Jun 16 2005

Warner’s Chances are Slim in ’08

Published by at 9:33 am under All General Discussions

There has been a lot of positive press in the media for VA Gov Mark Warner, spinning him as a centrist democrat (which he is not). He is a wealthy businessman who did well in the tech boom of the 1990’s and helped establish a very successful company (Nextel). But his record in VA is not as impressive as the democrats and their media buds like to make it out to be. Most of us in VA are glad we are one-term limited in the Governor’s seat, and were able to survive Warner. Warner expertly came along an exploited a rift in the republican party to win, and then put in place the largest tax increase in our history. The results of which recently came out in our primary votes.

But some background first. Here is a biography of Mr. Warner which is basically fair and brief. It spins to the positive side in that it avoids the controversies, but that is OK for a reference.

Of special import is Warner’s (D) only other run at state office, when he to on John Warner (R) of VA for the US senate in 1996. Recall this was the year Bill Clinton was running for relection. It was a tough race for John Warner (R) who had been too much of a centrist and fought against strongly conservative candidates in other state races in other years. This was the beginning of the republican party civil war in VA. But John Warner (R) pulled out a 53-47% win.

In 2001, Warner won his first – and only – statewide election beating Lt Gov Early52-47%. Importantly, this is only a year after George Allen took on another stalwart pol in VA – Chuck Robb. Allen won this race by 62-48%. The intertwining history here is Chuck Robb survived a 1994 challenge by Ollie North in part from John Warner’s (R) resistance to the North campaign. (For the record I too preferred Robb over North since Robb was an old blue dog democrat and North was untested in public office).

BTW, all our current and recent Senators were Governors of our state. Being term limited in the Governorship tends to send them into the Senate seats for a longer term of representing VA. Something not lost on Mark Warner.

The context of the 2001 election cannot be dismissed to understand how Mark Warner won, and why he probably cannot win a state wide election today (Senate or President). Recall this was a post 9-11 election, not even 2 months since those tragic events. And many people forget VA was a target of the 9-11 attics (the Pentagon is in VA) and two of the planes used departed Dulles international airport (Pentagon and Pennsylvania crash sites).

Warner’s opponent, Lt Gov Early, had run an abysmal race. He was seemed more like the Bob Dole of 1996 – a long term Pol who’s turn had come. After 9-11 Warner appeared to be the more serious, younger, stronger candidate. And he had pledged to follow the line of blue dog southern democrats and be fiscally conservative – a pledge he violated badly. In addition, just two short years prior in 1991, the VA GOP took control of the legistlature for the very first since reconstruction. VA was completing a long track from democrat run to GOP run.

We fast forward through 2 years of the term and VA is facing what appears to be serious budget problems. 9-11’s economic impact was very hard on Northern Virginia as tourism to DC and the area dropped way off. So Warner worked with (colluded with, actually) the moderate republicans to deal with what was perceived to be a looming budget crisis. And that takes us to Warner’s disasterous tax fiasco:

Warner must think that the citizens of our Commonwealth are suffering from a collective memory loss. This is the same governor who predicted earlier this year a biennial budgetary shortfall of $1.5 billion and then proposed a $1 billion tax increase.

Right after the new taxes were enacted, but before the new tax revenues started to roll in, the state had already amassed a $324 million surplus.

That surplus would grow to $1 billion before any of the $1 billion in new taxes would take effect. Warner had these numbers and new what the trend was. Most people who pay attention did as well.

Even in the face of the fact Warner had pushed through an unimaginable $1 billion in tax hikes in a year we had a $1 billion surplus, he refused to restart the elimination of the dreaded car tax his predecessor Gov Gilmore had successully architected.

All of this was not lost on Virginians who pride themselves in fiscal responsibility with lower taxes. So this year’s GOP primaries targetted the “RINO’s” who had either colluded with or were duped by Mark Warner to take unnecessary money from taxpayers (while closing down government services like DMV’s) in a surplus year.

The results are in. One veteran GOP pol who was targetted was taken out. And others were given a good scare. And the VA election wil be a cake walk for the low tax GOP ticket if the dems do not run on repealing taxes.

Suffice it to say, with a record like this Mark Warner would never be able to win his home state in a Presidential election. He is a proven tax hiker and could be called dishonest because he alarmed the entire state about a mythical impending budget crisis when he knew better.

I hope the dems select him.

Other sites you may want to check out for more on Warner, VA and election possibilities include Commonwealth Conservative and Daily thoughts.

Recent posts on Warner can be found here, here, here , here and here (many of which I respectfully disagree with).

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