One almost cringes to think what the next Meet the Press debate among senatorial candidates is likely to uncover. Hot on the heels of Bob Casey's mediocre performance against Rick Santorum, an easy target, Jim Webb was left stuttering about sexist comments he published in 1979 and 1997. Worse, his defense today left one wondering if he may still be a sexist (read the transcript, it's not pretty).
Russert's questions hardly came out of left field, since conservative bloggers have been gossiping about the "horny woman's dream" comment for at least two weeks. Webb should have been prepared for the issue, and he should have issued a simple apology, as Allen did for his macaca comment. Democratic blogs could have pressed him on it weeks ago and forced him to tackle it head on. But they didn't and their readers were, quite rightly, stunned as they watched him squirm on national television. The effect was downright eery: What else about this man don't we know?
The implications now are almost funny. Allen is holding ethnic rallies. Will Jim Webb stage a rally with female cadets? Are we to have photo-ops of uniformed women and Webb watching E-Ring together?
The damage is done, Webb can not possibly win and the Democrats will have to move on. Fortunately, Virginia wasn't a toss-up state. But, here's a suggestion for Howard Dean. Call up the candidates in New Jersey, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee today and tell them their campaign funds will be cut if they don't submit to an intensive preparation for Russert before their own nationally televised debates. And, for God's sake, do the homework next time.