Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Warner v. Edwards

Dan Conley who worked for Edwards in Iowa during the last campaign blogs the following strategic problem for Warner.

To win the nomination, Warner cannot just focus on Hillary Clinton, he must first knock John Edwards out. Possible? Sure ... the Pittsburgh Steelers won on the road three times this year to make the Super Bowl. But does that make Warner smart money? Where will Warner knock Edwards out of the race, in Iowa, where he was arguably the strongest candidate down the stretch in 2004? In New Hampshire, where Warner's tax history will come under significant scrutiny? Or how about Edwards' birth state, South Carolina? Warner's lack of a southern accent may prove a liability against Edwards who knows how to turn on the drawl for effect better than any politician since Bill Clinton.

Given all this, how can anyone conclude at this moment that the odds of Warner attaining a double knockout of Edwards and Clinton is more likely than an underachieving Warner campaign feeding an Edwards knock out of Clinton? Read entire blog.

I would agree with his assessment of Edwards as a primary challenger as I don't see Bayh or Vilsack being strong challengers. Warner will have to knock out Edwards to bring the race down to a two-person race with Hillary. It either has to be Iowa or New Hampshire although unlike Conley, I don't think the tax increase will hurt in NH and Edwards 2004 performance is not predictive of his 2008 performance.

Read more!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Warner Poaching Clinton Advisors


While other contenders are tied down in the Senate or in various statehouses, Mr. Warner plans to spend the next couple of years barnstorming across the country, honing his political skills and lining up possible donors for a presidential bid. Even on Mrs. Clinton's home turf of New York, he's already won a few converts.

"He seems to approach problems with a very systematic, thoughtful, businesslike kind of approach," a Manhattan investment banker who went to college in Virginia, Patricia Caldwell, said in an interview. She said Mr.Warner recently visited Manhattan law firms and a large hedge fund, Cerberus Capital Management. "He's making the rounds in New York," she said.

Asked about Mrs. Clinton's chances, Ms. Caldwell said, "She polarizes people. I don't know why. People seem to dislike her without any reason...I think that problem is something she's going to have to address."

Ms. Caldwell said she thinks Democrats would do better nationally with Mr. Warner. "He's a Democrat flourishing in a Republican state. Personally, that sounds like someone who's electable," she said.

Read more!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Campaign Starts Now

The USA today has an article called "White House hopefuls, activists are stirring" pointed to the rise of activity already occuring this early for the 2008 election. One of the primary issues Warner will have to face is the day the horde of Senators roll over their federal campaign war chests with millions of dollars into their presidential campaigns.

Clinton has raised $33.3 million for her 2006 Senate race. Todd says that puts her on track to reach $70 million to $100 million by November. Because congressional candidates are allowed to transfer money to White House bids, Todd estimates Clinton could start her presidential run with an instant $50 million.

When Kerry used $3 million from his 2002 Senate race to run for president, that was considered impressive, Todd says. "Now (Indiana Sen.) Evan Bayh is going to carry over $10 million, and everybody's going to say, 'It ain't $50 million.'"

This puts Warner in a position of having to jump out early and start taking "lumps" while the Senators raise money for their presidential runs while just "exploring" a bid.

The article also makes mention of one of Warner's best laugh lines.

Everyone is trying out well-worn material before new audiences. Then-Virginia governor Mark Warner drew laughs and praise for his response to a ringing cellphone during a speech in November to New Hampshire Democrats. He told them, as he has told hundreds of groups for years, that he was a founder of cellular technology and when he hears a cellphone ring, "I just think ka-ching, ka-ching."

Within the article, they also have a slide show of potential candidates. Warner's bio reads as follows:

Former Virginia Governor


Personal: Millionaire cellphone entrepreneur won rural votes by promising jobs and gun rights.

Assets: Overwhelmingly popular in his red state--- even after raising taxes

Questions: Can business and political success offset lack of national security experience?

Read more!

Defining Bush-lite

Progressives have wrongly misused the term "Bush-lite" to describe anyone differing from their prescribed "pat" solutions or critiques. Sorry, but calling one of the most liberal Senators (Kerry), Bush-lite in 2003/04 was just too much. Yes, sure he had problems "dumbing" down and articulating his plans, but nevertheless they were solidly liberal in eight of ten times.

Progressives can't have credibility in the party by blindly throwing such terms around. We need to make sure we allowing progressivism to develop new ideas and grow. We can't be relevant to the electorate if we are stuck in the past.

"Bush-lite" to me, applies to Democrat who brings nothing new to the table. It is a "me-tooism" of a shallowness that includes having no big visions, offering no third-way of breaking the left-right deadlock or giving us the ability to reach new voters without losing all core principles.

Mark R. Warner and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson recently appeared together at the Emerging Issues Forum held at North Carolina State University. Notice the difference in approach on governmental / tax reform between the two potential candidates. From WRAL news...

Bill Richardson

Richardson described his approach of tax cuts, education and economic development the "New Progressivism."

"Now you're going to hear from a Democrat that is going to say this: Cutting taxes is good, being pro-business is good. Putting more money in people's pockets is good," Richardson said Monday.

Richardson, a former Clinton administration energy secretary, has also been traveling around the nation as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association with a similar story of bipartisan budgeting success after working with members of both parties to cut personal income and capital gains tax rates.

Richardson pointed to coalition building with the business community, labor and others as reasons for the state's recent success and a projected half-billion-dollar surplus this year.

"Democrats have to be more pro-economic growth.... We shouldn't be reflexively against cutting taxes," he said in an interview. "We should be a party that embraces competitiveness and economic growth."

Mark Warner

Warner said voters don't want partisanship, but rather honesty that people may need to make some sacrifices for government to achieve fiscal responsibility.

"People are so anxious to hear the truth. A little bit of truth can go a long way in the American political process today," Warner said.

Now out of a job, Warner has had more time to talk about how he helped turn a $6 billion budget shortfall into what could be a $1 billion surplus this year with tax cuts and tax increases approved with the help of a Republican-controlled Legislature.

"I don't think it's big government versus small government," he said. "It's smart government." Read entire article.

Admittedly, you can't read too much in from these small snippets. But what I like about Warner on so many topics is that he is continually trying to change the paradigm. He looking beyond thet paradigms of left and right and searching for new solutions, not just parroting the Club for Growth's talking points. Maybe we will be lucky and we will see a real "New Progressivism" emerge from Mark Warner.

Read more!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

National Review Starts Monthly Column to Bash Warner

Last month, I posted to two National Review articles by Jim Geraghty and John Miller. Each article used a diferent line of attack versus Gov. Warner. Well if Warner suporters did not have confirmation of a substained attack before, a new National Review article by Peter Ferrara proves yes indeed, it is true. The main Republican magazine National Review is so scared shitless they have instituted a monthly attack column dedicated to a Southern governor who is unannounced for the Presidency a full three years out. How flattering it is!

Now to make it even better... This month's addition is penned by Peter Ferrara, a well-known Renta-Columnist. He just recently finished feeding his family by writing Op-Ed pieces for none other than Jack Abramoff. Does Renta-Columnist Ferrara have any regrets? Not in a recent Business Week article...

Peter Ferrara, a senior policy adviser at the conservative Institute for Policy Innovation, says he, too, took money from Abramoff to write op-ed pieces boosting the lobbyist's clients. "I do that all the time," Ferrara says. "I've done that in the past, and I'll do it in the future."

Ferrara, who has been an influential conservative voice on Social Security reform, among other issues, says he doesn't see a conflict of interest in taking undisclosed money to write op-ed pieces because his columns never violated his ideological principles.

"It's a matter of general support," Ferrara says. "These are my views, and if you want to support them, then that's good." But he adds that at some point over the years, Abramoff stopped working with him: "Jack lost interest in me and felt he had other writers who were writing in more prominent publications," Ferrara says.

Ferrara began working at the Institute for Policy Innovation after the period during which he wrote the op-ed pieces for Abramoff. Earlier, he worked at the activist anti-tax organization Americans for Tax Reform.

Ferrara wouldn't say which publications have published pieces for which Abramoff paid him. But a review of his work shows that he wrote articles for The Washington Times that were favorable to the Choctaw Indians and the Mariana Islands. He also wrote a 1998 book called The Choctaw Revolution: Lessons for Federal Indian Policy. Ferrara says the tribe paid him directly for his work on the book, which was published by the Americans for Tax Reform Foundation and is still available for sale on Amazon.com. Read entire article.

Peter Ferrara’s guest column called "The Virginia Miracle? Puh-lease!" ended up being the exactly the kind of lies and distortions Ferrara used against Warner when he was head of the Virginia Club for Growth. Matter of fact, whomever paid him to write the National Review piece should ask for their money back since it looks a lot like an earlier piece he wrote for the VCG.

In 2005, Ferrara and the Club for Big Money went after 15 Senate Republicans and the 19 Republican Delegates they wanted to defeat in 2005. These were Republicans who in seeing the crushing budget deficits partnered with Warner to cut spending and raise taxes (called being responsible). So did Virginia voters side with Ferrara in 2005 and punish the "bad" Republicans that the Club for Big Money was targetting?

A resounding NO. Virginia voters returned all Club for Growth targets back to office, ignored Ferrara's distortions and "to boot" elected a Warner protégé. I believe the American people will do the same.

Hmmm... His picture is intriguing. Given Ferrara's dealing with Abramoff and gambling, does anyone know if he got scalped?

Read more!

Ideas for Using Warner's PAC Money

Always happy to spend other people’s money, I have an idea for spending Warner’s PAC money.

The election in 2006 presents a great opportunity for Warner to get out and press the flesh with Democratic candidates for federal races. He'll need to make sure he has money available to write those $5000 checks to congressional candidates (FT is federal only) and pay for travel to campaign with them. If he is looking at targeting just competitive races and strategically located federal (Iowa, New Hampshire, etc.) candidates he is probably looking at donations to over 100 candidates totaling $500k.

Warner would be well served to look beyond just competitive races if the money keeps flowing. The Democratic grassroots are captivated by the idea that Democrats must start building a "farm league" in non-competitive districts in order to win over the long-term (The Dean model). This fits very well with Warner's experience as a red-stater who knows how to compete and win outside the traditional Democratic strongholds.

Were Warner to seize that specific non-ideological element of the grassroots platform and use several hundred thousand of his PAC money to support "non-competitive" races on principle of building for the future (think capital investment), he would quickly become a champion to a lot of Democratic activists who might be to the left of him on policy issues. Image Warner speaking at events for Democratic activists telling them he believes in their goal to compete in every race, and rather than just giving lip service he is "putting his money where his mouth is."

If one of those non-competitive 2006 congressional races become competitive and Warner threw more support helping the Democrats come out with a win, he would have a story that activists would love to hear on the stump.

The chambers of Daily Kos and MyDD would be alive with praise.

Read more!

Warner's Leadership PAC

Pundits often point to the early numbers from Leadership PACs to show how viable a potential candidate will be in the upcoming primaries. Not surprisingly, Mark Warner's Presidential PAC, Forward Together, took top honors among the current Democratic hopefuls for the nomination in 2008. He only started to raise money in the last half of last year, but he still took in 3.3 million dollars.

Not too bad, although his "cash on hand" is only 2.4 million. According to the FEC site, FT spent over 900k. Seems like a lot of start up fees / staff / travel costs, since only $51k was distributed to candidates or committees, but with PACs getting to the details of what is being spend is difficult. Hopefully it is being well spent, as he will need to distribute a lot of money in 2006 and again for 2008.

Against Warner's competition for the "moderate" mantel, he did quite well. Edwards seems to have lost the ability to excite Democratic voters and donors. His One America Committee only raised $625k last year with dismal $23k cash on hand. Bayh' s All America PAC raised $1,551,430.49 last year, but most of that was in the first half of the year, his second half was only $379k. Vilsack's PAC was second to Warner and raised 1.6 million. Of course this number might be skewed since Heartland PAC is not a federal PAC. Unlike the highly regulated federal PAC that can only intake $5,000 at a time, many state PACs can intake unlimited sums from one donor. Clinton who most likely will not be in contention for the moderate mantel, but still the far-and-away Democratic front-runer, raised $113k for her HillPac. Granted her leadership PAC has rightly not been a priority as she is focusing on raising millions for her Senate re-election. Plus the funds she raises for the Senate can be transferred to her Presidential campaign.

Which brings us to another point; Warner needs to be able to raise funds that can be used for a Presidential right after the 2006 election. If he needs to declare early, so be it. Since he is facing a slew of Washington Senators who can essentially raise for their "Senate campaigns" and transfer money, he is going to start at a significant disadvantage.

Daily Kos has a detailed run down of the leadership PACs here. (Note: I believe his Bayh numbers are incorrect).

Read more!

Friday, February 03, 2006

MyDD Poll

MyDD has a Presidential poll up. They have an interesting way they compile the poll. Voters rank their preferences for candidates, then the poll compiles the winner through a series of run-offs. Even though I voted for Warner in the final tally, my vote counted for Clark.

Go vote here.

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

From the Governor’s Mansion to 1600 Pennsylvania

I have a guest essay from Casey a member of the Draft Warner group. Enjoy!

5 Reasons Why Governor Warner should be the Democrats’ pick for ‘08

By Casey Jason Jr.

The Democrat’s best hope for the White House in 2008 is nominating Governor Warner of Virginia. This statement seems odd to many Democrats in and outside of the beltway because until recently the response to mentioning Governor Warner was: Who? Now, he is on the radar. These are five reasons why he, not Senator Hillary Clinton, should be the pick for the Democrats in 2008.

1. Warner is NDA: Nascar Dad Approved.
Governor Warner has a 75% approval rating in his home state of Virginia. This fact is critical. Virginia has not been won by a Democrat in a Presidential election since LBJ, but that can change. This 75% approval rating in Virginia will help him carry his state and win the White House. With the recent election of Tim Kaine as Governor, (with the conventional wisdom being that Kaine was a much more liberal candidate than Warner) Governor Warner proved that he has coattails in a very Red State.

2. The Trouble With Hillary-Part-1
I will not use the clichéd arguments why Senator Hillary Clinton should not be the nominee: she is divisive and she incites the Republican base. These are tired arguments that do not get to the heart of why the Senator is a poor choice for the Democratic Presidential nomination. She is a poor choice for two fundamental reasons: 1. She is from a "Blue State" and 2. She is a Senator. The Democratic Party must finally come to the realization that Blue States are a given for the Democrats in the Electoral College. Unless the Democrats re-nominate Mondale, they will win New York, California, Illinois, Maine and the majority of the Kerry states.

To put it bluntly, the Democrats don’t need New York, they need the swing states like Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, or Florida. To win, a candidate needs 270 electoral votes. Here we go, it is time to brush off your Electoral College calculator, clean off your dry erase boards and do some basic math. Let us assume the Kerry states remain static. Governor Warner has a 75% approval rating in Virginia; if Kerry had taken Virginia he would have been only 5 votes shy of the Presidency. That’s it. Governor Warner could choose Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico as his VP and New Mexico would trend blue. Senator Clinton is a remarkable woman and politician, but she is from a Blue State that is almost a guaranteed win for the Democrats. She still would have to win Ohio or Florida. This is unlikely. Moderate Red State Democrats have more traction in the heartland over their blue state Democratic counter-parts. Governor Warner harkens to another Red State Democrat who won the Presidency twice. According to the Electoral College results, Bill Clinton carried the following Red States in 1992 (When you read this list, please ask yourself if you believe that Hillary Clinton could be popular enough in the heartland to carry any of these states): 1. Montana, 2. Colorado, 3. Kentucky, 4.Lousiana, 5. Arkansas. 6. Nevada, 7. Missouri, 8. Iowa, 9. Ohio, 10. West Virginia, 11. Georgia, 12. Tennessee, 13. New Mexico. Read this list again and wonder if a charismatic Red State Democrat could win any of them.

3. The Trouble With Hillary- Part Two.
She is a Senator. Only two sitting Senators have ever won the White House: Warren G. Harding and John F. Kennedy. In fact, it has been argued by many that Kennedy owed his win in key states - Texas and Illinois - to creative vote tallying. Be that as it may, Senator Clinton would have to face the charges that are always leveled at Senators: that they are compromisers, not leaders.

4. Iraq- A Clear Policy- What is it good for? Absolutely Nothin’.
The best thing about Governor Warner’s views about foreign policy is that he does not have a record yet. Senator Clinton and the other Democrats have already gone on record with their individual strategies for solving the problem in Iraq. She has suggested in the past that we increase troop levels in Iraq, but lately the Senate Democrats have favored a pull-out, with which Clinton would have difficulty separating herself. It would be challenging for Clinton to avoid the label of “flip flopper.” In fact, it is impossible to have consistent voting records in the Senate because the nature of the political system requires that the legislature engage in compromise. However, the people want consistency. The public wants to know where their President stands. Some critics have argued that Iraq will be a key issue in 2008. If so, Warner can take a page from the Republican’s play book. Warner can surround himself with experts in foreign policy, comforting the American people. Also, since he did not make the promise to stay in Iraq, Warner has great latitude in drafting an exit strategy. He can in turn use this “newly created secret plan” as a campaign platform that he has an honorable exit for the United States from Iraq. That campaign strategy worked before and can work again.

5. The L-Word-
Senator Clinton will be labeled as a Liberal because of location, location, location. Even though she has tried to move to the center, the liberal label will stick merely because she is a New York Senator just as it worked against Senator Kerry because he was from Massachusetts. If she were the Governor of Arkansas, she would not have this problem. Unfortunately, Senator Hillary Clinton is not President Bill Clinton. Governor Warner, unlike the Senator from New York, is from a Red State that loves him. His leadership has created a booming economy that outpaces the Nation’s. Governor Warner has accomplished this in a state that has a balanced budget amendment. When it was recently determined that his state’s economy was better than the Nation’s, he advocated restraint in spending. In short, Governor Warner has earned his fiscal conservative stripes. In doing so, he has earned the respect of his constituents and he cannot be labeled as a liberal. Four years ago, the Republicans attempted to label Governor Warner a Liberal in the 2001 Gubernatorial Election of 2001, but that failed. Instead, Warner was victorious because his true label was clear: he was a Virginian. All of these reasons make Warner the best choice for the Democrats. Whereas, Hillary Clinton’s candidacy fails because of something she cannot dispute: Hillary Clinton is a New York Senator.

Read more!

Blog Posts with Technorati

I have added a new feature to the bottom right hand of the site. I created charts for the number of blog entries for each of the major Democratic candidates.

Provided by Technorati, the chart calculates the number of blog posts and feeds you back a chart. The chart isn't a hundred percentage accurate since the entire combination of words might not appear. For instance, my chart for Warner is based on three words, Mark, Warner and President. If any of those three words are not recorded in a post it isn't counted. A full 50% of my own posts to a dedicated Warner site would not fit that criteria.

What these charts do tell you about is trending and spikes. Notice the day after Kaine gave the rebuttal to the State of the Union, blogs spiked sharply mentioning Warner. This should be a fun tool to watch as the campaign progresses.

Posts that contain Mark Warner President per day for the last 30 days.
Technorati Chart

You'll also notice Hillary has significantly more blog entries than other potential candidates. Primarily it is because she is the front-runner. Secondarily, there are an unbelievable number of conservative blogs who just can't stop talking about her.

Read more!

Atlantic Monthly Party-Goers Like Warner

Ben Smith of the NY Observer has a blog stating at a New York elite party, Warner and McCain were the favorites to win their party's nominations.

At the Atlantic Monthly's State of the Union party Tuesday night, Jim Fallows conducted a little presidential poll of the roughly 60-member audience, a kind of money-media-power elite blend.

The question: "Who is the likely Democratic nominee for President?"

To my correspondent's surprise, 32% picked Mark Warner; only 25% said Hillary Rodham Clinton. (More evidence of Clinton political brilliance! It was, after all, getting to be about time to shed that "frontrunner" albatross.)

On the Republican side, a full 62% (a number that no doubt included Georgette Mosbacher, who was in the audience) said John McCain will be the GOP nominee. See post.

I wouldn't make too much of Clinton positioning to make Warner the front-runner. If these folks are non-Hollywood media or high tech types, they are Warner's base. He has a lot of friends in those industries. I would presume from his days building up the communications telecom company NEXTEL.

Read more!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

All of Y'all

You got to give it to Warner, he knows how to work with the not so bright bulbs out there. The Tidewater's WAVY-TV has an article called Mark Warner, Allen Double-Team for College R&D Funds. Seems Warner joined Kaine and Allen in NOVA land to push for research and development money.

Allen, governor from 1994 to 1998, effusively praised Warner's unprecedented proposed outlay for research and development as long overdue and timely.

"Now the budget proposals before all of y'all in the General Assembly, I think it's going to help leverage literally millions and millions of dollars from the federal government," Allen said.

Now I am a Southern boy who uses y'all quite liberally, but what the heck is "all of y'all?" All, I know. Y'all, I know. I have even heard of good old boys in the deep south say "all y'all, come here." But "All of y'all?"

"All of y'all" sounds to me like a patronizing Yankee trying to "hick it up good." Where is Allen from anyway?

The ironic part is that Allen now wants to spend the tax surplus in Virginia on research and development. However, he opposed the tax restructuring in Virginia by Warner that created the surplus. Well I don't know anyone who has accused Allen of being bright, since he has just kinda ambled along in life on his father's name. Especially humorous how a "small government" conservative is so excited about getting not just millions in federal government money, but "literally millions and millions of dollars." Hat tip to Politicalwire.com for NY Times article below.

"Wall Street may be intensely interested in just about every word ever uttered by" incoming Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, "but in Washington, he is barely on some people's radar screens," the New York Times reports. The Fed chairman is typcially considered the most powerful unelected post in the government.

When asked for his opinion on Bernanke's nomination, all Sen. George Allen (R-VA) could muster was the response, "For what?"

"Told that Mr. Bernanke was up for the Fed chairman's job, Mr. Allen hedged a little, said he had not been focused on it, and wondered aloud when the hearings would be. Told that the Senate Banking Committee hearings had concluded in November, the senator responded: 'You mean I missed them all? I paid no attention to them.'" See entire article.

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Case Study #1 on the Democratic Washington Consultants

The only times Democrats elect a President is when they clash with their own pundrity of Washington based Democratic consultants and nominate a Clinton or Carter.

The following article just shows how "out of touch of" our losing group of Democratic consultants are about what elects a President.

Ron Goldstein is a perfect example of "in the bubble" thinking our Washington Democratic consultants have boxed themselves (and us) into. Goldstein who does events and media for a living writes Joe Biden is the Democrats best shot to win the Presidency. Yep, you heard it right, Joe Biden. And why?

1) Biden has held public office far longer than any of the new crop of possible presidential candidates
2) He is influential member and former chairman of both the Judiciary and Foreign Relations Committees
3) He’s not a bad-looking guy, and his performances seem real, not wooden like those of the last two Democratic nominees
4) Unlike Howard Dean, his outrage and passion is controlled, not manic.
5) As for geography, how about Delaware? It may be small, but it is a state stuck smack in the mid-Atlantic area, a gateway between the Northeast with its great metropolitan areas and the critical Southeast
Read entire article.

So Delaware has now become the "Gateway to the South?" Ha-ha. Since when is being a Washington insider helpful?

The winner of the Democratic nomination in 2008 will need to be a Washington outsider in order to win in the fall. Vilsack, Richardson, Warner and to some degree Feingold fit the bill. Our Democratic chattering classes still don't get it.

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Another Daily Kos Presidential Straw Poll

Kos has put out another Presidential straw poll.

At the time of post, the poll stands at:

Feingold - 30%
Clark - 22%
Warner - 12%
Edwards - 8%

Vote in Poll here.

Read more!

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