especially, if it's not my denomination, it's not by business.
But the area of property rights and contracts is the state's business. And the state should not be dictating who may or may not be able to enter into contracts about shared property, medical consent, and other domestic property rights solely based on sexual orientation. That is not the state's business.
Anyway, I admired Webb's forthright expression of his beliefs.
I also have tremendous admiration for both Chap Peterson and Leslie Byrne, who put last year's campaign behind them to unite behind Webb. As both Chap and Leslie pointed out, they showed Virginia how to conduct a primary, differ over issues, fight a hard and fair fight, and still be able to unite afterwards. They were able to do this because they kept it fair, honest and clean. They should be commended.
It was also fun to meet fellow bloggers, Republitarian and Mrs. Republitarian, Too Conservative, and James Martin, of the Virginia Progessive. It was also great to see Not Larry Sabato, an old friend who's done a lot to help promote my blog. And best of all was meeting Raising Kaine's Lowell, whose encouragement was what kept me blogging when I was having computer troubles and almost threw in the towel (he didn't know that part).
Also if you go over to Raising Kaine, there are a bunch of pictures of Webb, Byrne and Peterson, and the last picture is the passel of bloggers. I'm front and center in it - the one with the short blond bob, blue jeans and a wine colored shirt. One look at the photo convinced me it's definitely time to sign up with Weight Watchers before the summer hits officially.