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The Virginian Moment: Allen vs. Warner in '08?

Wait! We've got some great elections coming up this year!

How about those Maryland races--Gov. Bobby Golfclub vs. Martin O'Malley (or, because we're fair and balanced and all that, Doug Duncan), and over in the Senate race, Michael Steele against Ben Cardin or Kwesi Mfume? And if those aren't spicy enough, how about the slugfest developing for D.C. mayor--a five-way race with no clear favorite?

No, some folks insist on focusing on '08, and lo and behold, Virginia's got the juice.

Over at one of those learned political sites that specialize in red down arrows and green up arrows--we're talking subtle political analysis here--they're touting Sen. George Allen as the #1 candidate for the GOP nomination for the presidency.

Allen stays at the front of the field on the strength of very positive inside-baseball chatter. Though he doesn't poll as well with the general public as some of the other horses behind him, DC insiders still rate him #1.

Political Derby puts Allen ahead of John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney primarily because of Allen's charisma and emotional appeal. As a strong believer in the "regular guy" metric for politicians, I have to agree that Allen's a strong contender, and it's become virtually impossible to turn on the radio or TV without running across Allen opining on just about anything. He's tacked a bit to the center, finding small ways to express some disagreement with the Bush administration. But mainly, he goes out to cast his charming spell, and on the media front, anyway, it tends to work. In Richmond of late, I hear more buzz touting Allen's political skills than I do in Mark Warner's favor.

But while we're quoting this Political Derby scoreboard, they've put Warner in the top spot among nine Hillary Clinton also-rans, and they tout him as the most likely to topple her from her perch atop the ranking:

Warner has become the "it" guy on the PAC circuit and is generating more buzz than Bode Miller at a pre-race kegger. Though he's still an unknown across most of the country, the self-made gazillionaire won't have problems buying his way onto the backstretch of the 2008 race. But will four short years as Virginia governor and a career in cell phones ignite the base? Just imagine the campaign rallies, "Can you hear me now? Gooood."

All glib politi-copy aside, Warner's Horatio Alger cell phone saga sells well pretty much anywhere. The real question about him is not his backstory, which is pretty compelling and perhaps the best in the field in a country that still worships folks who get rich; no, the real question is whether Warner can overcome that tentativeness and air of caution that improved over his four years in Richmond, but still sets him apart from pols who are more comfortable in their own skin, like Allen or Tim Kaine.

Anyway, here we are, falling into the trap of wallowing in the oilfields of '08 when we could be out there in some space closer to reality, like, 2006, no?

But here's just one more to ponder: If they both get their parties' nods in '08, which one of these gents takes his home state? Most legislators in Richmond reflexively answer Allen, but I'd bet on Warner: He's much more flavor of the month, he's set in voters' minds as an executive rather than a legislator, and while they'd probably rather hang out with Allen, Warner has the aura that may count most in the next election cycle--that of competence.

By Marc Fisher |  February 27, 2006; 7:35 AM ET
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Comments

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Once again, you publish another paean demonstrating your orgasmic infatuation with Mark Warner. When, if ever, will you recognize that he isn't the perfect politician that you have fabricated in your mind, but is instead a rather boring person who happened to defeat an unremarkable Republican candidate and who gets credit for a Democratic resurgence just for being in office when more Democrats happen to be moving to the Washington and Virginia Beach suburbs. It's disappointing, but not surprising, that your inside the Beltway life does not allow you to comprehend that George Allen might actually be better liked than Mark Warner by Virginians who don't live in NoVa.

Posted by: Al | February 27, 2006 10:08 AM

"Gov. Bobby Golfclub"...? Now THAT's fair & balanced for ya...

Posted by: Registered Voter | February 27, 2006 10:49 AM

I'm a little mystified as to how Gov. Warners "cell-phone sga sells well pretty much anywhere". I mean, here's a guy, who took advantahe of a loop-hole in the system, assembled a group of investors, bought something off the tax-payers tuened around and sold it for enormous profits. He put up no, or very little, money of his own and produced nothing but profits for him and his investors. It's not like he started a company on a shoestring, worked long hours, produced jobs and products. Truly inspirational.

Posted by: Stick | February 27, 2006 10:56 AM

Popularity ratings aside, George Allen proved to be an ineffective leader in Virginia. His George Bush-like "cut-taxes-and-keep-spending" economic policies left the state in a complete mess, and Mark Warner had to come in and mop up after him.

The country voted for the "regular guy" when it voted for George Bush, and it got runaway deficits, an unnecessary war, torture, disastrous hurricane "relief," an all out assault on the privacy rights of the common citizen and the most secretive government in our nation's history, and the appointment of numerous government officials who hate government and, therefore, refuse to do the jobs they get paid for.

Please, God, let's vote for competence the next time around.

Posted by: George | February 27, 2006 10:57 AM

Allen still has the matter of a strong challenge comming up this fall with the James Webb candidacy. Allen barely squeezed out a win against Chuck Robb.

Posted by: John | February 27, 2006 11:03 AM

How about a true bipartisan ticket Allen/Warner or Warner/Allen?

Posted by: D~ | February 27, 2006 11:04 AM

Now I understand that Virginians from outside of Northern Virginia are desperately trying to hold onto to the days of Richmond big wigs spitting chewing tobacco in spitoons but Virginia's policies and brightest minds are not coming from Roanoke or Danville, they are coming from inside the beltway. Embrace Northern Virginia and what it is doing for the state because it is ok to tug a the strings of nostalgia but it is simply ignorant to turn away from progress.

Posted by: Alexandrian | February 27, 2006 11:18 AM

George Allen?

The senator is talented. But, man, will the opposition enjoy defining him. Any political operative in the country would be a fool not to define this guy as the second coming of W.

Cowboy boots? The son of a coach? More Reagan-lite talk.

He’s the opposing campaign’s best bet this side of Bill Frist—the monarch butterfly of zero charisma. Sure, Allen has charisma—it’s just a tired brand of it.

The GOP has one clear winner in the field Rudy Giuliani. Another almost as clear—John McCain. The media has given both these guys a major hug. Democrats practically consider McCain one of them. Which is hysterical. McCain is pro-Iraq. Way pro. Culturally the guy is conservative as one can get without seeming frightened by rap music.

But take the chance. Run George Allen because he gets the same partisan loyalists all weak in the knees.

Risk what could be a Reaganesque 40 state sweep by Giuliani in favor of Democratic governors Evan Bayh or Bill Richardson or Tom Vilsack or even Mark Warner beating—yes BEATING—Allen by one state or a few close ones—maybe Iowa and New Mexico and Colorado where Democrats have another GOP governor on the run.

Or better still run Frist and lose it all without grace.

If Democrats are cagey enough to see past the empty candidacy of Hillary Clinton and run a governor—not one of their weary, baggy-eyed senators—they will win the White House—unless a few GOP stalwarts are smart enough to suck it up and run someone with leadership credibility.

An individual. Not a "Hey guys, I’m like Reagan”—b.s. artist.

(None of these guys are Reagan. And were I to choose one who is closest it would be America’s mayor—a visionary in a sea of empty cowboy boots.”

Reagan was his own man. His true successor won’t settle for chitchat.

Posted by: The Republican | February 27, 2006 11:27 AM

Not to mention that all George Allen has managed to do is ride his dad's coattails to political success, look pretty for the cameras, and tell Virginians what they should and should not be doing in the bedroom (like it's his business!!!). His depth meter reads about one micron. His intelligence meter is in the negative numbers.

Uh..guys? Shallow and pretty is OK for Miss America, but I'd rather have an adult with a brain in the White House!

How anybody could think this guy would win over McCain (hello? war hero? straight talk?) or Guiliani (hello? 9/11 hero?)?

Allen would be a disgrace to the ticket and an insult to voters.

Posted by: ick | February 27, 2006 11:31 AM

And yeah -- McCain is pro-Iraq. Because you're smart enough to not walk a party line straight into a ditch (every three seconds someboy in the GOP whines that McCain was critical of Bush's handling of the war) the same people who sink a national win moan and groan at every turn.

Posted by: The Republican | February 27, 2006 11:31 AM

Nicely done ick.

Good thoughts there!

Who do people want to risk someone like Giuliani -- his magnificent handling of 911 aside -- the guy turned a dying city around. Made it safer than it had been for years!

Posted by: The Republican | February 27, 2006 11:34 AM

Evan Bayh is a senator, not a governor. Just to set the record straight there.

If George Allen is elected president I may have to finally move to Canada. I can't stand to look at his smug face for four years after having to put up with 8 years of Bush.

Yeah, NYC may be cleaned up after Giuliani, but let's not forget the tactics he used to get it there. Remember all of the characitures of him as a fascist and as Hitler? Those didn't come out of thin air. He's had some image rehab by his leadership in the aftermath of 9/11, but I'm not sure Dems would be all that thrilled by him. For either Giuliani or McCain to get elected they have to get nominated which we all know is never going to happen.

Posted by: Glenn | February 27, 2006 11:54 AM

Nominate the effeminate tax-raising guy with the great hair? I forget: which swift boat did warner command?

Posted by: athea | February 27, 2006 12:01 PM

John McCain is by far the best of the bunch, if for no other reason than that he seems to keep in mind that he seems to give responsible government higher priority than the catering to - indeed the encouragement of - partisan suspicion and distrust. He is of course not perfect, and many who did not vote for the current regime will hesitate to support him, remembering the extent to which he compromised what seemed to be his principles during the 2004 campaign to support a president and a policy agenda the effects of which have been disastrous for American unity... the erosion of American personal freedoms (social, economic, and otherwise), America's stature in the global community, and American progress in the sciences and realm of education. The U.S. under Bush has pursued a "head-in-the sand," stubbornly counter-intuitive approach to the long-suffering American and global natural environment - the consequences of which will only worsen as time goes on with nothing done, has shown disdain for opinions better-informed and more complex than those espoused by Christian fundamentalists, and apparently has felt free to demonstrate to both the American people and the world at large that both laws passed by Congress and international obligations to which we have been a party mean only what the White House decides they mean, and no more. Add to that the revelation of secret deals and secret wiretaps which call into question what many of us thought were some very fundamental rights and freedoms we are supposed to enjoy as Americans, and the question of McCain's integrity becomes a crucial one. That said, he seems the Republican the least beholden to the disastrous hard-line ideological conservatism which has served this country so poorly over the past five years.

Posted by: Meuphys T. Rasbene | February 27, 2006 12:05 PM

If McCain starts to look good for the nomination, you'll hear lots of speculation about his health. I keep hearing the cancer word a lot. Warner's a stiff (remember Dukakis?). Allen's a yokel, Dubya redux. The only Repub not mentioned here so far is Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, who might be the best choice of all for the GOP.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 27, 2006 12:23 PM

One problem with the Allen for President bandwagon--the man who declared Terry Schiavo "conscious" is going to lose this year to Jim Webb.

Posted by: Arlington Joe | February 27, 2006 12:31 PM

Quit picking on Allen. He can't help it, his old man was a jerk too.

Remember, Allen was a 1 term congressman. He got to be Guv because there were just enough Bubbas in Va who liked the pictures of him, 2nd wife and family sitting on their living room couch below the stars and bars, and who were not ready to elect Mary Sue Terry to follow Doug Wilder. Family values anyone?

Terry went to sleep for the summer and let him get off the mat during their campaign. Later for Senate, Robb was tired, tired, tired.

Va is still paying for Allen's recklessness as Guv. His buyout/forceout of State employees decimated several agencies. The Richmond Times-Dispatch (RT-D) at the time bewailed that much of the damage to state institutions would take years to fully appear, and more years and lots and lots of future dollars to fix. VDOT was the prime example. When the blue moon shines and the RT-D picks on Repubs there's usually some sense to it. The proof is in the pudding. How do you like your transportation now Northern Va? You can thank George "The Jerk" Allen for many of the joys you're experiencing today, and yesterday and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Yeah, let's have him run for Prez and see how the rest of the country likes the simpering smirk and the Confederate battle flag. His Guv. Inauguration day quotes are eerie premonitions of Duhbya and Katrina "It's time to get the grimy boot of bloated bureaucracy off the backs of the people".

But there's a big variable. Will the Dems snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory yet again by running a Senate weenie or a coldly triangulating northeasterner? You could hear Turdblossom drooling over the prospects the other day.

Every winning Dem ticket since FDR has been headed buy a southerner with the exception of JFK, and he arguably only won in a squeaker because he embraced LBJ.

In addition, Warner has demonstrated he can work with what few moderates remain amongst the Dingbat Zombies of the right to form majorities that enact sensible legislation and run a good government.

Looks like a pretty sound case for Warner from here in the bowels of the beast way outside the beltway.

Posted by: cliff | February 27, 2006 12:49 PM

Larry Sabato polled that very question among Virginians recently (Warner vs. Allen for President in 08). Warner had a double-digit lead over Allen.

Mark Warner left office last month with well over a 70% approval rating. Allen has around a 54% approval rating and a poll last week pitting him against James Webb showed him at 49% for re-election. Based on the simple facts, it's absurd to suggest that Allen is even in the same league as Warner in Virginia.

Short of a dead girl or a live boy, Mark Warner has Virginia in his pocket. But do let's remember that if all other the states went in '08 as they did in '04, moving Virginia into the Blue column is still not enough to throw the race. Not that it's ever wise to assume that all those other states will vote as they did last time around.

Posted by: Jackson Landers | February 27, 2006 12:52 PM

When Reagan spoke at the GOP convention (Ford's nomination) practically every republican with any common sense realized the GOP and the republican community had made a huge mistake and nominated the wrong guy. Reagan was indeed his own man and the GOP has ridden his coat tails ever since. He wasn't just a master communicator; he was wise to just about every aspect of governing. And he wasn't just another politician; indeed most of the GOP was at odds with him before he became the GOP beacon. Bush (W) and Allen are merely a couple of wise-guys that have benefitted from the well-earned reputations of their fathers (I am a fan of both Allen the coach and Bush the oil-man/businessman) and their lack of luster in any capacity is obvious. Reagan drew the vote of many democrats because he inspired them. Although I wouldn't quite put Mark Warner in the same category as Reagan, I am one of many Virginia republicans that had the common sense to vote for an intelligent candidate who was also his own man. No doubt charisma goes a long way in politics. But look how far --along the wrong path-- incopetence has taken us with Bush at the helm. In a way I am grateful that Bush has been in office; maybe it will drive home the notion that in a democracy the voters get what they deserve.

Posted by: RR | February 27, 2006 12:53 PM

what puzzles me about Allen is that after how many years (6?) in the Senate, he is still not known for anything. Even in the DC area where Virginia politicians are regular news, one hears/reads 10 times as much about Sen. John Warner than about Allen. Can anyone cite a piece of legislation that he sponsored or that he was responsible for getting thru the Senate?

Posted by: ralph | February 27, 2006 1:34 PM

Good grief! Al is here, too, with his rubbish? He neglects to mention that George Allen is a doofus.

Posted by: Nick Jenkins | February 27, 2006 1:43 PM

Aside from the snide tone, I recall VA's history the same way that Cliff does, particularly the problems with VDOT. I think that RR has pretty much hit the nail on the head, too. As I recall, then Gov. Allen also had a hard time playing nicely with others. He had problems with the Delagates and/or Senators. I don't think that any Democratic Senator has a chance, but Warner would. Especially if he could get a VP candidate who didn't have presidential aspirations, but new the Hill.

Posted by: Ali | February 27, 2006 2:34 PM

As a Californian/Virginian by choice-- much like George Allen-- the chance that Allen would be the GOP standard bearer in '08 would expose the lack of depth on the republican bench (to use football terms the younger Allen is so fond of).

Allen swept into office as Governor of Virgninia over a weaker than weak opponent-- then proceeded to virtually nothing for the state during his (luckily mandated) on term.

One need harken back to his Inaugural address in which he promised to deal with 'liberals' by 'knocking their soft teeth down their whiny throats.'

For Allen to continue to this day to espouse his love for 'Jeffersonian Democracy' should make TJ spin out of his Monticello grave.
Remember, too, that Jefferson was a democrat.

George Allen's legacy as Governor was to ride the scare tide by attacking welfare, building more prisons and effectively scaring the pants off normally sensible Virginians.

These are the same Virginians who got swept up in the 'No Car Tax' promise of Jim Gilmore-- doubtless one of the most ineffective governors in the history of the Old Dominion.

Now, we have just witnessed four years of democrat Mark Warner, who ran the state like a business, bit the budgetary bullets and formed consensus across party lines.

The fall election of democrat Tim Kaine signals that Virginia's Warner-era wake up alarm continues to ring.

In short, Allen was no great shakes in Virginia. His faux cowboy act has brought little to the Commonwealth during his short term in Congress and too-long time in the Senate.

Is this the best the GOP has to offer?

The prospect of Allen succeeding a president who has plunged our nation into a misguided war, rang up the deficit like a drunk sailor on shore leave, trampled on the Constitution, lied to the American people and turned a blind eye to every domestic need would be tragic.

Do we really need another self-styled 'cowboy' who has even less hat and fewer cattle calling the shots?

Spare us, please.

How light could 'Bush Lite' be?

Posted by: Richard In Richmond | February 27, 2006 2:49 PM

Allen is a prettyboy brat and a clone of George W. dedicated to spineless party loyalty. He needs to survive the campaign against Webb (who I'm hoping gets the nomination) and even if Allen does, if he emerges battered and bruised, it's unlikely he'll be picked to run in '08. Warner on the other hand has lived the American dream rising himself up from obscurity and business failures to become a self-made millionare and the most popular Virginia governor in a generation. Warner is certainly the best hope for the Dems in '08. As for Allen, I'm confident that if he's chosen and the race is Allen-Warner, Warner will prevail because his stances on education and jobs appeals greatly to the Rust Belt and he won't subbornly refuse to break with any Democrat orthodoxy like Kerry. Also, Warner is much more comfortable in his own skin talking to rural folks and Southerners about issues that matter most to them.

Posted by: Mike | February 27, 2006 3:02 PM

Jackson has it right on. The question to ask is, what state will Warner (or Hillary) carry that Kerry didn't. And will it matter.

From the GOP perspective, McCain certainly carries NM, and probably carries California (because of his Arizona bona fides on illegal immigration), and I'd bet that Guliani carries NY, even over Hillary, who is viewed as a carpetbagger there. Allen? I don't see any blue-to-red takeovers with his candidacy.

Posted by: JD | February 27, 2006 3:16 PM

I think we've been had ...

It appears that Mr. Fisher just threw a couple of names at us to start something ... and we bit.

Think about it ... they throw Condi Rice at us and Hillary Clinton ... and Barrack Obama ... and off we go ...

As most postings have indicated, George Allen has absolutely nothing to offer in terms of a national platform ... but throw him in the mix for the purpose of a newspaper message board and it resonates with us political junkies even if just to trigger Bush nausea.

If Allen is the best the GOP can do then all is well because I actually have renewed confidence in the American voter (awakened by a Bush cold shower) and no way we would have Allen in the White House ... but I think the GOP can do better ... in fact, at the risk of inviting further Bush nausea, young Jeb is everything his brother is not ... but I'm afraid Bush exhaustion will set in and the GOP won't go there ...

The problem is not the GOP but the national Dem's ... the opportuntiy is ripe for presenting a viable alternative ... and coming off 8 years of W it shouldn't be hard ... and Gov Warner presents the juiciest of possibilities ... converting a very red state ... BTW do we think Louisiana and Mississippi voters aren't thinking payback ... think again

Posted by: RR | February 27, 2006 3:20 PM

Fair and balanced? "Gov. Bobby Golfclub "? Do you think this kind of stuff explains why most people watch Fox? You could at least pretend to be objective.

And I love when liberals give Republicans "advice" on who we should elect. We should've picked McCain in 2000, we should have dumped Cheney from the ticket in 2004...excuse me, but I think we've done just fine. Oh, and the idea that the regular-guy image is worn out...ask SENATOR Kerry about that one.

So, you liberals who are now running scared of Hillary (might have something to do with the fact that 51% of America has already said they would NEVER vote for her) think Mark Warner is your guy? Great for us. His early interviews and appearances show him to be weak and unsure of himself. Besides, the "how can you trust what he says" commercials because he raised taxes after he promised not to.

No matter who the Dems nominate, they still have to get past the national concensus that they are weaker on terror and defense. Nominating a one term gov who's been out of office for 3 years doesn't exactly change that perception. Good luck.

Posted by: Mark | February 27, 2006 3:23 PM

Mark, who was Reagan before becoming president? A two-term governor. Did W, Clinton, Reagan or Carter have foreign policy experience? Nope.
Also, Republicans might talk tough on defense (which is actually more like military agression and bullying in recent years) and fighting terror but invaded a nation that was no threat to us, have yet to capture bin Laden and have divided America's allies. And, no, the world is not safer after Saddam has been toppled; just ask nations attacked by al-Qaida or its sympathizers since then like England, Turkey, Indonesia, Russia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Bush's War on Terror has spawned incompetence, political and military opportunism, a serious affront to civil liberties domestically, arrogent military operations abroad, character assassination and -- in light of the recent debate over Dubai -- xenophobia. George W's presidency is a wound in the nation's heart.

Posted by: Mike | February 27, 2006 3:36 PM

How about those Maryland races--Gov. Bobby Golfclub vs. Martin O'Malley (or, because we're fair and balanced and all that, Doug Duncan), . . .

I am very opposed to Gov. Ehrlich, but can see why someone would wonder if you are "fair and balanced" if in print you use the same sarcasm I might say orally to my friend. Even more importantly, the Post is not "fair and balanced" in covering Doug Duncan. If you don't believe me, read all the stories about him since he announced his candidacy. They start off, in the lead paragraph of that story, by saying he has an uphill battle. However, at NO time has the Post run any of the polls showing that Duncan is gaining on O'Malley and would beat Ehrlich easily. Check it out.
thanks!

Posted by: Alan Banov | February 27, 2006 3:47 PM

Ahh, Richard. Read your history. Yes, Jefferson was a Democrat, but there has also be somthing of a transformation in political ideology over the years. Jeffersonian Democrats are not exactly the same as the Howard Dean Dems of today.

And some Viginians actually like a politician 'of the people'. The condescending attitude of liberals just doesn't play well with blue-color America. Some of us actually enjoyed the plummeting crime rates when Gov. Allen started abolishing parole and cracking down of gun violence. We enjoyed the lower taxes. And I have a hunch his views will play well nationally too...your loathing opinions notwithstanding.

And I love how liberals speak of the courage of Mark Warner. He pushed through a massive tax-hike on the middle and lower classes despite the fact that the economy had already rebounded and tax receipts were already projected to return to a surplus. Then, two months after they raise the taxes, wouldn't you know it, Richmond starts reporting record surpluses. But hey, it was courageous.

Posted by: Mark | February 27, 2006 3:55 PM

Ali, Glad you remember recent Va history about like I do.

But snide, that hurts. I'd take reality based, still angry at the damage Allen did to my state, and contemptuous of his smirking know nothing demeanor for starters. But snide, I sure wasn't trying to be either sly or week kneed liberal disparaging.

Allen was a one man disaster area as Guv. We were fortunate to move him along to the Senate where he's been just about as effective as Kerry, Biden, Daschle et al. The earlier comment about him being "talented" was what set me off. So was Bonzo, but he had a nicer smile.

The Dems have got a whole load of problems of their own, and that's another story for another day. If rational people don't drive wooden stakes through the hearts (figuratively folks - don't go Cheney on me) of the Dingbat Zombies from the right, they will rise from the dead to wreak more havoc on our children.

Posted by: cliff | February 27, 2006 4:07 PM

Oh boy, this is awesome, anytime I get a chance to rag on George Felix Allen I take it...Thank you Mr. Fisher. I really can't add more than has been said above, but I can add that he definitely is a clone of Dubya, and is a mean dirty campaigner, just ask anybody that has run against him. And as far as the country goes, having George Felix Allen after Dubya, we'd be in a hell of a mess. He's a redneck and will always be one--He'll shoot and ask questions later. And that's coming from a NASCAR fan. (go Jr)

Of course if he does win he should immediately hire Karl Rove, cause Pat Robertson's group has given him a rating of 100%. I'd rank George Felix Allen up there with Ralph Reed, Tom Delay and David Duke as far as extremism goes. It will be highly comical to see George Felix Allen trying to swing to the middle when the general election comes.

I am sure George Felix Allen wants Hillary to win the nomination, cause he hates her and has left over signs about Bill from 1992. Personally I don't want Hillary to run for President, cause she CAN NOT win, but Mark Warner is the GOP's worst nightmare--a businessman who knows how to manage!

And as far as Mark's comments go--your GOP party has gotten cockier than Bodie Miller, and quite corupt I might add so I think you might want to be a little more humble--How many GOP candidates will want Dubya to campaign for them? He really helped Kilgore didn't he.

Posted by: NL | February 27, 2006 4:18 PM

Evan Bayh was Governor of Indiana prior to being elected to the senate. His experience as governor is what he is going to trade on, much like George Allen. Any of these candidates realizes that to run on your senate experience -- something in essence they have little choice but to do -- is a deal killer. Governors become presidents, not senators. In fact, in the history of the American presidency, only three members of congress have ever been directly elected to the office of the presidency. The last was JFK. The executive experience and lack of speaking senate-ese seems crucial.

Posted by: The Republican | February 27, 2006 4:23 PM

Posted by: The Republican | February 27, 2006 4:25 PM

Mike, I agree. None of those former presidents had foreign policy experience. But Reagan was elected because of Carter's ineptitude in foreign affairs. Reagan rejected the status quo of detente and inferiority. His tough talk and positions on Soviet expansion and influence (and rebuilding America's deteriorating forces) made up for his lack of experience. Clinton, meanwhile, was elected after the fall of communism when America tried to pretend we had no more enemies. He won on a platform of change when we didn't have an evil empire to fear anymore. Bush 43 too. But at least Bush was governor of one of our largest states and a major border crossing from Mexico. He was able to play up that experience. It didn't help that red-state America didn't want to elect Al Gore.

Second, this was all pre-9/11. You can argue with the POV, but a majority of Americans perceive Dems as weaker on defense and terror. That's something that Mark Warner will have a hard time overcoming.

And third, what world are you living in? Because of the Bush presidency, the Kurds are no longer being slaughtered, the torture and rape rooms are closed down in Iraq, women are allowed to vote across the Middle East, elections are slowly spreading across the region (even when the results are not what we would like - Hamas?), Libya has renounced its weapons programs and is re-joining the world community, Lebanon is shaking off the oppresive influence of Syria, and countries across the region, from Pakistan and India to the UAE are working with us to defeat terrorism. Not everything is perfect, but it rarely is. And of course we would like to see progress move faster, but given the fact that democracy is a new and revolutionary idea in that part of the world, it shouldn't be a surprise that there will be set-backs along the way.

And the idea that the problems in that part of the world are caused by Bush's policies is absurd. Beirut, WTC 1993, USS Cole, CIA shootings, and 9/11 occurred before we invaded Iraq. Islamic terrorists declared war on us 30 years ago...we were just too slow to realize.

And dividing our allies? France? Please. The last time they were our ally they were begging us to stop Hitler before he finished marching accross Paris. I'll take our allies of Great Britain, Australia, Italy, and the entire Eastern Europe (who still remember what living under tyranny was like) over France and Germany anyday.

Posted by: Mark | February 27, 2006 4:26 PM

Please, charisma and George Allen should not be used together in the same sentence

Posted by: Vienna Voter | February 27, 2006 4:33 PM

George Allen, for what it's worth, took a National Review cover a few months back. From what I gather, he is the anointed for the crew who wants to see Bush redux.

Frist was their man, but the doctor simply imploded, and a few tongues still wag about Brownback, the Kansas senator, but that is a Hail Mary pass if ever there were one.

Recently, a Democratic friend invited me to sample an evening with Mark Warner in this exclusive Beverly Hills home. Morgan Fairchild was there. You get the picture.

Warner gave a talk. And I was impressed by his ability to understand the field. He also is twice the communicator John Kerry was, so it's not worth underestimating the fellow. Then again: Cartman on South Park and Subway Jared bury good old John Forbes.

Warner suffered the usual connection problem with his party's left though. A wealthy gal hammered him on gay marriage. And Warner provided no -- literally NO -- answer as to whether or not he would have voted for the Iraq War resolution if he were in congress. No one in big media is going to let him get away with that easily.

Giuliani?

Yeah, I remember all the ridiculous Nazi filth the Democrats threw at the man for cleaning up porn districts. That type of red meat only sticks with party loyalists so left they think sitting in trees to protest oil drilling (pardon the mixed metaphor; nothing's coming to me :)) is a reliable means of garnering public support.

The beauty of a Giuliani or McCain candidacy is this: They're competent. They're talented. And Gosh darn it, people like them.

These guys are already defined. Too late to backtrack and talk about how Giuliani didn't approve of the Virgin Mary smeared with feces and hanging in a Brooklyn Art Museum.

Have you looked around at this country? The place is far more conservative than it is liberal, and that America's mayor cares about what people decree art is, in many peoples' eyes, probably a selling point.

Chuck Hagel. He's a solid candidate, too -- but the world simply doesn't know the man, and he has nothing like the good mayor's record.

Posted by: The Republican | February 27, 2006 4:39 PM

I wouldn't be surprised to see the Bush/Allen people dump on John McCain like Karl Rove did in South Carolina(saying that McCain's wife was a addicted to some kind of drug and the comment about the child the McCains adopted being a little dark--Oh Karl you're a gem) To be honest with you McCain had a lot of ba_ _'s to come out and back Bush in 04 after South Carolina. If Bush doesn't back McCain--Bush is an ungrateful pin head. Of course I wouldn't blame McCain one bit if he didn't want Bush to campaign for him.

Posted by: NL | February 27, 2006 4:52 PM

Are we still referring to Mr. "Keating" McCain? The same guy who, after opposing every tax cut that has been proposed and enacted over the past five years, just recently flipped and has decided to support them? He's the media darling for going up against Bush in 2000, and truthfully he'd be ok as president. But there are plenty others that I would prefer.

McCain is a great American war hero (that sounds a little GI Joe, I know), but that doesn't automatically grant him the conservative vote (even if it does automatically disqualify him for the liberal vote). And why should Bush back him (or risk being "an ungrateful pin head")? He's been the most consistent thorn in Bush's side (on the Rep side) the past 6 years. Not exactly an endearing history.

Posted by: Mark | February 27, 2006 5:14 PM

Being a war hero doesn't disqualify McCain for the liberal vote. Lately, it's conservatives rather than liberals who have disparaged the military service of politicians.

Posted by: THS | February 27, 2006 5:19 PM

Just want to say that I agree 100% with George who posted at 10:57! It's so depressing that such a record has not provoked massive outrage in this country.

Re: the appeal of the "regular guy"-- I have never understood this. If folks are so enamored with George Bush (or whoever follows in his footsteps) because he is a regular guy, then invite him to your backyard barbeque--not to be president of the entire country!!


Posted by: Nancy | February 27, 2006 5:22 PM

>> invite him to your backyard barbeque--not to be president of the entire country!!


Funny you should say this. Before he was "elected" in 2000, I said he seemed like a decent enough guy and that it might be OK to invite him to a barbeque, but that I didn't want him to be president. Given what's happened since, I'm not so sure I'd want him at a backyard barbeque either!

Posted by: THS | February 27, 2006 5:29 PM

I agree with The Republican re Chuck Hagel. He is smart and principled, but I don't think he has much of a chance of being nominated, which I think is our loss. I generally, well, always vote for Democrats, but there are no Democrats that I like better than Hagel.

Posted by: THS | February 27, 2006 5:31 PM

Allen will be a very tough sell to independents and Democrats. If the GOP nominates him its a certainty that they will run a divisive race to pick up a bare majority or plurality like W. Bush. Allen = more red vs. blue America. On the other hand Warner could appeal to Independents and some moderate Republicans marking a historic step towards uniting and healing the country.

Posted by: Ekul | February 27, 2006 5:44 PM

McCain has the greatest chance of winning the general election for the GOP. And to me that says that a majority of Americans are moderates and reject the right wing activist politicians, like Allen--Allen will divide the country in much the same way his good friend George Bush did. Right now, Mark Warner, still the underdog in the primaries, has the best chance of winning the general election for the Dems. The Dems would be foolish to nominate Hillary Clinton--She's probably OK as a senator, but she's also the gift that keeps on giving for the GOP.

Posted by: NL | February 27, 2006 6:07 PM

It takes a better-than-the-average person to be president of the United States. Part of the problem is that Americans don't want an egghead (Adlai Stevenson, Gore) who speaks over their heads or acts like "but I'm the smartest guy in the class." America is more about producing dreamer, feel-good or empathetic presidents than ones who are more practical. For example, the Reagan tax cuts and military spending. Did it eventually hurt the economy? Yes (George Sr. had to help clean it up with taxes), but whether these policies were fiscally sound was not the point; the point was that they were popular, decisive and part of Reagan's ambitious nature.

Mark, I won't argue with you more on Bush's policies because we obviously won't be able to change either other's mind on defining post-9/11 foreign policy issues. (Frankly I'm surprised Bush hasn't touted the Libya truce more since it was a genuine achievement in diplomacy). As for presidential elections, I think Americans like governors more (only two presidents, Harding and JFK, were elected directly from Congress in the 20th century) because of executive experience and having played a role that demands more decisiveness and accountability.

I don't know for sure but does Allen have any foreign policy experience? Simply being a member of Congress doesn't give you foreign policy experience. When I think "foreign policy experience," I think military service, being a diplomat or ambassador, serving in the intelligence community, serving as a envoy for overseas conferences or serving on foreign policy-related congressional committees.

Posted by: Mike | February 27, 2006 6:10 PM

And, as NL pointed out, the Dems had better not nominate Hillary, unless New York and New England plan seceding after the 2008 election.

Posted by: Mike | February 27, 2006 6:11 PM

Allen would crush.

Posted by: Too Conservative | February 28, 2006 2:13 PM

It's time for George Allen to announce if he truly is going to run for President.

I think he should run. I also thing he should not run for re-election in the senate.

He is going to need to spend all of his free time making a serious bid at the presidency, so he should allow Virginia's to pick a new senator that is going to devote the time necessary to be a full time and soild representative of of the state.

Virginia's deserve a full time representative.

So George, due us a favor and announce your intentions not to seek re-election.

Give us Virginia's a chance to elect another Republican Senator.

Posted by: Bare | March 20, 2006 4:31 PM

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