THANK YOU TO THE BLACK WOMEN OF VIRGINIA. The junior senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia, James Webb, is hardly my favorite freshman. (Feminists of my generation find it tough to forget his attack on the women attacked at the Tailhook convention in 1991.) However, there's no denying the effectiveness of his rebuttal to the State of the Union. He kept his message simple and strong, bringing the weight of his family's continuing military history to his reasoned denouncement of the war in Iraq. And his clearly articulated explanation of the economic injustices now endured on some level by most Americans was dead-on. Sticking to these two issues was smart stuff; let the Democratic presidential candidates take note.

We would be remiss, however, to go on lauding Webb's response without expressing heartfelt thanks to the African-American women of Virginia, for it was they who made the difference in Webb's tight contest against the former Senator George Allen (known in some parts as Senator Macacawitz). Normally not a betting woman, I would nonetheless be willing to put money on the assertion that not a few of those African-American female Webb voters pulled the lever for the misogynist former Reagan staffer while holding their noses, and they did so for the good of the nation. For their good deed, the Democrats won control of the Senate.

--Adele M. Stan

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