Because of his hesitation and mistakes, President Trump will have a brutal fight over the near future just to survive his term. The "original sin" of the Trump Administration, as Steve Bannon put it, was welcoming the GOP Establishment, which then forced the president into spending his political capital on conventional policies that the voters had just rejected. It also explains much of the hesitation on immigration.
Yet it also affects foreign policy. As it stands, President Trump obviously wants to pull out of Syria and perhaps Afghanistan, but is trapped by GOP opposition in the Senate and the defection of former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
Personnel is policy, and the president needs people who will actually support his policies, as General Mattis was gracious and honest enough to admit. For that reason, many Trump supporters want James Webb, who is eminently qualified for the job.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' resignation has many in the establishment wing of the GOP worried, but Trump’s base is celebrating the possibility that he could pick a successor more aligned to his non-interventionist foreign policy. There’s no man more qualified or better suited for that job than former Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va...
Webb, the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate and former secretary of the Navy, fits that mold, sharing many of Trump’s views on foreign policy. Webb, like Trump, was a critic of neoconservative foreign policy including the Iraq War and he vehemently disagreed with former President Barack Obama’s decision to intervene in Libya and Syria...
Despite his cautious position on American imperialism, Webb could not be defined as a peacenik. He’s opposed to slashing defense spending and has voiced concerned about America keeping its technological and military advantage in the world.
The former Virginia senator is also in agreement with Trump that China poses an existential threat to the United States as the world’s lone superpower. Trump has been ramping up efforts on China by imposing crippling tariffs and attempting to curb tech exports to the Communist country. During a 2016 Democratic presidential debate, Webb said that America must stand up to China in the South China Sea.
[Trump's base would love to have Jim Webb as Defense secretary, by Ryan Girdusky, Washington Examiner, December 31, 2018]
As a Democratic Senator from Virginia, Webb was something of a disappointment. Despite his new ideas and compelling background, his voters were very conventional. When he ran for president, he could never quite break out from the field, as a straight, white male Marine veteran who once worked for Reagan is out of step with the Brave New Democrats. He can never compete in the Oppression Olympics the same way a Kamala Harris could. Although he is familiar with the arguments against mass immigration, he also voted very poorly on immigration issues [What the hell happened to Jim Webb? by W. James Antle III, Takimag, March 17, 2008]
Still, as Defense Secretary, he would not be voting on immigration. Also, as part of the Trump Administration, Jim Webb would not be held hostage by a party increasingly defined by its hatred of people like him. His foreign policy views are obviously closer to the president than were the views of Mattis. Perhaps most importantly, it would be a real effort by President Trump to reach out to working-class Democrats and start rebuilding the populist coalition that delivered him victory in 2016.
If President Trump picks yet another GOP goober, he shouldn’t act surprised when the Commander-in-Chief is once again betrayed.