If the Super Bowl is any indication of current American sensibilities, and it should be, America divides East and West today across the Mississippi, held together, at least till the lights go out, by the celestial light in between that is New Orleans. But the ads — the purest poetry of democratic capitalism — send a judicious warning: Mercedes pitches its new model with the anthem of a self-styled “street fighting man” who called for “Sympathy for the Devil” back in 1968. While Dodge truckers opine with Paul Harvey, very popular as well in 1968, in a whimsical heart-felt ode to the 19th century farmer, Mercedes-driving liberals, and pretend conservative agrarians, are products today of Wall Street-marketed nostalgia. America is clearly at a turnstile and facing fully new paradigms ahead, but the times haven’t turned yet. Whoever turns first will take the century. President Obama today has the opportunity if he ditches Chuck HagelChuck HagelThe 13-year wait for 2 widows and a congressman comes to an end Petraeus doubts Syria can be put back together again Obama’s unsettled legacy on Iraq and Afghanistan MORE and brings in Jim Webb for secretary of Defense.
The one Vietnam veteran distinguished in battle, who does not parade himself as a dissident Rambo or Reagan nostalgico, intent on winding the clock back to imagined victory, is Jim Webb, until recently a Democratic senator from Virginia. He was as well the one who was right on the invasion of Iraq while Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonJimmy Fallon's 'Trump' calls 'Obama' after Indiana win Tech groups push candidates on trade, immigration policy Sanders: I'll stay in 'until the last vote is counted' MORE, Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Trail 2016: And then there was one Biden to make first WHCD appearance: report If you’re going to meet with Merrick Garland MORE and John KerryJohn KerryTrump's VP: Top 10 contenders Peace equality and stability for religious minorities Kerry hopes to salvage frayed Syrian peace MORE appeased the apparent Cheney/Bush Decepticons. A year after the invasion, Kerry, Clinton and Biden, along with conservative columnists George Will and David Brooks, would opine, “I don’t think anyone could have imagined it would have turned out like this.” Webb did. Wes Clark did. Gary Hart did. Larry Wilkerson, former chief for Colin Powell, did. Three of these men have “been to the front and seen men die.” Any would be a substantive choice for Defense.
Clark and Webb railed against Cheney/Bush at every turn, presented mature opposition and came up with a better plan. This is still, for history’s sake, a position that needs to be vindicated. Webb, secretary of the Navy under Reagan, would be the ideal candidate to do this and to advance a new future for defense on an East/West paradigm. Back in action, he would also be the perfect candidate for vice president in 2016 with Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenClinton slams Trump, but stops short of calling him racist or sexist Kasich paints himself as 'our only hope' in 'Star Wars'-themed ad White House weighs overtime rule changes MORE, which would allow the Dems to build again, not from ’60s nostalgia, but from original new strengths.
Obama, unlike most presidents and contenders, is a study in light and dark. He has at hand those who could build a new party to fit the contours of the rising times. Coming first to mind: Warren, Webb, Mark WarnerMark WarnerTurf battle erupts over hot cyber issue Housing groups argue Freddie Mac's loss should spur finance reform Week ahead: Rival encryption efforts clash on Capitol Hill MORE, Erskine Bowles, Wes Clark, Brian Schweitzer and Jon TesterJon TesterElizabeth Warren stumps, raises funds for Duckworth Senators subpoena EPA officials over mine waste spill The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE. Then instead he reaches into the shadow and comes up with Samantha PowerSamantha PowerObama’s Iran playbook gives hope to Darfur Vehicle in UN ambassador's convoy kills boy Overnight Defense: Russia withdrawing troops from Syria MORE, Susan Rice or Hillary Clinton. Hagel is another from the dangerous and dark wing of nostalgia.