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Posted by on Oct 13, 2006 in At TMV | 8 comments

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.

Following Kos, Big Tent Democrat wonders if Obama could wind up in the race. Intriguing. Actually, Kos sees Edwards as “the frontrunner” already. Obama may be “too raw”.

All fascinating stuff for us political junkies eagerly looking ahead to November 2008.

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Copyright 2006 The Moderate Voice
  • Rubyeyes

    Why is my cynical side screaming skeletons in closet?

  • Kim Ritter

    I think he just didn’t raise a lot of excitement or money in our uberpartisan political environment. He’s an administrative type- smart but without a lot of charisma. Still, I hate to see a centrist candidate bow out so early in the race.

  • SnarkyShark

    Didn’t really care for him. He looks kind of strange and just a little too much DLC for my taste.

    Gore will be it. People would love a chanc e for a do-over, and also fondly remember the Clinton years(except for the ahters of course, but who cares about them anymore). So Gore wouldnt have to run from the Big Dawg, but could embrace him instead.

    Let Hillary be the next Majority leader and shove single-payer down their throats. It’s justice and its right. Gore is independently powerfull, he is starting to garner some respect from the pundits, and he’s way ahead of the curb on global warming and other issues.

    Its time for smart to be in again, and willfull ignorance to fall by the way side. Circumstances demand it.

  • I don’t think Edwards will benefit much from this. Bayh will benefit a lot.

  • Elrod

    This really saddens me. I really liked Mark Warner and thought he was an excellent governor of Virginia. He was pragmatic yet principled, he spoke of hope and not just redistribution of wealth. The weakness of his was foreign policy, but I don’t think it was a fatal one.

    Frankly, I think he would have emerged as the chief anti-Hillary, and would have won outright. Hillary Clinton is the greatest beneficiary of this, not Edwards or Bayh or Richardson. Edwards will run into the same trouble as last time: his economic appeal is limiting in suburbs, his foreign policy experience is slim, and he has to fend off his trial lawyer image.

    I really don’t know how it will all play out. Wesley Clark is a vastly improved politician than in 2004. Bill Richardson is real possibility, especially out West. Bayh is underwhelming. Obama would be great, but it’s too early. Gore would be interesting – he’s got a lot more spirit now. But his negatives are fairly high.

  • Pyst

    Maybe someone (Hillary) offered him a cabinet seat? Maybe Treasury sec. or something like that to bow out.

  • Kim Ritter

    I read that he has had affairs, so Rubyeyes may be correct. It always sets off a red flag when a politician says they want to spend more time with their family. Warner would have represented a good direction for the Democrats. If they go with someone too blatantly partisan in ’08, and that candidate is successful, it will spur even more reactionary partisanship from the other side.

    I agree with Elrod, that Bill Richardson is an attractive centrist. He has made an excellent governor in New Mexico and seems highly prinicipled in his stands. Another attribute would be his foreign policy experience during the Clinton administration. That way we wouldn’t have a naive newbie- which I believe Bush was-
    who would have to lean on others too much for their expertise

  • BrianOfAtlanta

    I’m sorry to see Warner go. So, does Bill Richardson stand a chance for the nomination? Clark displayed Rumsfeld-level military competence in the former Yugoslavia, and I’m underwhelmed with the prospect of him as president. I’m looking forward to hearing more about Richardson.

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