Webb, Slammed Over His Past Writings In ’06, Says McDonnell Thesis Fair Game


Sen. Jim Webb (D) knows better than most that what you put on paper can come back to haunt you in Virginia politics. But three years after his past writings were used against him (he says unfairly) in his Senate race, Webb backed the attacks on GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell’s 1989 master’s thesis.

From Webb’s interview with The Hill over the weekend:

“They were taking small excerpts from novels and attempting to use them to characterize me,” he said of [GOP Sen. George] Allen’s campaign, contrasting it with what [Creigh] Deeds has done. “And I think that was totally distinct from what we’re talking about with respect to this situation.”

In ’06, Webb was attacked for magazine articles and passages from his novels critics said showed Webb’s misogynistic streak. Their evidence? In one article from 1979, he wrote that women should not be allowed to serve in the military. And his novels (about his experiences serving in the Vietnam War) contained racy sex scenes the GOP splashed across mailings with relish.

Webb says those old writings were mischaracterized. But he says the talk of McDonnell’s thesis is spot-on.

Webb, on McDonnell’s thesis: What McDonnell wrote was essentially a political manifesto that he wrote two years before running for office. It’s directly relevant to what his philosophy is in terms of governance.”

On ’06: “What they did in my situation was basically character assassination. I’m very proud of my literary career.”

The McDonnell camp disagrees.

“That’s exactly what Democrats are doing to Bob’s thesis,” said McDonnell spokeswoman Stacey Johnson. “They are taking a few paragraphs out of a 93-page academic exercise totally out of context.”