October 13, 2006

Mark Warner's withdrawal from race a real loss for Dems

This morning ex-Virginia Governor Mark Warner announced that he would not be running for president in '08.

This came as quite a shock to many who felt Warner was truly head and shoulders above other Dem contenders. It was a shock as well due to it's timing, though it did make sense that he stop the run before even more people put their lives on hold to work for him and more donations came in.

In an e-mail to those working in his behalf, he noted that he'd spent recent days taking his daughter to start college and realized that perhaps it was not the right time to devote his every hour to a campaign.

I certainly hope Warner considers a run at a later date. He's bright, he's young, he's an extremely talented politician, and he is bristling with good ideas for the future and would make a great Democratic representitive in any position he may run for.

What fall-out will this have on the remaining contenders?

The NY Times account of the withdrawal is here, and the Washington Post has a piece analysing the winners and losers from Warner's decision.


At 10/13/2006 7:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for him...Family over politics, a refreshing choice.

At 10/13/2006 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TID, I'm one of those that thinks Mark Warner is head and shoulders above the other contenders. He fixed a failing Virginia after George Allen's tenure, and he was truly collaborative in that position. I've listened to him in his speeches in recent months and he really struck me as THE guy.

There is still all kinds of speculation in the "beltway" as to why, but I really think he truly feels consumed with this stuff when his teenage kids need him most.

I'm sure he'll still be involved, but I'm afraid not having him in the race could fatally "group think" the Dems to the left without a good internal debate about where the Dems should be as a party and what Dems should stand for. Of all the times in history we've needed that debate, it seems critical in this era.

I hope he runs for President or for Senator once his kids are safely out of the nest.

At 10/13/2006 10:02 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

At the risk of ruining your reputation and getting you run out of town, Huck, I have to say that I agree with every word you wrote.

I too had picked Warner as THE guy to watch and would have supported him financially and otherwise.

He was a bit more to the right than I would prefer, but then again I realize that even a slight move leftward would be a vast improvement.

And I think Warner would have been an excellent vehicle to carry the moderate/left position and gently ease the public out of their state of delusion they've been put in by relentless brain-washing by the right.

So many people vote against their own best interest and without realizing that they actually are closer to Dems on the issues than Republicans.

Warner would have been someone that the middle would have warmed up to immediately.

And, importantly, he wasn't a walking sleeping pill. After Gore and then Kerry, I would have jumped off a bridge if the Dems came up with another sincere, but deadly dull candidate.

And lord knows that we don't need another Yale and Skull & Crossbones alumni (like Kerry and Bush) as a candidate.

Warner is sharp without coming across as some patrician snooze like Kerry or a lisping wonk like Gore.

Warner's a gifted speaker, embodied Democrat ideals, but had the middle/right cred to appeal to that crowd, and also had impecable business credentials.

He has a great ability to generate enthusiasm for his ideas, and could talk about relatively complex policy issues without putting you to sleep, but without insulting your intelligence by talking down to people like they were a bunch of morons (like Bush, although I'm not sure it's talking "down" with him)

Warner pretty much was the complete package.

I'm very disappointed at this turn of events, and like you, I certainly hope Warner doesn't lose his ambition for high office.

Now we're looking at Hillary, Edwards, a pretty boy who lacks weight, and Evan Bayh, a guy who seems to be a Dole type candidate. In other words, he's running because it seems like the thing to do, though no one really knows why.

Bayh is amiable, but let's face it, has the charisma of a potted plant. He seems to be an empty vessel and perhaps the only reason he's being put forward is that he'd be the water-bearer for the truly out of date Democratic Leadership Council types who seem to think that the only salvation for Dems is to continually move to the right and out-Republican the Republicans.
Bayh represents the vision of a Democratic party as cozy with corporate interests as the Republicans. "Follow the money" seems to be their guiding priciple.

With Warner out, there's not a lot to get excited about anymore, at least from my perspective.

At 10/14/2006 3:19 AM, Blogger tiz said...

This is unfortunate. He's still young enough though to do something else for 8 years (cabinet position?) and then make a go of it.

I'm still excited about Bill Richardson and I'm hoping Wes Clark doesn't ignore Iowa again in 08. What do you think about those two?

At 10/14/2006 8:46 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I hope others might give their opinions on these two as well, but from my perpective, Richardson just does absolutely nothing for me.

I have no knock on the guy other than he just couldn't possibly be any more uninteresting or uninspiring if he tried.

As a matter of fact, the ONLY thing he has to recommend himself is that he's Hispanic.

I don't think his experience in foreign policy or as governor would be impressive to voters, as he didn't seem to stand out in either role.

He's absolute mush when speaking, always playing it safe to the point of near meaninglessness.

Although he's so dull it's hard to even tell, his views or position seems to be whatever seems convenient at the moment.

And again, Richardson is so deadly dull that he not only isn't remotely inspiring, he almost sucks any interest out of you.

And being overweight and squeezing into pinstripe suits isn't flattering, makes you look like a gangster, and has already been patented by the fat toad Tony Blankley.

I truly have never been able to figure out why he or anyone else thinks he'd be a good presidential prospect. (other than the cynical idea that simply being Hispanic is enough)

I'm simply left scratching my head as to how he even made it into the list of contenders.

I really, really like Wes Clark (and his wife Gert... what a perfect name)

I think Clark is incredibly bright, capable, and I admire him a LOT.

BUT... judging by his run last time and the few appearances and speeches I've seen him make since, I simply don't think he's got "it" either.

It's truly unfortunate, because I really think he has a lot to contribute, perhaps as a cabinet member, but I think there's just too many gaps in his expertise and experience to make a good presidential candidate.

Plus, he's just not calculating. He's not slippery enough to be an expert at not telling the whole truth, shading the truth, or avoiding the truth. He's simply cursed with being honest and would be hard to handle as a candidate. He'd likely be prone to saying things which the right would pounce on and distort.

Of course, Bush said truly stupid things on a regular basis and they were able to paper over every one, but Dems don't seem to know how to do this. (Not that Clark would say stupid things, just things that could be misconstrued)

Clark is big on sincerity, big on great ideas and understanding of military and foreign policy, has a clear-eyed and "compassionate" stance on social issues, and has probably the most impressive resume and life story of any hopeful out there of either party.

He's a great leader, and has the ability to convey a sense of mission, urgency, and willingness to do hard work to accomplish necessary goals. These are all critically important traits, especially today.

But I have the gut feeling that he's simply not candidate material, meaning a telegenic "product" that the public will readily "buy", and it's truly a shame.

He'd attract a lot of people and inspire many devoted followers, but in the end, I'm afraid the right wing attack machine would chew him up.

But having said all that, I do think he's a tough, tough guy, and there's no doubt that if he were the candidate, he'd never back down and would take the fight to the enemy and give it everything he had, which is certainly a requirement for any Dem this time around.

What do other readers think about these two?

At 10/14/2006 9:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing I remember about Richardson is that he was Secretary of Energy when the Wen Ho Lee scandal happened and I don't think Richardson hadnled that well from a security standpoint.

I've got all kinds of opinions about Wes Clark. He's simply a one-way charmer that put his career ambitions ahead of his integrity long before he wore stars. He's the kind of guy that "found" himself in hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles throughout his career. His career was all about self-promotion, not selfless serviceas it should be for a military officer.

Three groups hated General Wes Clark, those above him in the chain of command whom he ignored, his peers which he lied to, and his subordinates he micromanaged. Other than that, everyone liked him; just ask Wes Clark.

He went around SECDEF Cohen and CJCS Shelton to SECSTATE and NSC when he couldn't convince them of his views. He knew Bill Clinton and sought his favor to win the Southern Command post ahead of the man that would have made that post more effective, Marc Cisneros. Cisneros asked him point blank if Clark went to Clinton and Clark lied to his face.

During the Kosovo war, Clark, an army officer, would sit in the war room and waste air strike targeteers time by questioning specific targets or aborting missions already in the air. He's a 4-star doing this, not the colonel in charge of strike planning or one star running the daily air battle, or the two-star running the Air Ops Center or the three-star in charge of joint and combined air operations. And his strategy of using aircraft at 15k feet to hit tanks in wooded and hilly terrain was ineffective. He a four-star, it was his job to manage and lead the coalition and ensure his three star generals were carrying out his intent. Instead, the only time spent away from micromanaging the staff was spent preening for the cameras.

He convinced Clinton that we could the job from 15,000 feet and above without ground power, and because of that, we dragged out the war long enough that Milosevic killed an additional 50,000 Kosovars that didn't need to die. We "won" the war only because the Serbs felt they had achieved their objectives of decimating the Kosovars. Meanwhile, some of our creative pilots were busting that 15,000 foot floor and flying at 3,000 feet or lower to try to get the job dont that wasn't getting done from 15,000 feet and above.

RAND's "NATO's Air War for Kosovo: A Strategic and Operational Assessment" touches on some of it, at a strategic level.

Funny, how he's a guy that touts himself as the victorious general from Kosovo, when the fact is that he allowed the Serbs to achieve their objectives.

Wanna find a general to put in charge, look at Marine General James L. Jones. That's THE guy if you're looking for someone in uniform. And guess what, we won't know what party he's from or who his buddies are in politics until AFTER he retires, unlike Clark.

At 10/14/2006 2:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it now time for a "Draft Obama" movement in Iowa??

He is the only candidate on both sides that anyone could possibly be excited about.


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