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.


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