Author's Note: This piece was published in the August 22nd, 2007 edition of Fredericksburg's bastion of news, The Free Lance-Star. Enjoy.
UPDATE: Almost a month to the day after it was published, former Gov. Mark Warner declared his intention to run....for the U.S. Senate. So I was half right? Maybe? Check out Warner's Senate campaign website at www.markwarner2008.com. Now, on with the ill-timed analysis.
What a difference a year makes. Last summer, former Gov. Mark Warner was busy assembling an imposing Presidential campaign machine in
Virginians seemed positively giddy with the possibility of a Virginian on Virginian fight in the 2008 Presidential election, arguably the most wide open in roughly eighty years.
Now, much like a child who received a lump of coal instead of a bike for Christmas, the collective anticipation of
Hope, at least for Democrats, remains. While Allen has as much chance of winning the nomination as he does the Miss America pageant, Warner remains an extremely viable national candidate. Upon his departure, he had made great strides into
Even with the swarm of candidates already in the race, huge numbers of primary voters remain undecided (and decidedly unimpressed) with the current crop of candidates, according to recent polling data. According to a July 17 Zogby poll discussing the Presidential primaries, 20% of Democrats voters supported “none of the above” (either selecting “undecided” or “someone else”) in the Presidential primary, a number which has held steady since February. “None of the above” places ahead of every Democratic candidate sans Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama, and indicates that many voters are delaying their decisions until the elections draw nearer.
With so many voters delaying their support, Warner has plenty of real estate with which to work should he restart his campaign. During his brief time on the national campaign trail, Warner touted an impressive record as governor, an ability to work with all sides, a quintessentially American pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps story, and a charismatic personality. Fortunately for him, all those attributes remain true some nine months after his exit.
Beyond his qualifications, Warner also has history on his side. The last two Democratic Presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, were both southern governors who ran as
The fact remains, though, that while these favorable conditions give Warner an honest shot at the nomination, I just cannot imagine why he or anyone else would want to take the plunge. Contrary to what American children learn in grade school, campaigning for President is not the end-all-be-all of human existence, and as David Broder once said, “Anybody that wants the presidency so much that he’ll spend two years organizing and campaigning for it is not to be trusted with the office.”
The nomination process requires the candidates to prostitute themselves to county supervisors and half-crazed supporters, run ragged across
In spite of these enormous downsides, a noteworthy upside remains. Someone in