A Time to Fumfer? Webb Wimps Out on VP Question

May 21st, 2008 10:39 AM

As political rituals go, the phony denial of interest in the VP nomination is among the most annoying. So credit Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee for unequivocally stating their willingness to serve as McCain's running mate.

But please, politicians out there, spare us the feeble non-denial denials such as the one Jim Webb offered up on today's Morning Joe. Isn't Webb supposed to be Mr. No-Nonsense Macho Man? After all, he was on the show to tout his new book, A Time to Fight, and to talk up his rough 'n tumble Scots-Irish roots. But judging by his wimpy response to the Veep question, perhaps the book should be renamed A Time to Fumfer. His reply to Mika Brzezinski's question on his interest in the Veep nomination has to go down as one of the lamest of an already-lame genre.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I'm going to start at the top. I'm going to start with the question you were asked at your party the other night, and that is, some say that an Obama-Webb ticket is in the realm of possibilities. If asked, would you accept to be Barack Obama's running-mate?

JIM WEBB: That's just sorta, something that hasn't been discussed, and, um, something that I really haven't focused on that much. Here's a good little data point for you: when speaking of oil going to $130, we should all remember the month that Congress approved this war in Iraq oil was $24.

BRZEZINSKI: Wow. Can you imagine that?

Let's break Webb's statement down.

  • "That's just sorta, something that hasn't been discussed." The question wasn't whether the Obama campaign has discussed it with you. It's whether, if asked, you'd accept.
  • That's "something that I really haven't focused on that much." So you've focused on it. You've even focused on it "much." Just not that much. OK, so what did your much-of-a-focus lead you to conclude?
  • "Here's a good little data point for you: when speaking of oil going to $130, the month that Congress approved this war in Iraq oil was $24." Huh? World's worst segue.

And what about Mika? Instead of posing the obvious follow-up along the lines "so, would that be a yes or a no?" she let herself get distracted by Webb's oil-price non sequitur.