Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Warner's Remarks on Iraq at the Asia Society

All the buzz is about Warner’s recent remarks on Iraq at Asia Society in New York. Yikes, where do I even wade into this?

The “funny” part is he didn’t actually say much on the Iraq. In New Hampshire, he recently had remarks that were very similar. I think he is now getting the first taste of just how clear words have to be to convey the proper meaning under the microscope of a Presidential campaign. Not only do they have to be clear, but also limiting, or people run with unintended inferences. There are two parts to his statement, now considered "of interest" in the blogosphere. The first is whether the US should set firm deadlines to get out. As quoted in the Washington Post:

The United States needs to set milestones for progress, not a firm withdrawal date, before it can leave Iraq, Virginia governor and prospective Democratic presidential candidate Mark Warner said on Monday.

"To set an arbitrary deadline or specific date is not appropriate," he said. "... It is incumbent on the president to set milestones for what he believes will be the conclusion." Warner said the debate should focus on how to finish the job; that Sunni Muslims and Iraqis in general should be involved in reconstruction; and that the United States must convince more allies to help.

Speaking to reporters later, he said it was not necessary to increase troop levels in Iraq. "It appears the country's headed in the opposite direction," Warner said. Read more:

Really, this isn’t exactly a controversial position as he falls into the mainstream opinion among policy makers in the Democratic Party.

Right now there are three major camps in the Democratic Party (yes each with nuances). There is a percentage on the anti-war left who knee jerk damn the consequences who want to pull out immediately from Iraq, simply because it is Mr. Bush’s war. If a civil war happens with genocide, or Iran sets up shop, just blame Bush. Then there is the Biden/Hillary club who truly believe pulling out could lead to bloody civil war killing hundred thousands of civilians, and make the situation worse for the US in Middle East. This group believes we need change our current strategy and to try to salvage something before withdraw. Then we have the Murtha faction of former hawks who believes the only way to make progress in Iraq is to pull-out to an over the horizon role and make the Iraq’s stand on their feet. Due to the type of insurgency, the military can only make the situation worse.

On the blogs, the usually reasoned Bull Moose lumps Warner in with Lieberman in a grand coalition of the adults.

Lieberman and Warner are charter members of the bi-partisan Coalition of Adults that realizes that an American defeat in Iraq would be both morally and strategically disastrous. And by refusing to abandon democrats, they are taking the progressive position!
Ouch, the Moose just laid a whooping steaming pile of manure in Warner's “defense.” Warner is adult, but comparing him to Lieberman... What is the Moose trying to do, clear the Democratic field of anyone who remotely might have a chance to beat his old boss McCain?

Moose, does this mean Murtha is in the Coalition of the Adolescents? Hell, I am torn myself. I don’t want American to be the cause of hundreds of thousands of deaths in a civil war, but I don’t believe democracy will ever work in Iraq. Murtha's plan looks better and better, as the only way out to avoid civil war.

Warner could have made huge political capital by becoming the first Presidential hopeful to endorse the Murtha plan. Truthfully, given his lack of foreign policy experience, it would have been a disingenuous purely political move. He is focused on his final months as VA governor and there is no way he has had the opportunity to meet with enough people to make well-informed decisions about Iraq. But silence on any topic isn’t ever granted to the “hot” candidate.

Now to the second and more controversial of Warner’s comments. Just a quick little one-liner that is probably the “right” thing to say, but politically removes a serious weapon in Warner’s arsenal.

"This Democrat doesn't think we need to re-fight how we got into (the Iraq war). I think we need to focus more on how to finish it," Warner said.

Ah, this sends my friend Dan Conley, a former speechwriter for Gov. Wilder D-VA, into fits on his blog. Conley’s argument is that essentially Warner is unilaterally disarming his best weapon in a crowded field of Senators.

On one level his Iraq speech was a failure because it demonstrated Warner to be a poor strategic player, unlikely to break through in a strong field. Perhaps the most potent advantage Warner has in 2008 is his distance from Washington and the 2002 Congressional Iraq War vote. The war vote is a club Warner can pound into Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and John Edwards at will -- if these leaders didn't have the sense to slow down the march to war then, why should we trust them now? You don't even have to be a war opponent to make this argument -- you simply need to argue that these Senators had a Constitutional duty to thoroughly examine all the intelligence to make sure it was solid and they failed. Warner has now unilaterally disarmed on Iraq intelligence by saying we don't need to re-fight how we got into this war. Who's advising him on this nonsense?

His campaign clearly hasn't figured out that the only way for Warner to be nominated is to knock out John Edwards first, then become the electable Hillary alternative. Staking out the middle now, with Hillary already there and Edwards deftly shifting course on Iraq and picking up progressives with his 21st Century war on poverty, is a recipe for finishing behind Edwards in Iowa and dropping out soon after. Read more:

If my memory serves me right, Warner was never opposed in the Democratic two primaries for Senator and Governor. He has only had to run to the center in a general election without having to mollify the base. Conley could be right that Warner is a poor strategic player, but I would limit this to poor primary strategic player as he has shown an enormous amount of savvy in general elections.

While I disagree with Conley that Iraq will still be major issue in 2008, you just can’t tell 3 years out. I think everything will turn domestic in 2008, but Iraq is still going to be a big part of the primary discussion even if not so with the general. I have to concur with Conley, don’t unilaterally disarm two years before the start of primary season. Be bold talking about big ideas/visions, and quiet on specifics related to policies of the day.

Read more!

Lowitt Case

To disclose where I stand on the issue of death penalty (with the exception of treason or terrorism), I would set a very high standard before someone could be given the ultimate irrevocable punishment. Especially given what happened in Illinois where Republican Gov. George Ryan commuted 150 death sentences. His reasoning over "Half of the nearly 300 capital cases in Illinois had been reversed for a new trial or re-sentencing. Now, how many of you people here today that are professionals can call your life a success if you're only 50 percent successful?"

I don't know if Virginia's justice department is inept as Illinois was previously.

To the case at hand, Gov. Warner was asked to commute the sentence to life in prison of Robin Lovitt. Mr. Lovitt was not able to use every option at his disposal in his post-trial defense due to destruction of evidence by a court employee. Lovitt would have been the 1,000th convict put to death since the Supreme Court reaffirms the punishment. Many speculated whether Warner would be politically motivated to deviate from his norm of not granting clemency.

On Tuesday, Warner did grant clemency to Lovitt. From the Governor's statement:


"I believe clemency should only be exercised in the most extraordinary circumstances. Among these are circumstances in which the normal and honored processes of our judicial system do not provide adequate relief - circumstances that, in fact, require executive intervention to reaffirm public confidence in our justice system.

"The Commonwealth is legally obligated to maintain physical evidence until a defendant has exhausted every legal post-trial remedy in the case. However, evidence in Mr. Lovitt's trial was destroyed by a court employee before that process could be completed. I believe the courts have correctly ruled that the law requiring the maintenance of such evidence does not provide relief for a defendant in Mr. Lovitt's circumstances. However, in this case, the actions of an agent of the Commonwealth, in a manner contrary to the express direction of the law, comes at the expense of a defendant facing society's most severe and final sanction. The Commonwealth must ensure that every time this ultimate sanction is carried out, it is done fairly. Read more.
The Washington Post has more:


"OUTGOING VIRGINIA Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) acted rightly and humanely yesterday in granting the clemency request of Robin M. Lovitt. Mr. Lovitt was scheduled today to become the 1,000th convict put to death in the modern era of capital punishment -- a dubious distinction that someone else will soon claim. Mr. Warner had never granted clemency before; there have been 11 executions during his four years in office. But the circumstances of Mr. Lovitt's case demanded action. The governor deserves credit for not letting his presidential ambitions keep him from responding appropriately to the facts." Read more:

To those who would suggest that somehow this makes him more palatable to the left wing of Democratic Party on the issue, I disagree. Warner was in a no-win situation.

Yes, I believe Gov. Warner did the right thing, not because it was an politically expedient option. More importantly, I think he did want he thought was best. Questions of life and death are no easy matter. Unlike Bush who mocked a death penalty inmate, from what I know of Warner he approached the issue with reverence and thoughtful consideration. While I am certainly not a one-issue voter, granting clemency is not an issue a President has to deal with anyway except in the cases of treason and terrorism.

To all those in the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party who loved Bill Clinton, he too supported the death penalty. Remember Clinton who was not going to be out "law and ordered" so much that he "even rushed back to Arkansas during the 1992 campaign to oversee the execution of a mentally-retarded inmate."

Even if I disagree with Warner on several issues, I don't see him as the type to grandstand on an issue he doesn't believe is right.


Read more!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Breaking News on WW - Potential Warner Scandal

Just days after the "Draft" scandal of Democratic Governor and potential 2008 Presidential candidate Bill Richardson, another scandal is engulfing another Democratic Governor and potential 2008 Presidential candidate. Democratic flavor of the month, Gov. Mark Warner is being accused by Republican operatives of faking a second place finish in the Lunenburg County Turkey Shoot in order to inflate his "hunting" savvy.

Professor Larry Sabato of UVA, a respected authority on Virginia politics, said he was stunned by the allegations. "This scandal has the potential to derail Warner's bid for the White House. Warner needs to get out there quickly and put the issue to rest."

The "official" story is as follows:

(In the Virginia campaign) "Warner passed the “gun test” with flying colors. On the campaign trail, Crumley says Warner had no problem convincing hunters that he respected their hobby. In Lunenburg County, in fact, Warner even took second place in a turkey shoot, Crumley recalls. (After he took office, he also appeared on a hunting show on ESPN wearing blaze orange, and shot geese.) Most important, Crumley says, Warner worked the gun vote so relentlessly in 2001 that, in the end, the NRA decided not to officially endorse either candidate — in effect a victory for Warner."
But did Warner really win the Turkey Shoot fairly? Republican operatives are pointing to conspiracy theorists and new evidence to suggest it was an elaborate hoax.

A new home video has emerged of Warner's visit to Lunenburg County. This video is backed up by eyewitness accounts that until now had been dismissed. Interviewed in the Lunenburg Press in 2001, Jimmy "Fatty" Smith had claimed hearing another gunshot from his left across the grass knoll on the fair grounds and roughly forty-five degrees from where Warner was standing. The town drunk, Forrest Lee Dennison, claimed also hearing a second shot and then seeing a Jeep Cherokee SUV speeding off. Even though FL Dennison had found a Wood Brothers cap at the scene, the editor of the Lunenburg Press had dismissed FL and Fatty's claims, because in his words, "either one of them boys would have lied for less than a six pack, even that fancy micro brewed sh-t."

This was until the new evidence emerged last week. Local volunteer firefighter Stanley Lapruder had video taped the 2001 turkey shoot, and was recently rummaging through his closet looking for tapes record over. Rudd, "I found the Turkey tape, just popped it in, and was looking at it. Damn if I didn't see a man with an umbrella open positioned so you couldn't see the grassy knoll. After the shot, he folded the umbrella and then I seen it! Somebody with a gun was scurrying off toward the parking lot. There was no reason for anyone to have an umbrella on a clear day like that. I think he was hiding the real shooter."

In a press conference at the Heritage Foundation on Monday, fellow Herbert Danford laid out the evidence including a Lapruder tape and testimony from experts. Danford said, "Based on the eye witnesses, follow-up interviews and new Lapruder tape, there was no doubt Warner confidant, rural political strategist and avid hunter, Dave "Mudcat" Saunders was the actual shooter. Due to this terrible deception, Warner should immediately resign as Governor of Virginia." One of the "experts" called by the Heritage Foundation, Grover Norquist said, the organizers purposely destroyed the paper bullseye in order to cover up the deceit.

Festival organizers declined to comment. However their lawyer issued a brief statement, "The Annual Turkey Shoot has never had a policy to keep the bullseyes after the judges make a decision." DNC Chairman Howard Dean issued the following statement on the affair, "We do not believe the charges levied at Gov. Warner. Grover Norquist has no qualifications in the forensic field. Watching every episode of CSI does not make him an expert. He should stick to helping the President run up huge deficits."

In independent research, Warnerwatch.com has discovered that several of the Republican operatives claiming foul were in charge of rounding up the rural vote in 2001. Since Democrat Warner won 51% of the rural vote, one Virginia Democrat off record suggested, "they just can't get over the ass whooping they took in 2001 and just earlier this month."

The Warner office has yet to respond to the charges. Mudcat Saunders was available for comment from his Roanoke home on the alleged scandal. On hearing the story, "G-dd-mn it. What the F-ck? Second, second... If I was shooting, h-ll he would have won. You dumb asses in the press better get your f-cking sh-t straight."

Updated post-e-mail check:

Geesh people, of course this is a joke... Is there no humor left in politics?

Read more!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Daily Kos November Straw Poll

Daily Kos is having some fun with an unscientific poll of community members for Democratic Presidential candidates in 2008.

Clark 26%
Feingold 19%
Warner 15%
Edwards 12%
Clinton 6%
No frickin' clue 6%
Richardson 5%
Kerry 2%
Biden 1%
Bayh 1%
Vilsac 0%

Note the last time the "poll" was taken in September, Warner was around 4%.

Read more!

So Far, No Shortage of Warner News

Still a lot of buzz about Warner giving me the opportunity to blog every day. Most of it coming out now is just resuscitations of Warner's bio with the same "Messianic" theme.

Here is another introductory article with very little new from New Jersey's Star Ledger. Of note is the newly "stock" quote of how Warner is good with small groups, but still needs work on the speaking front. I still don't think this works against Warner. In Iowa and New Hampshire, you become the front-runner by how good you are at retail politics. Even with the possible inclusion of two more caucuses before New Hampshire's primary, I am not sure the dynamic changes.
On a personal level, in small groups, Warner is effective. He looks a questioner in the eye. And his answers, while doubtless well-researched, seem conversational, not pulled from a pre-programmed list of stock replies. Loose-limbed and lanky, Warner seems comfortable with himself and his role as the big winner in this year's elections, and at ease with others.

But for all his success in Virginia -- a 74-percent approval rating, highest ever for an end-of-term governor in the Mason-Dixon Poll, and a Best Governed State accolade from Governing Magazine -- Warner needs to sharpen his skills if he's going to make a showing nationally, says Sabato. "He wasn't a good speaker as a candidate in 2001, but he's getting better."

Also another Washington Post article focusing on his New Hampshire trip.


Read more!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Robert Parker Gives Warner a 97

When living in Northern Virginia, I looked forward to every spring and summer to the Virginia wine festivals. Typically held in some expansive field in Loudoun County near horse country, picnic lunches were the norm. Nothing was better (except the mid-Atlantic beer festival) for pure fun with friends. Virginia has a rich wine-making tradition. Even ole Thomas Jefferson in his “Notes on the State of Virginia” compares Virginia wine to French, favorably of course.

So Washington Whispers now writes Warner owns a vineyard… Now I am Impressed! Who knew?

At his farm, Warner grows 15 acres of grapes for nearby Ingleside Vineyards. They use the grapes in Ingleside wines and bottle a private Rappahannock Bend label that Warner offers at charity auctions. "The wines are very good," cheers owner Douglas Flemer, who also manages Warner's vineyard. He says Warner's wine roots could help in 2008. "The fact that he can say he's a grape grower," says Flemer, "could help in places like California." But Warner's team urges that we not take the Jeffersonian winemaker turned president comparison too seriously. "The governor jokes," says aide Ellen Qualls, "that the wine is good for charity auctions, not for drinking."
Governor, how about a bottle next time you are in Chicago?

Also the Washington Post covers Warner’s travels in New Hampshire. Also there is an interesting interview with NH television.

Read more!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Speech at Harvard

An alumnus of the law school, Warner recently visited Harvard to speak to the College Democrats. His former campaign manager, Steve Jarding, also just happens to be a professor there.

Several blogs picked up the response; Forward Together, Progressive Progress, Harvard Democrats Blog and the school paper, The Crimson.

One poster on FT mentions Warner's supposed lack of speaking skills in order to dismiss them.

I know it is fashionable to bash Kerry and mock his Senatorial delivery, but I witnessed him speak to small groups in Iowa several dozen times. Most people never had the chance to see it, but Kerry was very, very good in the small group settings.

I was recently similarly impressed with Warner, as he comes across at the “gut level” as truly genuine with your best interests at heart. These are “golden” characteristics for a politician. He will do very well in an Iowa town hall meeting.

His only issue might be similar to Kerry’s in that "how do you transfer the small group dynamism to media forms?" This is still an open question...

Read more!

Strategic Vision Wisconsin Poll

Warner has started to inch up within pack for the 2008 Presidential contest. Strategic Vision's recent poll of Wisconsin has the Governor moving up. Considering he is with 1% of Kerry and Clark, and 3% of Edwards, plus beating Biden, Vilsak and Bayh... This is a very nice "Kaine" bounce.

Who is your choice for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2008? (Democrats only) Hillary Clinton 31% Al Gore 14% Russ Feingold 13% John Edwards 7% Wesley Clark 5% John Kerry 5% Mark Warner 4% Joseph Biden 3% Tom Vilsak 2% Evan Bayh 2% Ed Rendell 1% Bill Richardson 1% Barbara Boxer 1% Undecided 11%

Hat tip to W2008 on the Forward Together blog.

Read more!

What About Worrying About Us A Little?

2004 was National Security, national security, national security… Kerry seemed to be the obvious choice.

2006 and 08 will be a very different races. Pitifully Senators Kerry and Biden are still out touting their foreign policy experience. If they decide to jumpinto the Presidential campaign with that message, a rude awakening is coming as the American people have moved in a significantly different direction.

The winds are blowing… Our prestige in the world is at a low, our inability to impose democracy in Iraq, and our failure to care for our own in Katrina are swinging the pendulum back to our ever-present isolationist side. This is definitely a good political landscape for a capable proven governor focused on a domestic agenda.

A domestic agendas focus and anti-Washington anger are going to be the predominate themes over the next three years.

Hat tip to Politicalwire.com from the Pew Research Center’s polling:
As the Iraq war has shaken the global outlook of American influentials, it has led to a revival of isolationist sentiment among the general public. Fully 42% of Americans say the United States should "mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own." This is on par with the percentage expressing that view during the mid-1970s, following the Vietnam War, and in the 1990s after the Cold War ended.

The public's overall support for global engagement – which increased in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks – has clearly receded. Just a quarter of the public favors the U.S. being the most active of leading nations, which represents a significant decline compared with October 2001 (33%). The percentage of Americans who agree that the "U.S. should mind its own business internationally" has risen from 30% in 2002 to 42% currently. Isolationist sentiment is growing particularly among Democrats and independents. More than half of Democrats (55%) now say the United States should mind its own business internationally up from 40% in 2002; among independents, 42% express that view now, compared with 27% three years ago.

As to public perceptions of the U.S. global image, two-thirds of Americans (66%) say that the U.S. is less respected than in the past. When asked about possible reasons for global discontent with the U.S., overwhelming percentages of Americans (71%) and opinion leaders (87%) cite the war in Iraq as a major factor.

Read more!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Warner’s Opening?

Politicalwire.com links to a Harris Interactive poll on national politics. While to no one’s surprise Bush’s approval rating continued to drop, Democrats also saw a dip in approval to 25% approval rating. Ouch! This kind of news isn’t good for the bunch of tired retread Democratic Senators looking to run in 2008.

The American people view Democrats and are passing judgment SOSDD (same old shxt different day). They know and dislike the Republicans, but why change one group for the other. They are tired of Democratic milk toast centrism and out of touch liberalism. Americans crave a straight shooter, who even if it is not easy challenges them to aspire again to greatness. BIG IDEAS, “can do” spirit, with an optimism for the future…
However, Democrats also saw "one of the biggest dips in approval" in this poll. "Only a quarter of Americans polled give Democrats a positive rating in the latest poll, compared with 31% in August, while Republicans' approval ratings fell to 27% from 32%."

Read more!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Where's Ross Perot when we need him?

David Walker, the head of the Government Accountability Office in conjunction with the Concord Coalition has been making some noise about the dangerous fiscal irresponsibility of the White House and Republican controlled congress. Even USA Today’s Tuesday front-page article was “Fiscal Hurricane on the Horizon.” On a self-billed Fiscal Wake-Up Tour, this group is traveling the country trying to capture the attention of concern citizens.

Liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, they are trying to be heard above the ka-ching of the cash register as it tallies the cost of government benefits and tax cuts, Iraq and Hurricane Katrina. To raise their profile in recent months, several have traveled together to places such as Richmond, Va., and Minneapolis…

Well, what does this have to do with Warner? Warner is self-made businessman who can speak at length on using bi-partisanship to resolve budget deficits, someone who has spoken strongly on the need to tell people the truth, and who has shown the political will to take action. Yes, the Ross Perot appeal (minus the quirkiness and paranoia) is very strong with Warner. Continuing with the article:
After three decades in the business, Rivlin is frustrated by lawmakers' inaction and blames balanced-budget advocates for not better articulating the problem. "There may be better ways to talk about it," she says. "I sometimes think, Where's Ross Perot when we need him?"

;-)

In many ways, 2008 is going to be closer to 1992. People are sick of worrying about the world. They are going to want a little piece of “Mayberry” and more worrying about us here in the good ole “US of A.” Hey, hopefully those stupid budget charts of Perot’s may be in vogue again…

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Warnerblog.com Speculation by Dan Conley

Dan Conley finds some interesting Warner entanglements on his blog.

When conducting a whois search for the owner of Warnerblog.com, I came across something odd. Not surprisingly, the URL is owned by the Forward Together PAC, Mark Warner's political action committee. But the administrative contact for the site is Sherrod Brown at friendsofcampaign@growohio.org.

Yes, that's the same Rep. Sherrod Brown running for the U.S. Senate in Ohio. His PAC is GrowOhio.org.

Any theories? Perhaps a political consulting firm hired by both candidates mixed up the registration information?

Read more!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Warner's Blog is up!

Lots of discussion going on the blog at Warner’s website. Go check it out. The following is my response to someone who disagreed with Eric’s challenge to the use of the term “sensible center.”

Here is my reply to Sensible Center

Here is what I don't understand about as charged a term as sensible center. I firmly believe Warner has the common sense pragmatism to heal our country, but unless he heals the Democratic Party first he isn't going to get that shot.

The Sensible Center theme plays up the conflict between the DLC and "Daily Kos" wings of the Democratic Party. And it isn't reconcilable with the Governor's statement above.

I am a progressive who believes other progressive will be pragmatic and if given the opportunity to support a centrist will do so, as long as it isn't thrown in their face. They are angry, but they want to win. Mark Warner cannot be president without peeling off a percentage of progressives in the Democratic primary.Centrists have been criticized (some wrongly, some not) for not standing for anything. This is why I believe a centrist like Mark Warner can appeal to enough progressives to heal the party. The rest of the post is here.

Read more!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Rahm Emanuel takes up Warner like Themes

DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel is taking up the "Big Idea" theme that has become so familiar in Warner's stump speech. Emanuel specific "five ideas" in this Time magazine article are very similar to the "imagination capturing" solutions Warner gave when he visited Chicago a couple of weeks ago. Wonder if they are reading from the same playbook?

Congressman Rahm Emanuel of Illinois had a nice moment on Meet the Press about a month ago. He said Democrats would run on their "ideas" in the 2006 congressional elections. "But what are the Democratic ideas?" moderator Tim Russert asked skeptically. Emanuel proceeded to rattle off five big ones, which seemed to shock Congressman Tom Reynolds of New York, his Republican debate opponent. "Those are the first solutions that have come out of (any Democrat's) mouth," Reynolds said.


And the five ideas? education, research & development, energy independence, healthcare, and talk on budget that sounds a lot like what Warner accomplished in Virginia. Specifics of the five ideas here.

Read more!

Mark Warner on Face the Nation - NH Trip

Mark Warner was on “Face the Nation” yesterday to discuss the mid-term elections. I didn’t get a chance to see the show and was wondering if someone could comment on his performance. The transcript looks good other than he mentioned “the sensible center” again. Please Governor banish this term from your vocabulary if you want to win the Democratic primary. More on this later.

See the transcript, here. Also see the recent DLC article called The Sensible Center authored by Warner.

Other News:

Warner was noted as one of the top five governors by Time magazine. Link for the Time article here.

Warner has begun traveling the country to test whether his brand of bipartisan pragmatism has any place in the polarized arena of national politics, saying, "Americans want somebody who is going to be straight with them, even if the truth may not be what they want to hear.”


The Times-Dispatch reports that Warner is making the rounds to New Hampshire. In the Granite state, Warner is meeting with Gov. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire who just happened to be Kerry’s former campaign chair.

Warner also will meet privately with another member of the Kennedy school faculty, former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, a Democrat - perhaps picking up pointers on her state's politics.


Read more!

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Start of Something Big

As the momentum and support builds for a presidential run by Gov. Warner, the nation's major political writers are quickly realizing that they're going to have to get serious about a Warner candidacy. The Washington Post gives the Conventional Wisdom crowd its entree to the situation with this article

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/10/AR2005111002234.html

including a Who's In account of some of the major players who are already moving toward Gov. Warner or are already on board. It's kind of an Inside Baseball account because many of the people are relatively unknown outside the DC cocktail party circuit.

But for those who remember the adrenaline rush when, for example, Gov. Howard Dean's campaign suddenly got very real, when he went from an asterisk to someone who could no longer be ignored, this is all "very deja vu all over again."

Future historians may mark down Tuesday, November 8, 2005 as the de facto beginning of President Warner's charge to the White House.

OH - and make sure to join the Draft Mark Warner Yahoo Group, to keep up with national organizing efforts - or to become a leader in the volunteer movement for Gov. Warner in your state!

Eric Davis
ericd@draftmarkwarner.com

Read more!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

15 Point Swing

Some friends of mine have downplayed Warner's role in helping Kaine. I wanted to point out this Philadelphia Inquirer article discussing Kaine's campaign pre and post-Warner.

On Tuesday night, he was arguably the biggest winner in Virginia's gubernatorial race, even though his name wasn't on the ballot. He is the departing governor - a Democrat with a 70 percent positive rating in a tax-averse, socially conservative "red" state - and he put his popularity on the line to elect a Democratic successor. His guy won big, beating President Bush's guy. Tim Kaine was down by 10 points when Warner stepped in and took a visible role; Kaine won by 5 points.

Read more!

Another Positive Article About Warner

More publicity for Warner… However, I am increasing become leery that this early publicity may not be good in the long-term.

I have concerns that his message is not currently ready for prime time and still being developed. I have concerns that he is going to be pigeon holed into a DLC mold, when he has much more potential. Lastly, I worry once he starts showing up in %'s for Presidential polling, he may get to comfortable with the traditional campaign and not be as willing to take risks. On the flip side, since he will not be Governor in a few months, hopefully he will be on the road extensively to meet people.

However, to those who would argue Warner's coattails did not play a primary reason for Kaine's victory, I will let Kaine's supporters speak for me in this Bloomberg article.

Warner, who got an 80 percent approval rating from Virginia voters in an October Washington Post poll, appeared in television ads and at rallies across the state and helped to raise money for Kaine, his 47-year-old deputy.

Behind the gubernatorial battle between Kaine and Republican Jerry Kilgore, Virginia's former attorney general, were Warner and U.S. Senator George Allen, a Republican and former governor who is also is among his party's potential 2008 presidential candidates. Both men put their political capital on the line. "Governor Warner really gambled everything,''

Brians said. "He was the point man on Tim Kaine's campaign.'' Kaine tied himself as much as possible to Warner, referring to the "Warner-Kaine'' administration, even though the two didn't run as a ticket in 2001.

Kaine supporters didn't waste time at his victory party in Richmond Tuesday night broadcasting what they think the election means.

"I'm looking forward to standing with you at your next victory party,'' Kaine told Warner as the crowd chanted "08, 08, 08.''

Read more!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Virginia Beach? Bush mutters Et tu, Brute and shuffles off…

I talked to my father-in-law in VA several times this week about voting for Kaine (D). His is an independent who really didn't care for the Democrat.

Guess what put him over the top to vote for Kaine? "as far as I was concerned when Bush made his appearance for Kilgore on Monday twas the fateful kiss. The city of Va. Bch. which is normally a Repub. stronghold went Democrat. (will wonders never cease)"

Read more!

Warner Magic?

The Hotline on Call points out that Warner is the only potential 08 candidate who campaigned on behalf of a winner in last night's off year election.

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Obama on Tone, Truth and the Democratic Party

Please, please, please, read Obama’s entire post. Newcomer and progressive Barak Obama has had his “Sister Soulja” moment and at the same time given the Democrats a road map for rebuilding a majority. I post it here, simply because every Warner supporter should be familiar with his argument. Warner cannot win the Democratic primary without some progressive support.

To the Daily Kos Crew:

There is one way, over the long haul, to guarantee the appointment of judges that are sensitive to issues of social justice, and that is to win the right to appoint them by recapturing the presidency and the Senate. And I don't believe we get there by vilifying good allies, with a lifetime record of battling for progressive causes, over one vote or position. I am convinced that, our mutual frustrations and strongly-held beliefs notwithstanding, the strategy driving much of Democratic advocacy, and the tone of much of our rhetoric, is an impediment to creating a workable progressive majority in this country.

According to the storyline that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists - a storyline often reflected in comments on this blog - we are up against a sharply partisan, radically conservative, take-no-prisoners Republican party. They have beaten us twice by energizing their base with red meat rhetoric and single-minded devotion and discipline to their agenda. In order to beat them, it is necessary for Democrats to get some backbone, give as good as they get, brook no compromise, drive out Democrats who are interested in "appeasing" the right wing, and enforce a more clearly progressive agenda. The country, finally knowing what we stand for and seeing a sharp contrast, will rally to our side and thereby usher in a new progressive era. I think this perspective misreads the American people. From traveling throughout Illinois and more recently around the country, I can tell you that Americans are suspicious of labels and suspicious of jargon. They don't think… more here

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Building a Progressive Coalition for Warner in IL

Very cool, some “run” on the Democratic blog of record in Illinois, Archpundit.com about Warner’s recent visit that I attended. Even a quote too... LOL

Entire post here:

Dennison, who is now the VP of the very progressive Democratic Party of Evanston argues Warner is not a choice between progressive and centrist. “Warner is a big ideas guy who would be very hard to define. He reminds me of Clinton. The choice isn’t about the left or right, it is whether Democrats can go to the American people with ideas big enough to capture their imagination.”

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VA Governor's Race - Hillary and Company Notices

Hat Tip to PoliticalWire.com

When Bush entered the fray to campaign on behalf of Kilgore in the Virginia governor’s race, the Washington punditry immediately announced the contest was now Bush versus Warner. Okay, I agree with long time Virginia watcher Dan Conley that yes this is overstating and simplifying the case.

Still yesterday’s win, given that Warner worked so hard to elect Kaine is a huge feather in Warner's cap. And yes, Hillary’s folks should be taking notice.

Here is a NY Daily News report from before the Virginia election.

ARLINGTON, Va. - Hillary Clinton boosters will be watching tomorrow's race for governor in Virginia as the outcome could boost the fortunes of a potential opponent in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, outgoing Virginia Gov. Mark Warner.

And while Clinton's camp has made it clear they are rooting for Kaine, his win will launch term-limited Warner onto the national political stage to join other Democrats vying for the "anti-Hillary" mantle in 2008. "If Kaine wins, it's because of Mark Warner's popularity, and if Kilgore loses, it's because of President Bush's unpopularity," contends University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato.

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Why the Warner Watch?

Admission #1: I am a progressive living in Illinois who until 5 years ago had always lived in a red state, and I like Mark Warner.

If Mark Warner can avoid stupidity of the Daily Kos/DLC feud, I believe he can appeal to a broad range of Democrats and unite our party. Equally I believe he has proven with his common sense non-ideological leadership in Virginia that he can unite a large coalition of the American people to not just win a general election, but heal the country. Am I giving him to much credit for a one-term relatively unknown governor or setting the expectations too high? Maybe, but the potential is there.

And that is what I plan to watch and post about, the nascent Warner campaign for President, as it searches for message, appeal and a chance to be part of the 2008 public debate. I am expecting it to be a fun ride.

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