Warner Faces the Nation

In the wake of Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine’s victory on Tuesday, Governor Mark Warner raised his national profile and stature with an appearance today on the CBS program Face the Nation. Just being the Democratic counterpart to Sen. John McCain, the other FTN guest, gave Warner instant credibility.

Warner looked rested and well-prepared. He said the lesson of the Kaine victory was that “results matter.” He ticked off the accomplishments of his administration: deficits to surplus, education investments resulting in improved performance, and job creation in rural areas. In a subtle dig at President Bush, he restated his view, “In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, results matter.” Later, asked if President Bush’s late visit hurt Jerry Kilgore, Warner noted that he’d take a comparison between national “results” and Virginia “results” anytime.

On presidential aspirations, he said he had not made his decision yet, but he wanted to be part of the debate. He said he wanted Democrats to capture the “sensible center” and indicated that even if Democrats could win the presidency by taking 16 states, he didn’t know if they could govern. He urged a more national appeal by Democrats.

Asked near the end if he would have voted for the Iraq War, Warner ducked the question, suggesting that Democrats should not refight the start of the war, but instead focus on a plan to end it and prepare for future conflicts with a new force structure. He sounded very authoritative in his brief foray into defense policy.

In today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch, Ross Mackenzie said, “Kaine’s victory now positions Warner even more strongly to become Hillary’s No. 2.” Sen. McCain himself said it was “reasonable to assume” that Sen. Clinton would be the Democratic nominee. I think Warner’s performance did nothing to dampen enthusiasm for him as a ticket mate for the New York Senator, but it also helped position him as a very viable potential candidate for the number one slot in his own right. He may be too conservative and cautious for the party’s left wing, however.

Speaking of conservative, some might have smiled when FTN host Bob Schieffer described Governor-elect Kaine as a “conservative Democrat.” Warner described Kaine as being “comfortable in his own skin” and emphasized Kaine’s faith. Warner suggested Democrats needed to comfortable with people in “law firms, board rooms, and county fairs.”

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6 responses to “Warner Faces the Nation”

  1. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Mark Warner would make a very credible candidate for national office — if he could win the Democratic nomination. Given the influence of the Looney Tune Left, I don’t think that’s possible. But strange things do happen in politics. Sometimes it’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time when someone else self-destructs.

    My fantasy scenario (about one in 1,000 odds) would be to see a Mark Warner vs. George Allen match-up — for the presidency!

  2. JamesRiverGOP Avatar

    I saw Warner on FTN. He did a remarkably good job, appearing quite confident. He was especially good at fielding foreign policy questions, shoring himself up in an area he admittedly has little experience. In short, I was rather impressed.

  3. RightDemocrat Avatar

    Here’s a link to the Christian Science Monitor’s take on last Tuesday’s election. Maybe Democrats should give Mark Warner another look as a Presidential contender in 2008. Fiscal responsibility might just be the ticket to Democratic victory.

  4. Salt Lick Avatar

    IIRC, other than Jimmy Carter, the “Looney Left” showed real discipline at the Democratic Convention that nominated Kerry. I was impressed. Likewise, my Democratic activist friends — who I classify as Looney Left, God love ’em — tell me their most important critieria for candidates in 2008 are people who can WIN. They’re starving for a victory.

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    But when to they decide that winning isn’t very helpful if the candidate that wins doesn’t do anything for their agenda. When does the criteria for “winning” mean more than a “D” or an “R” after the name?

    If Bush switched parties, would MoveOn throw one? How does a pro-choice, anti-death-penalty, public-transportation, pro-gun-control democrat feel “good” about Kaine’s victory? Does he feel any better than the typical republican feels about Bloomberg winning (even the media can’t bring themselves to treat Bloomberg as a republican).

    If I really wanted to end the death penalty in Virginia, who could I vote for? The guy who wants to expand it, or the guy who I know agrees with me but promised to do nothing? If I hate the idea of any public money going to private or religious institutions, how do I feel about Kaine’s pre-school plan which calls for $350 million to be funnelled into existing (read private and religious) preschool programs?

    If Kilgore had won, a lot of conservative anti-tax republicans would have cheered the “victory”, all the while heeding the warning of the Club For Growth, and praying that Kilgore would drop his plans for regional referendums. We knew that voting for Kaine would make that fear go away.

    In fact, for a lot of the “fears” of Kilgore, we knew that a vote for Kaine would solve those fears. What “fear” of the democrats for Kilgore (on policy) are alleviated with Kaine? Bad tax cuts? Kaine ran commercials saying he wouldn’t raise taxes, but Kilgore WOULD raise taxes.

    I guess being in power, but not in power, brings you to the point where you get frustrated with your leaders. The minority party is just happy to get a win, no matter what they have to do, or who they have to run, to get one.

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    I saw the Governor on FTN too and was likewise impressed. I think it’s way to early to “give” Hillary the nomination. She is still incredibly divisive and I think that reasonable people will be looking for a candidate who can lead from the ” sensible center” and bring people together, especially after 8 years of W. I actually think Warner’s chances are pretty good.

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