Deconstructing the Warner Farewell Speech: The Good

Gov. Mark R. Warner gave his swan song to the General Assembly Wednesday, and he sounded the major themes that make it possible for him to leave office with a 70 percent approval rating. The secret to his success is simple: Refusing to allow himself to get sucked into America’s raging culture wars, he has focused steadfastly on core issues of state government. Whether you approve or disapprove of Warner’s record on taxes and spending, you have to give him credit for staying on message with both his rhetoric and his policy initiatives.

I believe together we found that place on the pendulum of public discourse — where most Virginians are. The place I call the Sensible Center. I believe we have been able to set aside some of the conflicts of the past . . . some of the divisiveness of the present . . . and some of the inertia which sometimes paralyzes our public debate. And for a sustained period of time, we have been able to make progress on problems we’d faced for many years.

You can quarrel with his execution if you’d like, as I have on occasion, but his overall vision –of solving problems, increasing government productivity, and creating economic opportunity, especially in Virginia’s hard-luck rural regions — is an undeniable winner.

Other elected officials, pay heed. That’s the winning formula.

Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


One response to “Deconstructing the Warner Farewell Speech: The Good”

  1. The Sensible Center has been little seen this first week of the session.

    The House Republican leadership contrived to have the Privileges and Elections Committee meet the first day of the Session, literally minutes after committee members were appointed, to take up (as the first order of business and number one issue of the 2006 Session) the so-called marriage amendment and the companion bill that will put the amendment on the ballot next fall.

    The Virginia version of the amendment is the broadest of any offered or passed in any state to date. It doesn’t just define marriage. It outlaws civil unions and domestic partnerships which 59% of Virginia voters support. And, it does something else to limit unmarried relationships, but no one knows just what. (In Ohio, the same mystery language has generated dozens of cases in which defendants in domestic violence cases have claimed that it is now unconstitutional to prosecute them for abuse of umarried partners).

    Of course, unless the bills that set the question that will be put to voters are amended, Virginia voters who favor civil unions won’t know that they are voting to ban them. The ballot bill frames the question so vaguely no reasonable person would know what they are voting for beyond defining marriage.

    The House debates the issues tomorrow (despite a long-standing custom of not taking up controversional bills on Fridays). Senate P&E takes the matter up on Tuesday.

    The idea is to jam the marriage amendment through while the press is focused elsewhere so no one can accuse these guys of spending too much time on social issues.

    Of course, they could have used the new House rules to avoid spending any time on this at all. Under the new rule the committee chair could have just pocket vetoed the bill. That would have saved thousands of Virginians the adverse consequences of this ill-conceived piece of reverse social engineering.

Leave a Reply