Warner bows out
Big political news today. Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner announced that he will not run for president in ’08. The public reason, as is often the case when politicians remove themselves from politics, is family. Which means it probably isn’t the real reason, or at least not the entire reason. Warner probably does want to spend more time with his family, and perhaps his family doesn’t want him to run, or perhaps the sacrifices involved in running for the presidency are too great to take the plunge at this point in his life, but perhaps other factors played a role, too.
Such as? Warner would have run as a moderate Democrat, which he is. But the leading moderate Democrat is Hillary Clinton. Perhaps Warner looked ahead and saw no chance of beating her. Or perhaps, as the Post indicates, the poll numbers weren’t looking that promising anyway. Perhaps he has a better shot at the Veep spot. Or perhaps he’ll run for Senate to replace the other Warner from Virginia. Or perhaps he’ll run for governor again.
It’s just odd, because, as Steve Benen notes, Warner was “running hard”. It’s a “shocker,” says Chris Bowers, who says that the primary beneficiary (sorry: unintentional pun) could be John Edwards (note: I blog occasionally at Edwards’s One America Committee). That’s also Ryan Lizza‘s view (h/t: Steve): “The big winner today is John Edwards, whose team has been slyly trying to undermine Warner in recent weeks, since it rightly saw the former Virginia governor as Edwards’ biggest threat to be the anti-Hillary.” I would add that Edwards is a much more credible anti-Hillary candidate than Warner could have been. I look foward to a Clinton-Edwards race, if that’s what it comes down to. Both are highly admirable Democrats with legitimate shots at the White House.
For more on the likely fallout of Warner’s decision, see BooMan: “The immediate beneficiary of Warner’s decision could be John Edwards, because he is the other southern candidate. But I actually think it benefits all the other centrists, like Biden, Vilsack, Bayh, and Clinton. The first three are such longshots that I think the real beneficiary is Clinton.” And Brendan Nyhan: “Clearly, the major beneficiary of this development is John Edwards, who is now the main ‘electable’ Democrat from the South in the race.” That always seems to help.
All fascinating stuff for us political junkies eagerly looking ahead to November 2008.