Friday, August 14, 2015

"Shirley" you're joking? Jacksonian Jim Webb Channelling Chisholm?

OVERLOOKED: Is fmr. Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia - who has long nagged the Democratic Party for neglecting its once white, working class and Southern base - channelling Shirley Chisholm, the Bed-Stuy congresswoman and first black woman to make a serious bid for the White House?

Stepping up for the Des Moines Register's "political soapbox" at the Iowa State Fair yesterday, Webb fielded a question on campaign finance reform, declaring himself "Unbought & Unbossed" by SuperPACs, mega-donors, etc.  Scroll through to about 13:35 for Webb's answer.

In her trail-blazing 1972 bid, Chisholm - Brooklyn born to Caribbean immigrants - billed herself by that same tagline: "Unbought & Unbossed."

A curious choice, considering how the self-described Jacksonian Democrat is facing the party's "break up" with its Jefferson-Jackson Day rubber chicken dinners thrown by county and state affiliates, a nod to its base that's been diversifying for decades.

Curious, too, considering that in this year of #BlackLivesMatter dominating the discourse in Democratic presidential politics, that Webb, in keeping with his affinity for Southerners of Scotch-Irish descent, has offered a nuanced view on recent efforts to furl the Confederate battle flag.

(Nuanced it should be, as the South's bastions of Unionist, anti-Confederate sentiment during the Civil War were were Scotch-Irish mountain folk who dominated in East Tennessee, West Virginia and NW Arkansas, for instance.)

Resurrecting this memorable slogan offers up a chance to plug this fascinating documentary telling the tale of Chisholm's insurgent bid from PBS' POV, circa 2004.  Check out the doc's trailer here: