Thursday, January 19, 2006

Ouch! Allen Gets Sacked by Warner for 25 yards

Larry Sabato's UVA Center for Survey Research conducted a Presidential poll of Virginians in the wake of Kaine's victory in November. Pitting Gov. Warner versus Sen. Allen resulted in a rather one-sided result heavily favoring Warner for President.

Warner 49%
Allen 32%
Undecided 20%

When Daily Kos linked to the story, numerous posters said the selfless choice for Warner is to run for Senate in 2006 against Allen. Granted, most likely these posters are supporters of other Presidential candidates, but I think they miss Warner's real appeal as a leader. My tongue-in-cheek response below:

Warner would be a wasted talent in the Senate.

First, he is former CEO, an entrepreneur heart. He is best at focusing on results, creating and selling a vision. The atmosphere in Washington is so poisoned, who could stand two years in the "do nothing, but talk Senate." After all, how would you like to go from hard-charging executive focused on bi-partisanly solving policy issues to reactionary legislator focused solely on scoring political points?

Second, he doesn't have the Senatorial verbosity to play the Senate game well. He isn't well spoken enough for the intellectuals in the Democratic party to like him. How cares if he connects to rural Virginians so well if he can't one-up the Republicans on "Meet the Press?"

Think Bill Clinton / Al Gore 1992... Youth, vision, energy...

Can you image that ticket? And best yet, it gets Obama out of the Senate in 3 years before he can be corrupted into "alternative reality of the Senate!"

If you want to join the discussion on Daily Kos to throw in your two cents, click here.

Besides the poll, Sabato's Crystal Ball website has an excellent round up on the possible Democratic nominees. View the excepts relating to Mark Warner below or click here for the entire post:

And now to the Democrats. The most compelling element of the 2008 contest for the Democrats, in the Crystal Ball's view, will be their burning desire to end GOP control of the White House. George W. Bush's reign will have extended over eight years, but to Democrats, who deeply despise this President, it has already seemed like an eternity. Hatred of a President among party activists can produce wise or unwise outcomes. Democratic true believers may incorrectly think that their fellow citizens fully share their opinion of Bush and will inevitably elect the person they choose as their nominee in order to punish the Republicans for Bush's multitudinous sins. Or Democrats may allow reason to triumph over emotion by picking a nominee who does not fulfill all their liberal fantasies but has a good chance of winning.

Today much of the Washington punditocracy is betting that Democratic ideology will once again trample electability, producing a left-wing or controversial presidential candidate who will elect McCain, Allen, or whoever secures the GOP nod. The Crystal Ball understands this, given the Democratic Party's modern history, but we choose the opposite scenario. We guess that, for once (or more, if you count Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Bill Clinton in 1992), Democrats will select a more moderate, possible winner--perhaps after an early flirtation or two with more ideologically pleasing contenders.

The moderate Democrats have several options, but one now stands out above the rest. Governor Mark Warner has just finished a successful stint in Virginia's top job, having well managed a difficult fiscal situation and also having elected a more liberal successor, Tim Kaine, in a conservative Red State. Warner built an attractive record in a wide variety of areas, from education to mental health to the environment, and he truly made the most of the one four-year term to which Virginia's Constitution still limits its governors, consecutively. Although a certified suburban yuppie, Warner made deep inroads in rural areas by lavishing attention upon rural people and their problems. He adopted NASCAR, country music, and an antipathy to gun control. With roots in Indiana and Connecticut, not just Virginia, Warner has the wealth and the appeal to run an impressive national campaign. Southern Democrats and many DLCers have flocked to him especially in the wake of Warner's 2005 off-year triumph in November. Having praised Caeser, Brutus should note Warner's drawbacks as a presidential candidate. The rich communications mogul has only served a total of four years in public office; he has no foreign policy experience at all; and he famously broke his insistent, George H.W. Bush-like 2001 campaign pledge that he would not raise taxes. Whether Democrats or the country as a whole actually care about any of these sour notes, only the 2008 campaign itself will demonstrate.

Surprise candidates are just as possible on the Democratic side as the Republican. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois would automatically land in the top tier the instant he announced. He says he won't run in '08, and likely he is telling the truth--though the VP slot is a real possibility for this charismatic African-American.

As always, the presidential contest will be decided in November 2008 by the big issues of war and peace, the economy, and scandal. Yet the personalities, characters, and positioning of the candidates loom large as well. Should one party pick a nominee who is manifestly closer to the nation's large moderate, independent pool of voters, that party will be on track to victory--especially if the other party has selected a standard-bearer widely viewed as an ideologue of left or right. The age-old clash of ideology versus electability will be visible on both sides of the partisan divide in 2008. The party that veers nearer to the practical pole of electability will be more
likely to prevail at the voting polls in November.


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