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Mark Warner for President in 2016?

I am sure if you asked Mark Warner what his political ambitions are he would say, simply, getting reelected to the U.S. Senate and to continue representing the Commonwealth.

And I am sure he means it. But what if something changed on the much larger stage of selecting the Democratic nominee for President in 2016?  If it did, then Mark Warner, a respected centrist and former governor might suddenly become a prospective nominee. There is very little that can be guaranteed in politics. Save one thing and that’s that any assumed outcome is apt to change on a moment’s notice.

Hillary Clinton is, in the eyes of most Democrats, the likely nominee for President in 2016. But, there is nothing that says this will happen, it’s just that at the moment, it seems likely to happen. Political history is full of “heir apparent” and “sure to win the nomination” candidacies that didn’t make it.

Edmund Muskie was the presumed Democratic nominee in 1972 until his campaign collapsed. No one expected that to happen. And in 1992 New York’s Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo could have won his party’s nomination just by the asking, but in spite of endless speculation, he never asked. Former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has already had some minor stumbles, and many wonder if her heart is really in another race for President. Only time will tell, but if her campaign should fizzle, or if she should change her mind, the Democrats, very quickly will have to look elsewhere. So, why not look to Virginia?
Mark Warner has been a Senator for six years and before that he was Governor of Virginia. He’s never been glitzy, he doesn’t tend to gratuitously grab headlines, but he is visionary, steady, and though a hard core Democrat, doesn’t let partisanship get in the way of working with Republicans. While he was governor he worked with the GOP majority in the General Assembly to fix the Commonwealth’s finances. He couldn’t have done it without them and he was more interested in finding a solution than in having a show down with the other party. While in the Senate, while some Democrats and Republicans make it a point to never talk with members of the “other side,” Warner has actively worked for a bi-partisan solution to our budget crises.
Success in D.C., as he has found, is a lot harder than in Richmond, but while a number of members of both sides pontificated and seemed to enjoy deadlock Warner has worked to break it.

No other prospective nominee can lay claim to this kind of political experience. One problem, could be, that Warner is too moderate to some of the party’s more liberal elements. Sometimes his business friendly attitude turns off some Democrats. It shouldn’t. Warner’s progressive credentials, in education, race relations, and healthcare, leave little room for liberals to gripe.

Warner explored the possibility of seeking the 2008 Democratic presidential nod. He thought he had the stuff to be President then, but sensing that it wasn’t the time, 2008 was to be the battle of the titans between Clinton and Obama, he decided to run for the Senate. And that’s going to be his focus this year, but, as we all know things on the national stage can change and change fast.

Reach David Kerr at
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