A while back I was asked in the comments on Brian Pattons blog about why I say Jim Webb quit the Reagan administration as Sec of the Navy and why it was dishonorable. Here is a article from the NY Times 1988 that is worth printing.
The NY Times editorial board on James Webb
It's a fine thing to resign on principle. But James Webb seems to have resigned as Secretary of the Navy on something closer to pique. He failed to get on with his boss, Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci, and left with a gratuitous personal blast. Mr. Webb's departure raises no great debate about the future of the Navy, merely an eyebrow as to whether he was really suited to his office.
Mr. Webb said he had quit because Mr. Carlucci's decision to retire 16 frigates indicated a retreat from the long-term goal of a 600-ship Navy. That's curious, since the number 600 is a slogan, not a strategic concept. In any event, the Navy has modernized most of the fleet in the last decade, and the early retirement of 16 aging frigates is not critical.
Under the budget compromise agreed on last November between the White House and Congress, Mr. Carlucci had to find reductions of $33 billion. He asked the Navy to cut $11.6 billion, but Mr. Webb submitted plans for only $10.7 billion, including cancellation of a Trident submarine, which Congress certainly would not tolerate. Mr. Carlucci, who has to find savings of some $200 billion over the next five years, needed all services to make sizable reductions, not just budgetary odds and ends. Thus he insisted that the Navy decommission the 16 frigates, not mothball them.
Instead Mr. Webb gave him arguments about NATO allies bearing more of the European burden, allowing an expanded Navy to better defend American interests in the Pacific. That's an important issue, but of small relevance to next year's budget. Mr. Webb in any case diverted attention from this debate by decrying Mr. Carlucci's leadership.
The Navy has to repair the appalling damage done by the Walker-Whitworth spy ring, including the enormous strides made by the Soviet Union in quieting its submarines. A relative lack of innovation has left the Navy's next new attack submarine, the Seawolf, with uncomfortably little edge over the present Soviet Akula class. These issues have to be addressed with flat or even declining budgets. Mr. Webb might better have helped the Navy by staying to tackle these daunting problems instead of storming out in a huff.
You will see within this article that the key issue was Webb was unable to make a budget. The last line "Webb might better have helped the Navy by staying to tackle these daunting problems instead of storming out in a huff" says what I have said all along. Jim Webb was not born fighting. He got mad and quit, just like he is mad about the Iraq war and switched parties. Webb is fine as long as he gets his way. If not, he quits. That is not how the Senate works.