Warner Enters the National Stage

Not long ago, I called Ellen Qualls, former Gov. Mark Warner’s press secretary, in the hope of living up an interview after he left office. My thought was to do a retrospective on his administration: successes, failures, lessons learned, etc. Naively, I thought it would be easier for the governor to carve out time after he left office than while he was still encumbered with official duties. Not so. If anything, Qualls told me, Warner would be busier. The national press, it seems, is displaying a tremendous amount of interest in Virginia’s ex-Guv.

The national press may be liberal. The national press may, in its heart of hearts, want Hillary Clinton to win the Democratic nomination. But if there’s one thing that the national press loves even more than its liberalism, it’s a good horse race. And right now, Warner is shaping up as the un-Hilllary. If nothing else, Warner promises to make the 2008 election campaign more exciting than a Hillary shoe-in!

An article profiling Warner appeared in the most recent edition of National Review (unfortunately, not available online). Author John J. Miller knocked Warner for unnecessarily raising taxes in 2004 (sound familiar?) but was otherwise fairly sympathetic. He quotes Ed Kilgore of the Democratic Leadership Council as follows:

He’s a brilliant political strategist. He’s like Bill Clinton that way — he’s a better political strategist than any of the people he can hire as consultants.

Miller also noted that Warner managed to pull in $2.5 million in a Forward Together fund raising party, and that he’s hired lefty blogger Jerome Armstrong to contribute to the F.T. website, presumably “a subtle bid to build enthusiasm among the activist segment of the party’s base.”

Ms. Clinton has a lot of baggage — it’s not played up in the national media, but a number of her political cronies are under investigation for scandalous doings, which I’m too weary to recite here. She’s also prone to making extravagant statements, such as the one she made recently in a speech to an African-American audience, comparing the U.S. House of Representatives to a “plantation.” Warner, by contrast, is squeaky clean, and he’s much more temperate in his language. At a minimum, he would run very well in Southern states. If the national media chooses to anoint him as the most credible alternative to Clinton, he has a decent shot at winning the nomination.

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7 responses to “Warner Enters the National Stage”

  1. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Warner wouldn’t run well in Southern States because people confuse him as Southerner. He vetoed a ban on partial birth abortion so he won’t be keen for social conservatives. If he promises (is that a lie if it is an intentionally phoney promise) tax cuts and not to raise taxes as he did here, then he may run well. But, he has to fool people twice. That is Clintonesque.

  2. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Jim, I beg to differ. Running in the Democratic Party primary, Warner would be one of the most conservative candidates (conservative in the sense of not liberal) available. I suspect he would do very well in the South.

    Would he carry a lot of states in a general election? That’s a different question. But I’d wager that he’d carry Virginia!

  3. kingfish Avatar

    Jim- I was actually encouraged for Gov. Warner when Donna Brazile took a cheap shot at him on “This Week” last Sunday. It means the liberal Hillaryites recognize early on that they need to try to diminsh this candidate.

  4. Ray Hyde Avatar

    I’m still looking for a race between Clinton and Rice – wouldn’t that be a doozey?

  5. kingfish Avatar

    Ray- Great theater but probably horrible for the country. It would be yet another race between candidates dwelling on what seperates us rather than one featuring one or more candidate appealing to our common, and best, interests.

  6. Ray Hyde Avatar

    I agree, but think of the Blog Appeal.

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    I agree with kingfish. Hillary’s reaction is one of a classic, “Deer in the headlights”, when she thinks of Mark Warner.

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