For the political smart people that choose their party’s best presidential candidates, I have this advice: Jim Webb for President!

President Bush did a pretty good job in his State of the Union. But Senator Webb did a superb job in his State of the Union response. It was delivered in passionate, clear spoken English. He focused on two simple issues – the war in Iraq and economic inequality. And unlike some of his party’s leaders, there was little doubt where he stood on those issues. For the purpose of “getting the Democrat message out,” he succeeded.

Ironically, after I suggested in a recent posting that President Bush should invoke the spirit and tone of Ronald Reagan, Jim Webb seemed to take it to heart. After all, he was the Secretary of the Navy under Reagan, so perhaps it was by design either consciously or unconsciously.

Reagan Democrat? I don’t know about that – but he certainly took a page from the old playbook. He came across as a warrior for the middle-class and vowed to take action.

In full disclosure, I am hopeful that Gen Petraeus is finally the correct answer in Iraq and I support giving him the opportunity to see if he can deliver on it. And in confirming him this week, the Democrats have taken that position as well whether they like it or not.

I also don’t agree with passing a resolution against the war in Iraq with troops on the way into battle. I think if the Democrats’ position is to end the war, then stop funding it. But don’t put additional stress on the minds of the brave men and women who are charged with carrying out the orders.

Webb’s punch line of the speech had a different effect on the debate because of the undeniable credentials that he brings to the table: He was a Marine in Vietnam and now his son is a Marine in the infantry in Iraq.

When he said that the President “took us into this war recklessly,” he backed it up by suggesting that President Bush ignored the warnings of very qualified advice. And whether you agree or disagree, when tough talk like that comes from a recipient of the Navy Cross, a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts – it cannot be dismissed out of hand.

Sen. John McCain is the only other member of Congress who can make a similar claim. And for the sake of the debate, he is on the other side of the argument.

So whatever happens in the coming months, at least Sen. Webb has the good sense not to tell a bunch of college kids that they’ll get “stuck in Iraq” if they don’t study hard.

Hillary? Obama? Are you listening? Does anyone hear “Veep?”

I can be reached for questions or comments at Griffsnotes@foxnews.com.