Thursday, October 12, 2006

And so it ends.

Mark Warner's bid for President in 2008, that is. Read his official statement here.

My thoughts:

* He's seen how daunting a run against Hillary has become. Also, with the recent decision by the Democratic Party to move the Nevada caucuses between Iowa and New Hampshire as well as moving up South Carolina's primary, the advantages become rather pronounced for the other prominent Southern "anti-Hillary", John Edwards. Edwards has strong union support, which could be decisive in Nevada, and he's an SC native and won the 2004 primary there. So in addition to the financial considerations, the primary calendar has become less friendly to the Governor.

* A run for an open Senate seat in 2008 looks a lot better these days, as John Warner is likely to retire.

* And there's always the possibility of becoming governor again in 2009, as Tim Kaine will have to step down thanks to Virginia's non-consecutive term limit.

I still think Warner would have made a great candidate in 2008, but he's a smart guy, and he could read the handwriting on the wall. And although the "spend more time with the family" consideration can't be discounted either, even though many a politician has used it as an excuse or a dodge. Nevertheless, either the Senate or Gubernatorial considerations above would position him to run in 2012 if Hillary or the Democratic candidate in 2008 were to go down to defeat.

As for this blog, it goes back into mothballs (where it's been for about a year anyway), and thanks again to all the readers, especially the few of you who may be checking out this post. 2006 is shaping up to be a nice year for the Democrats, and here's hoping 2008 does as well.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Blog on hiatus.

I know I've been posting here with the frequency of Halley's Comet, but that's for several reasons:

1. I don't have too much to add at the moment other than to link to stories about Warner, something that anyone who clicks on the "Warner In The News" link over to the right can do for himself.

2. I'm kind of burned out on politics at the moment - I'm still following things, but I don't have the desire or energy at the moment to pontificate.

3. I've started up another blog, one more enjoyable to me right now, about independent power pop music titled Absolute Powerpop. It's been something of a hit in its first couple of weeks of existence, pulling in about 150-200 visits per day despite not showing up in Google until yesterday. I have no idea what the overlap between those reading this blog and those who have interest in power pop is beyond myself, but if you fall into this category, come on over and check it out. Believe it or not, I've been putting up 4-6 posts per day, complete with legal mp3 links and more, and I even helped "break" a band in the online power pop community.

I'm not giving up this blog for good; if something particularly newsworthy occurs regarding Gov. Warner, I might chime in, and there's a good chance I'll be active again when the primary (and pre-primary) season rolls around, assuming he officially declares (it'd be a real upset if he didn't).

I appreciate all of you who have read the blog, and are still checking it from time to time. Just under three more years to go, folks.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Warner Faces The Nation.

The Governor was on CBS' Face The Nation today, and acquitted himself well. You can read a transcript of his session here (note that this is a PDF document), and see video excerpts from his appearance here (on the right of the page).

He did dodge the question of whether he would have voted for the Iraq war, a bit maddening but probably the right political move at the moment. He did make a point of advising Democrats not to re-fight why we got into the war but to instead press Bush on what he's going to do now. I don't necessarily agree with him on that point, but that is the "centrist" position. Otherwise, it was a recap of many things anyone reading this blog has likely heard before from him (the "Virginia miracle" - although he doesn't call it that, Democrats have to compete in more than 16 states, etc).

Thursday, November 10, 2005

And so the grooming begins...

Although the national media is paying greater attention to Warner's 2008 chances now, most of which is being reported is old hat to us Warner watchers. However, there are some interesting new bits of information coming out, and the most interesting one is this one from a Bloomberg News story (hat tip to The Note for pointing this out):
Warner has been trying to expand his network of Democratic Party and national heavyweights. In May, Democratic elder statesman Vernon Jordan took Warner to the annual Bilderberg Conference, which brings together some of Europe's and North America's leading bankers, economists and government officials. ``He did very well,'' Jordan said.

Fourteen years ago Jordan took another young southern governor to his first Bilderberg Conference. His name was Bill Clinton.
Very interesting.

Now as it turns out, this story was reported by the AP back in May when it occurred. And given the international political and economic elite that gathered, it caught the attention of those obsessed with the Free Masons, who apparently received "leaks" from the conference. Warner's name comes up here:
Jim Tucker said as much in his Bilderberg report in the American Free Press (May 23) when he wrote: "There was some informal discussion of timing for a vote in the United Nations on establishing a direct global tax by imposing a 10-cents-a-barrel levy on oil at the well-head. This is important to the Bilderberg goal of establishing the UN as a formal world government. Such a direct tax on individuals is symbolically important. Bilderberg's global tax proposal has been pending before the UN for three years but the issue has been blacked out by the Bilderberg-controlled US media."

Mark R. Warner, governor of Virginia and a first-time Bilderberg invitee, expressed concern about how much additional financial responsibility the United States would take on as a result. At this point, Jose M. Durao Barroso, president of the European Commission, expressed a view held by many within Bilderberg that the United States does not provide a fair share of economic aid to poor countries. My sources confirm Jim Tucker's report that "Kissinger and David Rockefeller, among other Americans, beamed and nodded approval."
I tell you, Googling Bilderberg takes you through the looking glass into paranoid politics on the Web - I guess it ranks up there with the dread Trilateral Commission. For what it's worth, if you want to buy into the conspiracies, perhaps this means Warner is the Chosen One.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Kaine proves Warner is able.

Tim Kaine's convincing, resounding victory yesterday (do I dare say "landslide"? - after all, the Republicans were claiming Bush's 2-point win last November was a "clear mandate") has propelled the Warner-for-2008 talk into high gear. So much so that Kos' wife has come out for Warner. If you haven't read that Kos post (and the comments), make sure you do so. The comments are especially interesting, with most of the usual anti-Warner complaints (too DLC-ish, not "liberal" enough) being shot down fairly effectively. Warner will never appeal to the far left of the party, but yesterday's results have put him on the map as the clear #2 behind Hillary. Kos himself made the best point of the day:
In short, Warner gave the voters of his state a reason to vote Democratic, rather than vote against Republicans.
All of the things that we've touted about Warner are now reaching a wider (and now more receptive) audience. Warner's been on the radar of the Beltway class for quite a while now, but yesterday's vote has brought him onto the radar of rank-and-file Democrats. Let's not kid ourselves, though - he still has a long way to go to achieve the name recognition of Edwards, Clark, and others who have a national profile, but things could not be going any better for him at this moment.

ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE: I'm going to try and make an effort to start posting a bit more regularly (i.e., not every 5 months or so). However, since my last post I have a new addition to the family (a baby boy), to go with two brothers ages 6 and 3. So it's going to be hit-and-miss. But, to paraphase George H.W. Bush, Message: I'm Alive. And with the Kaine victory serving as rocket fuel to Warner's hopes, things are going to get interesting in the next couple of weeks, media and blogosphere-wise.

Monday, June 20, 2005


Every so often (for some of us more than others), we come across someone else who says something we were trying to say in a much better fashion. The point I was making in my last post (that Warner's recent comments re: the national party were disappointing, especially in a tactical sense) was made more thoughtfully in this contribution to the Draft Mark Warner mailing list by a poster named Debo, which I will reprint in full:
I'm not surprised at the reaction to MW on the MyDD posting. I myself was offended when I read his comments to the LA Times, it was poorly worded and he really shot himself in the foot with that kind of talk . He was right when he implied that you don't win over the center by being a lock step party loyalist, but I'll also add that you don't win your party's nomination by thumbing your nose at its core voters either. Remember John McCain in 2000?

Could it have been his lack of national experience or just a "tell it like it is" moment? In either case, I'd say it hurt more than it helped. Clinton supported the death penalty, welfare reform and a middle class tax cut while being pro-choice, sufficiently pro-gay rights and pro-affirmative action, a mix the party base could tolerate. He didn't even do the Sista Souljah thing until he'd wrapped up the party's nomination. The good thing for Warner is nobody is paying much attention now and maybe it will be forgotten by the fall of 2007, the bad thing his opponents in the 2008 primary will use it against him. Contrast Warner with another strong centrist like Evan Bayh, who in my view is our real opponent. Both are getting favorable press and have cross over appeal. However, Bayh who doesn't wear his "Look..I'm a Democrat too" label, hardly disses Dean or Move On either. He naturally criticizes Bush but at the same time offers friendly advice as to where his party needs to be in 2008. Will this absolutely pay off in the end? I don't know, but I'm not hearing any complaints.

Unlike the GOP, we don't hand over the nomination of our party to some establishment guy cos it happens to be his/her turn. You've got to earn it by fighting for it, something I hope is not lost on any aspiring nominee.

By the way, if you're interested in Warner's potential candidacy, and you haven't already, you should join this group on Yahoo. They're doing more to promote Warner's candidacy than this semi-regular (to put it very charitably) blog.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Oh yeah, he's running.

The recent days have seen sort of a Warner boomlet in the media. First, we had his appearance in California before the LA Times editorial board, in which he attempted to stake out a position as the "conservative Democratic" candidate:
Warner — who is thought to have presidential potential because of his bipartisan accomplishments as a governor in the South — said that his party's positioning on social issues had left rural and small-town voters with a "sense of some Democrats' belittling their lives, their culture and their values."

He said he experienced that sentiment during a trip to California, where he felt that some people were condescending because he came from Virginia.

" 'You little Virginia Democrat, how can you understand the great opportunities we have?' " Warner said in characterizing the attitude he encountered. "I came out saying, 'That's why America hates Democrats.' "
Warner also criticized congressional Democrats for not proposing alternatives to Bush's Social Security and Medicare proposals. On Medicare, he said
"We ought to be more about offering some solutions," he said. "We can't just say 'no.' I don't want cuts, but I do know we've got to change the way we deliver healthcare."
On Social Security, the Times noted:
Still, he said that Democrats sometimes were too wedded to defending the New Deal-era retirement program without considering how it might be improved for current conditions. "The program itself becomes sacrosanct, rather than what the goal ought to be — how do we protect folks in their senior years," he said.

Meanwhile, a story in today's Washington Post reports the following:
Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) is forming a federal political action committee and has hired a former top aide to Vice President Al Gore to advise him on national politics, the governor's top political aide in Virginia said.

The new PAC, which has not been named, will allow Warner to begin raising money for a possible run at the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 while he finishes out his term in Virginia. The PAC will be announced formally in July or August, said Mary A. "Mame" Reiley, the director of Warner's One Virginia PAC.
It's pretty obvious he's going to run.

As for the LA Times comments re: Social Security & Medicare, I'm not sure I completely agree with them. In fact, they sound dangerously close to parroting Republican talking points on the issue with respect to the "where's their plan?" criticism. What needs to be kept in mind here is that Bush has yet to propose a specific plan of his own; he's only talked in vague generalities about what he wants to do. So why should the Democrats negotiate against themselves here, especially as the issue has become a big loser for Bush.

There's a fine line between being a "New Democrat", one willing to seek progressive solutions in innovative ways and not being beholden to traditional Democratic sub-groups on the one hand, and being a Joe Lieberman crypto-Republican on the other. Warner's been dancing on that line a bit too much lately, especially with those they-made-fun-of-me-because-I'm-from-Virginia comments. And if he becomes perceived among Democrats as a Southern Lieberman, his candidacy is going to be over before it starts, because he's not going to win any primaries. I wonder if all of this is an attempt to "out-moderate" Hillary, given her recent nods to the center and the poll last week which showed her running well nationally in mock general election matchups. It's one thing to bash Kerry for not "deviating from the party orthodoxy", but it's another to badmouth Democrats in general.