BREAKING: Democratic Candidate Reads Long Document, Reflects, Comments

Who knew?

Jim Webb / AP
July 15, 2015

Well, here’s something you don't hear every day. Jim Webb, the author and former senator from Virginia currently running for the Democratic presidential nomination, was on the Diane Rehm Show today. I know this because my wife, a typical NPR liberal, listens to the program every day and told me about it. What she heard impressed her very much.

Asked about the Iranian nuclear deal announced yesterday, Webb said:

At this point I would be very skeptical if I were still in the Senate.… As I am reading through the documents I say to myself, ‘What does Iran get of this?’ They get a lot out of this. They get immediate lifting of sanctions. After a period of about ten years they are going to be able to say that they can move forward with a nuclear weapons policy with our acceptance.… We are moving the cart before the horse in terms of improving relations with Iran. If you look at what’s happened in the region since the Iraq war, Iran’s position has become more powerful. We have to be very careful about the signals we’re sending into the region about what level we are accepting this change in the balance of power among Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

What caught her attention was not his skepticism, but the fact that he mentioned "reading." Both of us were unaware that elected officials, former or otherwise, ever did this sort of thing—sit down, read a 159-page document, think about it carefully, and speak in measured, intelligent words about its implications.

Small victories.