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Can Mark Warner Be Beaten?

Today's decision by former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner to run for the seat being vacated by Sen. John Warner (R) has Democrats gleeful over the prospects of a pickup. Some are even predicting -- privately -- that the race is over before it begins.

So is it?

Warner brings considerable strengths to the race, starting with his stratospherically high poll numbers. Post polling done on Warner since he was first elected as governor in 2001 reveals a man whose favorability numbers have risen time and time again. In late October 2001 -- just days before he won the governor's race -- Warner's fav/unfav was at 62 percent/30 percent. Almost four years later, to the date, it was 75 fav/19 unfav. And, by mid-October 2006, as Warner was out on the stump regularly for Jim Webb, his fav/unfav stood at a similarly strong 73/20.

A Rasmussen Reports poll -- an auto-dialed survey so take it cum grano salis -- released earlier this week showed Warner with a 54 percent to 34 percent lead over former Gov. Jim Gilmore and a 57 percent to 30 percent lead over Rep. Tom Davis. (Both Gilmore and Davis are expected to run but will not announce their intentions until after the off-year November elections in Virginia.) Those familiar with private Democratic polling conducted of late insist that the Rasmussen numbers are roughly accurate.

Warner is so well-liked thanks to a multi-year strategy put in place in the runup to his 2001 race. During that time Warner redefined what it meant to be a Virginia Democrat. Rather than simply relying on winning a massive vote in the northern Virginia suburbs and other city centers, while losing the other geographic regions of the state badly, Warner went to the more traditionally conservative parts of the state to sell himself.

It worked. The Democrats' 1997 nominee, Don Beyer, had carried only the Richmond-area 3rd District and the Northern Virginia 8th District in his race against Gilmore. When Warner ran in 2000 he won six total districts including the vast 9th District, which takes in much of southwestern Virginia -- an area where Gilmore had triumphed with 57 percent of the vote just four years earlier. Warner also captured the Southside 5th District and the Tidewater region's 4th District -- both of which Gilmore won easily in 1997.

Warner's victory remade the Democratic Party in the state, providing a blueprint for victory for Gov. Tim Kaine in 2005 and Sen. Webb in 2006, and turning Virginia from a red to a purple state, er, commonwealth.

Republicans argue that Warner's stratospheric numbers have everything to do with the fact that no one has really laid a glove on him in years. During the 2001 campaign, Republicans sought to cast Warner as a tax-raiser but had too little too late to make any real difference against Warner who had been on television since the spring with ads seeking to insulate him from Republican attacks.

After the campaign, the state Republican party self-destructed over an illegal eavesdropping case, leaving Warner virtually unchallenged for the remainder of his term.

But, Republican strategists argue, that doesn't mean there aren't binders of opposition research on Warner. The key will be to cast Warner as a flip-flopper. Republican strategist Chris LaCivita, who is working for Davis, points out that Warner said he wouldn't raise taxes during the 2001 campaign and then pushed through a $1.5 billion tax increase in 2004 -- a measure Warner cast as necessary to fix Virginia's budgetary problems. Republicans then and since have cast the tax increase as unnecessary and are sure to do so again. "The hit is two fold -- its one thing to raise taxes....its another to do it after you promised you wouldn't," LaCivita added.

The problem for Republicans is this: It does not matter WHY Warner hasn't had to withstand a sustained negative attack on his record, the fact is he has not. And that means his approval ratings are not a flash in the pan; people genuinely like him and believe they know him. Republicans will undoubtedly be able to peel off some of that goodwill from Warner but, judging from his poll numbers, he has plenty to lose before he is in any real political jeopardy.

The other factor that makes Warner tough to topple is his fundraising capacity -- fueled by his personal wealth. Warner was an early adapter of cell phone technology (one of his standard stump lines is "When they ring you hear an annoying sound. I hear cha-ching, cha-ching.") and his personal fortune has been estimated at more than $200 million. Warner has also shown a willingness to spend from that fortune on his races, dropping $10 million in his unsuccessful challenge to Sen. John Warner in 1996 and another $5 million on his gubernatorial victory.

During his short-lived presidential campaign, Warner flexed his financial muscle -- collecting nearly $10 million for his Forward Together PAC before he dropped from the race in the fall of 2006.

Davis is no fundraising slouch himself, having built a national network of donors during his two terms as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. In 2006, Davis raised and spent roughly $2.75 million on his race despite facing only minimal Democratic competition. Gilmore faces serious questions about his fundraising ability as he was never able to raise serious sums for his quixotic presidential bid; the money he did raise came from a loyal group of core supporters, many of whom donated the federal limit to his campaign and therefore will be unable to contribute to any Senate effort. Either way, Warner will almost certainly outspend his Republican opponent with a combination of fundraising and personal donations.

The conclusion? Mark Warner sits in a unique position. He is well-known and well liked by Virginia voters and is certain to be well financed. But campaigns aren't decided on blogs, but on the ground with actual voters. At this time in the 2006 cycle, no one would have predicted Virginia Sen. George Allen would be bounced from the Senate. Strange things happened. Circumstances intrude on predictions. But, make no mistake: Mark Warner starts the race as a strong favorite.

By Chris Cillizza  |  September 13, 2007; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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I simply can't believe this news! I am so excited about Warner running for Senate. I agree with some other comments, this race is definitely his to lose. If (when) he wins VA will be completely blue!! This would be so satisfying, esp. to those of us who had to live through the Bush Years in VA. Kaine, Webb and now Warner, this is just great. I love Cillizza's use of the term "gleeful" in this article, because let me tell you, glee is certainly what I have been feeling since I heard this news!! Finally the tide has turned on VA Democrats, and it is good to be one!

Posted by: VA Democrat | September 14, 2007 2:49 AM | Report abuse

This is very good news for the Democrats. Here's hoping fellow former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen follows Mark Warner's lead.

Posted by: Ogre Mage | September 14, 2007 1:56 AM | Report abuse

The Republican party is in such dire straights now that all they have left to do is attack. Their agenda has completely failed in Virginia and failed nationally. So naturally, instead of trying to argue their candidates have better ideas, they just try to slime Warner right out of the gate with one of the Swift Boat sleazebags. Let's set the record straight. Jerry Kilgore hired sleazy hit men to try to smear Tim Kaine, but he used Warner's record to beat him. Do they seriously expect us to believe that Warner's popularity is due to the fact that they haven't criticized him? Also, that claim is factually inaccurate. Virginia voters like Gov. Kaine, who has followed in the footsteps of Gov. Warner. The Republicans will drive themselves into an even deeper hole in Virginia if they continue with their campaign of ideological purity and scorched earth politics.

Posted by: Q | September 14, 2007 1:15 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that Warner reckons he can be bipartisan in the Senate. If he can then all power to him, he seemed to do a good job in VA. But the US Senate is different.

If he does win it will show that bipartisan moderates can succeed. The US Senate needs more people like Chafee, Hagel, and Webb who can stand up to their parties occasionally in the name of principle.

Webb & Warner is a formidable delegation from VA if it occurs. And they both have the potential to be around for a while. For Davis, its now or never...

Posted by: JayPe | September 14, 2007 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Oh no. Another politician proclaiming to be the savior from partisanship. If Mark Warner disfavors partisan bickering, he sure is making a mistake stepping into the morass known as the Senate. There, he will have no choice but to step in line with Democratic positions and will be bickering just like everyone else. Look at Webb, towing the party line. Let's face it: We just don't have Senators acting "senatorial" -- standing up for what's right; they only stand up for their party. Seems like Warner will be wasting his talents if he joins the Senate; he could probably more effectively use his skills, and create the change he hopes for, outside that swamp.

Posted by: DnMn | September 13, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I don't know anything about Warner. I moved to NoVA last year and didn't really care about VA politics prior to that point. but after watching that video, maybe i'm being manipulated, but wow. It felt like he was speaking right to me about what i wanted and he was right. I don't care what party he is in that was exactly what i wanted to hear. so kudos!

Posted by: Meg | September 13, 2007 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Warner pushed the tax increase through WITH the help of Republicans who dominate both houses of Virginia's legislature.

Posted by: xtr | September 13, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Boko - What I knew about the NIE in 2002
sounded like this:

It was repeated by French, Russian, Brit, and American sources everywhere.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | September 13, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"A malady endemic to the Web is that much of the Netroots is essentially narcissistic."

You wouldn't believe how boring they can be agreeing with themselves.

Posted by: Mirror | September 13, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Got a chance to look in, and still wonder if proud was disappointed by Sen. McCain's questioning, as I was. I also wrote to proud this morning:
"It was fair to ask Petraeus about JimD's plan to secure the borders, chase AQ, and train, because he and Crocker both were admitting that the best results were in the provinces, not in Baghdad."
I am assuming that you agreed that was fair questioning and that you were objecting to the questioning of the general's integrity rather than the questioning about what was the utility of the tactical successes for policy making.
DCAustinite, I hate open casket funerals, but Clifford Antone was in his coffin in a baseball cap.
Dave! - " our current and future relations with the countries of the ME need to be considered in our actions in Iraq." Many of us agree, but thought Bush 41 understood that and Bush 43 does not.
drindl - did not see NYT article but will look; heard the Iran story yesterday and made a veiled reference to it at 7:46A. Happy New Year to you.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | September 13, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Andy, in Va. "heck" is still a common phrase. I live on the NC/Va. border. Why in the heck do you think Mark Warner is so popular in rural Va.?

I agree with the commentators that Mark/John Warner are also friends. However, J. Warner had made it fairly clear that Tom Davis is his choice to replace him for the seat, this is a reason that I believe Tom Davis will run for the US senate seat. As for those poll numbers showing Gilmore running a more convincing race than Davis doesn't represent reality at the end of this campaign. I disagree with your assessments that Davis won't run, I think he will run for the US senate seat. I also think J. Warner will stump for Davis against Gilmore and against M. Warner and help Davis with fundraising. The reason, I believe, is b/c J. Warner will push Tom Davis to run, even if it's against Mark Warner. J. Warner knows this is his senate seat and, in the campaign, Davis will be able to compare J. Warner's record to his own in congress. If I'm not mistaking, when Mark Warner pushed the tax increases to balance the budget J. Warner said "Politics be damned, let's stand up for what's right for the commonwealth." But he will likely back Tom Davis and stump for him as if though he's defending his own seat.

That being said, a M. Warner vs. Tom Davis race will be extremely close and competitive. I'm not sure who will actually win the seat. If Gilmore gets a convention in the primary, I know surely M. Warner will win. But if Davis prevails in the primary, as i think will happen, it will be a very tight race.

Posted by: reason | September 13, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I agree with those bemoaning the sorry state of the conversation today when compared with yesterday. Zouk, yesterday you discussed issues on their relative merits, and while I didn't always agree, I was at least able to get some idea of your reasoning. it was refreshing. Today it's back to 'moonbats' and mockery. why?
Drindl, off topic, but I just saw your post on the previous thread in re: Allmans and 'whipping post.' One of my favorite bands, and one of my favorite songs... I am ashamed to say that I have only seen the Allmans once, but at least Dickey Betts was still in the band. I don't suppose you were fortunate enough to see them with Duane? THAT was a legendary lineup, although the current group is pretty hot in their own right. OK, enough about music...

Posted by: Bokonon | September 13, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

People at home tire of wars mainly because of the battlefield, not because of politics. And the battlefield in Iraq has manifestly improved, no matter how many examples can be found of recalcitrant militias. As a political matter, the measurements Gen. Petraeus presented of the counterinsurgency's progress are too wide and deep to be decisively refuted. The Democrats picked at the numbers but never undermined the core message. The "cumulative trajectory," said Mr. Crocker in ambassadorspeak, is upward.

More evidence that the politics of Iraq is losing altitude is that committee Democrats spoke less about violence and more about "reconciliation." Assuredly, if violence still floated, they wouldn't have spent so much time on Nouri al-Maliki and the internal politics of Iraq. The Democrats in Congress have become habituated to having outside forces, a deus ex machina, create and carry their arguments for them on the war. They waved opinion polls, which worked because the insurgency delivered so much bloodshed to the front pages. The Petraeus counterinsurgency has reduced that effect. So now the authority repeatedly cited at the hearings was the Government Accountability Office on reconciliation. The GAO isn't going to grip the public.

The hearings hurt Dems at the margins of the military debate as well. They've proposed, for instance, pulling U.S. troops back into primarily a "counterterrorism" role. But the hearings let Prof. Petraeus, an acknowledged expert on the subject, deliver a quick tutorial: "To do counterterrorism requires conventional as well as all types of special operations forces, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets." If the goal is to take away sanctuary from al-Qaeda terrorists, Gen. Petraeus said, "that is something that is not just done by counterterrorist forces per se but . . . by conventional forces as well." The ability to make these distinctions may be the reason the surge is producing progress.

Now, it appears, the next argument is going to be over troop levels. Led by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, congressional Democrats have spent their majority so far seeking a troop-pullout date, and failing for lack of 60 votes in the Senate. That isn't going to happen now. After Mr. Bush in his speech tonight announces a 30,000 troop reduction by next summer, a prolonged argument over this or that troop level will be too arcane to move the public.

As a political debate, the Iraq war has been drained. There's not much more to get out of it. The hearings proved that. The one fresh, forward-moving issue that emerged from the hearings, raised by Joe Lieberman, was whether we should crack back at Iran (or Syria), which is costing American lives in Iraq. But for Democrats, this subject is off the table. So what does that leave them for the next 14 months? Are they going to bet the ranch on Iraq being in flames next fall? Most likely, it won't be. If Iraq gradually improves, most Americans will be relieved or rejoice. If Net-rooted Democratic candidates can't bring themselves to do that, they need to change the subject.

Posted by: what will I tantrum about | September 13, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Great analysis. But, the simple answer to the simple question you titled this entry with is: NO.
This race in Virginia will provide our largest victory margin among Democratic pick-ups in the Senate.
While I was hoping for an Obama/Warner ticket, the good news is that Obama has to be the frontrunner for the VP slot now that Warner is no longer available.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

It was expected that the Petraeus-Crocker hearings would be two days of high drama. They were not. Gen. Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker were questioned about Iraq by Democrats on three full committees, including five candidates for the presidency, and the hearings were flat. Could it be the air is going out of Iraq as a hot political issue?

If true, it is good news. Good news, first of all, for this country, whose people may have grown tired of the war but are more so with the war's corrosive domestic politics.

Good news, too, for the Democrats. The Democrats in Congress need to put some space between themselves and the Web-footed antiwar movement.'s "General Betray Us" ad in the New York Times made it difficult for any Democrat to breathe fire at Gen. Petraeus. pre-used all that political capital. A malady endemic to the Web is that much of the Netroots is essentially narcissistic. That ad proved it's more about them than about elected Democrats. The politicians had better figure this out. A marriage of two narcissists often proves difficult.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

In yesterday's congressional hearings, Gen. David Petraeus suggested that he will withdraw 30,000 troops from Iraq next summer:

Based on all this and on the further progress we believe we can achieve over the next few months, I believe that we will be able to reduce our forces to the pre-surge level of brigade combat teams by next summer without jeopardizing the security gains that we have fought so hard to achieve.

Petraeus claimed that "progress" in Iraq allows the United States to begin withdrawing troops. But in reality, security and political progress in Iraq is nonexistent. Petraeus, who has said he wants to stay in Iraq for 9-10 years, is in fact reducing troop levels next summer because the escalation has overstretched and overburdened the military to its breaking point.

Under Petraeus's plan, troops will be finishing this "token" withdrawal right before the Nov. 2008 elections, and the administration appears to be planning to take political advantage of this fact.

In July, Rove spoke at the Aspen Ideas Festival and reportedly stated, "Iraq may not be a big issue in the next election because...troops will be coming home by then."

But while the Bush administration is going to withdraw a nominal amount of troops before the elections, it then plans to continue staying the course. The Aspen Daily News reported in July on more of the White House's strategy:

Overall, Rove said the goal was to make the "U.S. combat footprint smaller," but he also surmised later in the interview that when the next president is sworn in on Jan. 21, 2009, plenty of American troops would still be in Iraq.

Recall that Bush's strategy on Iraq is to "get us in a position where the presidential candidates will be comfortable about sustaining a presence," and to ultimately "stay longer."

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Your sock puppets are sure busy today, koz..cutting and pasting as fast as thy can...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

And you though the Moveon.Org ad was something. You ain't seen nothin' yet. There is no hole so deep that the modern left considers it unnecessary to keep digging. In other words, the demonization of David Petraeus has just begun.

The lefties at the Daily Kos and Think Progress are both giving a lot of play to the following quote that Admiral William Fallon allegedly (much more on that in a bit) made about his underling David Petraeus during their first meeting in Baghdad last March. The Daily Kos and Think Progress report Fallon called Petraeus "an ass-kissing little chicken-sh*t."

I know what you're thinking. For reputable outfits like the Daily Kos and Think Progress to report such an incendiary comment, the remark must be impeccably sourced. Well...

The original report of the comment, the scoop if you will, came in something called the "Inter Press Service News Agency," or "IPS" as the organization bills itself. What? You've never heard of this IPS and find yourself curious about who and what it is? IPS describes itself this way on its website: "IPS, civil society's leading news agency, is an independent voice from the South and for development, delving into globalisation for the stories underneath. Another communication is possible." I don't know what any of that means either, but I figure I'd share it with you and put it our there for deconstruction.

A couple of things about this IPS "scoop". IPS reported the alleged exchange on September 12, or yesterday to you and me. The alleged exchange occurred back in March. You also might wonder how IPS got this juicy nugget. Did Admiral Fallon put a call into the news agency renowned for "delving into globalization"? Hardly. IPS got the story from "Pentagon sources familiar with reports of the meeting." Mind you, IPS didn't just use just anonymous Pentagon source who might have seen the exchange. IPS relied on sources who not only didn't witness the exchange, but didn't even talk to people who witnessed the exchange. They were just "familiar with reports of the meeting." Allegedly.

Here's the kicker. Both Think Progress and the Daily Kos report IPS's "scoop" like it's a fact. Think Progress qualifies its reportage of Fallon's comment merely by saying, "Inter-Press Service suggests animosity between the two might be one reason for Fallon's absence" and then hits its readers with the quote. Think Progress does not bother to note the flimsiness of IPS's reporting, nor does it bother to say exactly who and what IPS is. Maybe IPS is a household name where "delving into globalisation" is de rigueur, but I doubt it.

The Daily Kos does even worse. In happily relating Fallon's alleged comment, Daily Kos front pager BarbinMD doesn't even mention IPS. She doesn't even link to IPS, a tacit admission of what a pile of hooey their report is. Instead, Dr. Barbin oddly chose to link back to Think Progress's report on the matter.

And thus in the modern left's eyes, a Four Star General who has served his country for decades becomes "an ass-kissing little chickensh*t." And once again, the rest of the country is left to wonder about our nation's far left: Have they no decency?

Posted by: no linkls needed, we just make it up | September 13, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

'Okay, if this isn't portrayed as a major gaffe, with wall-to-wall condemnations from the pundits, it'll be stunning. (Editor's note: That was meant to be bitterly ironic.)
I've just received some advance excerpts of an interview CNN's Wolf Blitzer has done with GOP House leader John Boehner. It's set to air this afternoon. Take a look at this chunk:

BLITZER: How much longer will U.S. taxpayers have to shell out $2 billion a week or $3 billion a week as some now are suggesting the cost is going to endure? The loss in blood, the Americans who are killed every month, how much longer do you think this commitment, this military commitment is going to require?
BOEHNER: I think General Petraeus outlined it pretty clearly. We're making success. We need to firm up those successes. We need to continue our effort here because, Wolf, long term, the investment that we're making today will be a small price if we're able to stop al Qaeda here, if we're able to stabilize the Middle East, it's not only going to be a small price for the near future, but think about the future for our kids and their kids.

Note that Boehner is specifically answering a question about troop deaths here -- which he calls a "small price," should we win the war.'

I seriously doubt that the 4,000 families who have lost a son or daughter or husband or wife or brother or sister consider it a 'small price.' there really is no limit the callous heatlessness of the chickenhawks.

Posted by: 'small price' | September 13, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Rudy Calls on NY Times For Equal Time
Posted by: Matt Lewis at 2:17 PM
Nifty PR idea, here ...

Rudy Giuliani wants the same ad rate the NY Times gave (He wants to run an ad that opposes the MoveOn ad ...)

Posted by: go rudy | September 13, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Petraeus was also very specific in his formal testimony to Congress about the consequences of a withdrawal plan that was more rapid than the one he and Crocker had recommended.

His statement said: "Rapid withdrawal would result in the further release of the strong centrifugal forces in Iraq and produce a number of dangerous results, including a high risk of disintegration of the Iraqi Security Forces; rapid deterioration of local security initiatives; Al Qaeda-Iraq regaining lost ground and freedom of maneuver, a marked increase in violence and further ethno-sectarian displacement and refugee flows; alliances of convenience by Iraqi groups with internal and external forces to gain advantages over their rivals; an exacerbation of already challenging regional dynamics, especially with respect to Iran."

In contrast, Reid said the following in his press conference: "It's time to reduce our large combat footprint and to fight in other areas to make this country safer....We are determined to put into law, [a measure] to significantly reduce the number of American troops below the pre-surge level."

Posted by: Reid my lips | September 13, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Barnett Rubin relays a message from a well-connected friend in Washington on the Cheney Administration's plans to roll out a military confrontation with Iran in September. He writes at the Global Affairs blog:

" My friend had spoken to someone in one of the leading neo-conservative institutions. He summarized what he was told this way:

They [the source's institution] have "instructions" (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don't think they'll ever get majority support for this--they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is "plenty."

Of course I cannot verify this report. But besides all the other pieces of information about this circulating, I heard last week from a former U.S. government contractor. According to this friend, someone in the Department of Defense called, asking for cost estimates for a model for reconstruction in Asia. The former contractor finally concluded that the model was intended for Iran."


Posted by: it's already started | September 13, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

No family in public life has so long a record of misbehavior as the Clintons. Often they get caught red-handed. Their record began in Arkansas and has continued on the national scene. According to anonymous Democratic sources, the Clintons were warned about Hsu but took the money anyway. Back in Arkansas, every gubernatorial campaign Bill Clinton ran was surrounded by either questionable donations or questionable bank loans or both. His two presidential campaigns featured illegal campaign donations, often from shadowy Asian fellows just like Hsu. Doubtless this behavior will continue.

Along with campaign-finance violations there are the Clintons' other scrapes with the law -- all go back to Arkansas and will continue as long as they are in public life. The Democrats could save themselves a lot of disappointments by finding a cleaner presidential nominee than Hillary. The press cannot be manipulated forever, can it?

Posted by: emmett | September 13, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I forgot where I saw this, but I saved it for such days as this one:

A recent Newsweek poll pegged Bush's approval numbers at 28 percent.

Twenty-five percent of Americans believe The Surge is working.

According to a seperate AP poll, 25 percent of Americans believe that Jesus Christ will return to Earth in 2007.

And according to the National Institute of Mental Health 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.

Posted by: Political Junkie | September 13, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I would not expect the Clintonistas to wise up and recognize the Clintons for the ethically insouciant couple that they are. Yet when will the press recognize this and get tired of being manipulated? Now that the Clintons are admitting to a much larger campaign fraud, will they release the names of those who donated the $850,000? Will the press demand it? Earlier reports in the Wall Street Journal made it pretty clear that some of Hsu's orchestrated donors could not possibly afford the donations they have made. So who are the others? Equally important, how did Hsu and his friends come up with all that money? When he returned to California to address the 1991 felony conviction that he had skipped out on, he put up a $2 million bond. Where did that money come from?

Posted by: corrupt clintons | September 13, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

And then, as scheduled, in January 2005, millions of citizens in a country that has never had a free election risked their lives to cast ballots in a free democratic election. They've voted twice more since then.

Now our forces are killing lots of al-Qaida jihadists, preventing another terrorist attack on U.S. soil, and giving democracy in Iraq a chance -- and Democrats say we are "losing" this war. I think that's a direct quote from their leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, but it may have been the Osama bin Laden tape released this week. I always get those two confused.

OK, they knew what Petraeus was going to say. But we knew what the Democrats were going to say. If liberals are not traitors, their only fallback argument at this point is that they're really stupid.

Posted by: who to surrender to next? | September 13, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

The fact that Davis got 30% in that poll you mentioned is a positive sign for him (assuming the poll was statewide). Davis is much less known than Gilmore is across the state, so Davis has room to gain support in the traditionally republican SW areas of VA.

I see his popularity in Northern VA coupled with his Republican/conservative affiliation and potential to gain support in the Rural areas as a sign that he can definatly compete.

As far as Gilmore though, I don't think there is any room to gain on the 34%.

Posted by: Paul S | September 13, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

We took Baghdad in about 17 days flat with amazingly few casualties. There were no al-Qaida attacks in America, no attacks on Israel, no invasion by Turkey, no attacks on our troops with chemical weapons, no ayatollahs running Iraq. We didn't turn our back on the Kurds. There were certainly not 100,000 dead American troops.

But liberals soon began raising yet more pointless quibbles. For most of 2003, they said the war was a failure because we hadn't captured Saddam Hussein. Then we captured Saddam, and Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean complained that "the capture of Saddam has not made America safer." (On the other hand, Howard Dean's failure to be elected president definitely made America safer.)

Next, liberals said the war was a failure because we hadn't captured Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Then we killed al-Zarqawi and a half-dozen of his aides in an air raid. Then they said the war was a failure because ... you get the picture.

The Democrats' current talking point is that "there can be no military solution in Iraq without a political solution." But back when we were imposing a political solution, Democrats' talking point was that there could be no political solution without a military solution.

They said the first Iraqi election, scheduled for January 2005, wouldn't happen because there was no "security."

Noted Middle East peace and security expert Jimmy Carter told NBC's "Today" show in September 2004 that he was confident the elections would not take place. "I personally do not believe they're going to be ready for the election in January ... because there's no security there," he said.

At the first presidential debate in September 2004, Sen. John Kerry used his closing statement to criticize the scheduled Iraqi elections saying: "They can't have an election right now. The president's not getting the job done."

Posted by: party of whiny babies | September 13, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Democrats claim Gen. David Petraeus' report to Congress on the surge was a put-up job with a pre-ordained conclusion. As if their response wasn't.

Democrats yearn for America to be defeated on the battlefield and oppose any use of the military -- except when they can find individual malcontents in the military willing to denounce the war and call for a humiliating retreat.

On Sept. 14, 2002, The New York Times' Frank Rich warned of another al-Qaida attack in the U.S. if we invaded Iraq, noting that since "major al-Qaida attacks are planned well in advance and have historically been separated by intervals of 12 to 24 months, we will find out how much we've been distracted soon enough."

This week makes it six years since a major al-Qaida attack. I guess we weren't distracted. But it looks like al-Qaida has been.

Posted by: Ann C. | September 13, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Barring any unforseen circumstances, I don't see how Warner loses (based on R candidates now). With Gilmore, you're going to alienate Northern virginia. With Davis, you're not going to be able to pick up southern and rural Virginia since Warner has made so many inroads. I just don't see where, and how, Davis or Gilmore pick off enough votes to beat Warner.

Posted by: chilidogger | September 13, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

My post today is about Thompson's candidacy... and, Nixon's opinion of him, George Will's opinion of him, and what I imagine most likely will soon be the general opinion of him when people find out he's just a Bush retread.

Posted by: Truth Hunter | September 13, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Colin - We don't beleive that the first impulse to balance the budget should be raise taxes. the congress spent too much and was punished. this along with the six year itch was the reason for the switch, not the war as Libs claim.

Look at Liebermann and the approval ratings of congress as they attempted to surrender if you doubt me.

Now that the lesson may be learned, you can count on Rs and DINOs running on less spending. Note the contrast between this position and the Dem presidential candidates and even the Dem committee chairs - the moldy oldy school.

time for some bleach to clean out the fossils. Most of the free -spending Rs are gone or are retiring. this is essential for our pending victory. Watch as the Dems in congress run from surrender and taxing to avoid electoral defeat next year.

But Warner won't be able to hide from this. It is his Achilles heel.

Posted by: kingofzouk | September 13, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

drindl, I paraphrased. I think its a reasonable interpretation.

Help Not Wanted
By Robert D. Novak

Thompson's burial, nevertheless, is premature. The conditions persist that caused him, an actor supposedly finished with politics, to emerge suddenly in March as his party's potential savior. The leading Republican contestants -- Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and John McCain-- all have glass jaws in the view of neutral Republican Mike Murphy (though Murphy says Thompson does as well). The Republican electorate is still looking for the forceful, dynamic conservative many have thought Thompson might be.

Posted by: bsimon | September 13, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

The liberal media and the Post didn't do Allen in, he did himself in and YouTube did the rest by exposing him for what he is.

Replacing a well-liked Warner with another well-liked Warner seems to be a no brainer. One thing I do agree with KOZ about.... Hillary will bring out the GOP vote.... and that may eat a bit into what should be Warner's comfortable margin in the general, although I can't imagine it will sink him.

Posted by: Truth Hunter | September 13, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Romney's Master Plan
By David S. Broder

One of his strategists with deep roots in New Hampshire told me that his sense is that Republican voters are depressed by the Democratic victories of 2006 and that they feel leaderless as the Bush administration limps through its final months and Republicans in Congress find themselves fending off challenges to their own credibility on Iraq and other issues.

"If anyone can provide a rallying point for the party -- give them something that offers hope of success -- that person can move quickly to the front," this adviser said. "But you have to find the message."

That is the main challenge that Romney -- along with the others -- faces.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Well, I see you're back to ignorant coward unsigned posts and incoherent attacks on dems by sock puppets, koz. Too bad.

'that the Repub party is without leadership' bsimon -- novak said THAT? Got link?

I agree, but it's strange to hear him say it.

Posted by: drindl | September 13, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

KOZ -- if Warner's tax increase plan is so unpopular, help me understand why polling all showed popular support for it and he LEFT office with an approval rating of 75%. You know, AFTER the tax increase happened -- thereby saving the commonwealth's AAAA bond rating.

If folks in Virginia are "conservative," it's in the traditional conservative mold. In other words, they agree with Harry Byrd and that you pay as you go and that deficits are bad. Worse even than tax increases. This next election, I suspect, will reflect that view as Democrats are poised to retake the State senate and possible the house of delagates as well.

On, and neither Webb nor Warner ran as republicans. They're both unabashadly pro-choice and generally liberal on social issues. Heck, Webb explicitly came out against the same sex marriage amendment during his campaign and wrote a SCATHING op-ed in the WSJ talking about the need for economic justice. Doesn't sound like a "conservative" to me. They just both value balancing the check book. Admittedly a novel concept for the modern GOP.

Posted by: Colin | September 13, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday brought would-be fulminator and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, railing against the general's promised reduction of 30,000 troops by next summer: It is "unacceptable to me, it's unacceptable to the American people," he said. But here, "unacceptable" apparently means that Mr. Reid plans to go along. His solution is to blame the ordeal on Senate Republicans. "I call on the Senate Republicans to not walk lockstep as they have with the president for years in this war," he said. "It's time to change. It's the president's war. At this point it also appears clear it's also the Senate Republicans' war." The grain of truth from Mr. Reid here is that Senate Republicans are indeed emboldened right now. Mr. Warner, whose total defection to the antiwar caucus might well have doomed the war effort, has not happened.

Posted by: piiful excuse for a leader - Reid | September 13, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

"quotes an unnamed Republican analyst"

Dem facts - yet a uniformed american
general can't be trusted.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

'Negotiations over the proposed Iraqi oil law, seen by many in Washington as a key to political stability, are crumbling as the leaders of the northern Kurdish region continue to sign deals with oil companies under their own oil law.'

MarkaA--re our discussion over the Hunt Oil deal --wondered if you saw this today?

Posted by: drindl | September 13, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"Mark Warner will not have a "macaca" moment, because the liberal media, especially the Post, won't create one!" - Bob

Was that a holograph of Senator Allen playing to the Rednecks by trying to insult somebody born in Virginia as if he were an immigrant? And all along I thoughtit was actaully the Senator.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Of course not. Most Virginian's are easily duped clods that will confuse the two candidates becasue of the last name. As exhibit "A", I present "loudmouth voter". Assuming these inbred fools can find their way to the ballot box, a pretty big "if", they will vote for the first set of scratchings that seem familiar.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

The saga of the scandal-plagued Democratic fundraiser with ties to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton took another strange twist after he mailed a suicide note last week to a legal organization.

The text was strangely in Hillary's own handwriting.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

drindl writes
"bsimon--Will has been quite reasonable lately. And everything that I've read about Thompson suggests he sounds like a confused old man every time he addresses a crowd. Did you read Gail Collins column in the nYTimes today? She mentions his comments that part of the reason al-queda is 'losing in Iraq' is because they banned smoking. I mean, wtf?"

I didn't see the article you cite, but have heard of Thompson's 'smoking' explanation for the aQ losses. What's he smoking?

What I did read was Novak's piece, in which he printed another ongoing bsimon opinion: that the Repub party is without leadership, that all of their candidates are fatally flawed (he says they all have glass jaws) and none appear ready to be the new standard bearer for what it means to be a Republican or Conservative. Fascinating.

Broder, also today, quotes an unnamed Republican analyst who also makes this observation.

Posted by: bsimon | September 13, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

drindl, go back and look at the tone and tenor of the blog when you weren't here yesterday and then examine it now that you are spewing your hate. when ignorant coward, Jane, Loud and dumb, JEP, drindl and the rest of the envious and haters are absent, this blog is actually worthwhile. Otherwise - Not. notice these kooks are all dues paying members of Kos and moveon.

I made the mistake of assuming that perhaps you had recovered from your moonbattiness. you have not.

//ignore moonbats ON //

Posted by: kingofzouk | September 13, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

"if you vote to raise taxes you are an actual D." - Zouk

Didn't we all really suspect what Zouk just confirmed?

The GOP is officially now the FLP.

The Free Lunch Party.

Ice cream and pony rides for eveybody! And we never have to pay!


Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I can't help responding to the troll...
"and our economy can go into a giant bubble again."

This week's news: US dollar hits 15 year low. Let's see... Last time dollar was this weak, was when... Why, that was the LAST Bush administration!

Its the Economy Stupid!

Posted by: bsimon | September 13, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

'or not getting Bin Laden when he was presented on a silver platter.'

You mean in Tora Bora? The rest of your post is just your usual level of attack drivel and dittohead talkng points. The idea that we won't have a terrorist attacks by al-queda out of Pakistan [where all the attacks are coming from] because we are in Iraq is siimply the most logic-defying idea I have possibly ever heard, yet the simple among you continue to beleive it. So I will do as I usually do, which is scroll past you and your incoherent sock puppets.

bsimon--Will has been quite reasonable lately. And everything that I've read about Thompson suggests he sounds like a confused old man every time he addresses a crowd. Did you read Gail Collins column in the nYTimes today? She mentions his comments that part of the reason al-queda is 'losing in Iraq' is because they banned smoking. I mean, wtf?

Posted by: drindl | September 13, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Warner's early and absolte frontrunner status can be dangerous. There are plenty of Virginia GOP politicos, like LaCivita and Mike McSherry that will be chomping at the bit to be a part of this race.

Posted by: Kramer | September 13, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

fear and smear campaigns that try to malign and destroy decent people as most of us are.

Posted by: drindl | September 13, 2007 12:47 PM

Oops. Back off the meds, I want to live in a rotting, crony-ridden third world country... their propeller beanie-wearing wingnuts ..

All you can do is resort to idiotic attacks.

Posted by: drindl | September 13, 2007 01:30 PM

drindl speaks - fear and smear indeed. and idiotic attacks of course.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

"Just yesterday on CNN, Wolf Blitzer asked John Boehner, the leader of the GOP in the House, this question (video on Horse's Mouth):

"The loss in blood, the Americans who are killed every month, how much longer do you think this commitment, this military commitment is going to require?"
And Mr. Boehner responded:

"The investment that we're making today will be a small price if we're able to stop al Qaeda here, if we're able to stabilize the Middle East, it's not only going to be a small price for the near future, but think about the future for our kids and their kids."
What a stunningly cavalier statement about the lives of the young men and women who serve our country.

Whether you support or oppose the Bush escalation, no American should ever for even a moment think the cost of war is small.

A single life is a large price to pay for any endeavor. Sometimes, in our national interest, we choose to pay that awful price, but we must always make sure that the policy is worthy of it.

Visit our wounded warriors at Walter Reed hospital and ask whether the price they paid was small. Talk to the mothers, fathers, husbands and wives of those who have been killed and ask them to measure the price of war. Young lives stopped short, children who won't have a mother or father there as they grow up, when they graduate, when they get married -- that loss is many things, but it is not small.

Where is Representative Boehner's apology? And where is an Iraq policy equal to our soldiers' tremedous sacrifice?


Posted by: John Kerry (support the troops) | September 13, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I am a Republican, but do think Mark Warner has gravitas, is the real deal and has a future in national politics. He should win the Senate seat.

Mark Warner will not have a "macaca" moment, because the liberal media, especially the Post, won't create one! Since Warner will likely have the lead in the polls in '08, and the Republican nominee will have to attack him to have a chance, the Post will piously sermonize about negative ads and mean-spirited campaigns...conveniently forgetting how the Post's biased coverage smeared George Allen.

Posted by: Bob | September 13, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Imagine basing a country's energy and economic policy on an incomplete, unproven theory -- a theory based entirely on computer models in which one minor variable is considered the sole driver for the entire global climate system. This is precisely what Al Gore, U.S. Senate environment committee chairman Barbara Boxer and others want their nation to do. They expect Americans to accept on blind faith the thesis that human carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are causing catastrophic climate change.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Osama bin Laden, D-Afghanistan?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Nashville, Tenn. -- A lawsuit accusing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton's brother of failing to repay debts to a Tennessee carnival operator has been settled. Tony Rodham was accused of failing to repay $107,000 plus interest to the bankrupt estate of Edgar Allen Gregory Jr. and his wife, Vonna Jo, both of whom received a presidential pardon in 2000.

Posted by: pardon for sale - family discount | September 13, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

'Wars cost money and you want to continue this one indefintely, by borrowing from the Chinese government. Tell me why you think this is coherent and logical."

Because all else doesn't matter if we are all blown up. It is really that simple drindl. and we wish to end it ASAP, not retreat and then return to fight another day.

"a rotting, crony-ridden third world country" - like the Dem controlled banana republic of DC you mean? Or the Dem controlled big dig? Or the Dem controlled Big Easy?

"the fiscally responsible Republican leaders" -= were voted out of office last year for their actions.

"as our infracstructure decays" - due to all the spending priorities of the Libs, who only know how to raise taxes to pay for things. Never cut a thing in your entire lives - but try to cut the military every chance you get.

We have clinton 1 to thank for not being prepared for this war and for hollowing out the CIA and for not getting Bin Laden when he was presented on a silver platter.

Yeah, let's go back to those days. Maybe Al gore can invent the Internet 2 and Warner can make a fortune off cell phones 2 and our economy can go into a giant bubble again. and slick willie can take a victory lap for doing it all by himself.

Posted by: kingofzouk | September 13, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

'I see the moonbat holiday we had yesterday is over.'

yeah--you're here. You really dislike having reality pointed out to you, don't you? All you can do is resort to idiotic attacks.

Posted by: drindl | September 13, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

On Sunday, July 29, Chris Wallace interviewed Senator Russ Feingold on Fox News. Wallace observed that Democrats had received thousands of documents related to the firing of the U.S. attorneys. He asked if the Senator could point to one smoking gun that had been discovered in those documents indicating that a crime had been committed. The Senator stammered that he could not name specifics but that he was sure that a crime had been committed.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I see the moonbat holiday we had yesterday is over.

Posted by: kingofzouk | September 13, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

'someone please explain the underlying Dem morality because it is as twisted as a pretzel.'

Oops. Back off the meds, I see. Too bad. I hate to break it you, koz, but as our infracstructure decays, which it is, we have to fix it. Someone has to pay for it. That's why we have taxes. Wars cost money and you want to continue this one indefintely, by borrowing from the Chinese government. Tell me why you think this is coherent and logical. Try to do that without sliming Democrats hysterically.

You know, if you want to live in a rotting, crony-ridden third world country, it would be nice for the rest of us if you woudl just move somewhere, else rather than to try to destroy this country.

I will repeat what a sensible earlier poster said,

Warner continues to get credit because he's the guy that "Cleaned up the mess left behind by the elephant." Unfortunately, for the fiscally responsible Republican leaders, a decade later their propeller beanie-wearing wingnuts are still going after them for actually paying for what we receive.'

Posted by: drindl | September 13, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

If Republicans are hanging their hats on damaging Warner by pointing out he raised taxes while governor, they've already lost. The fact is, Warner was more popular AFTER he raised those taxes than before.

Add to that a bruising primary campaign between Gilmore and Davis, and you have a difficult uphill climb for any Republican, particularly in a year where Bush has dragged the Republican brand down. Can Warner be beaten? I'm sure a lot of people thought George Allen couldn't be beaten, but he was. Nevertheless, I wouldn't put much money on it.

Posted by: John | September 13, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

drindl - it is not a smear to point out that a politician ran on a promise not to raise taxes and then once in office, raised them. Just ask Bush 1. and the same thing will happen to Warner 2. you can run as a DINO but if you vote to raise taxes you are an actual D.

Webb had a single D issue and the party got behind him. this is just one more indication of the quest for power with no actual philosophy required. Just like sliming a general. Are the Dems against the war if it is going well? Or under any circumstance? does moveon now represent the center of your party? Why all the backsliding if you were elected to do this? someone please explain the underlying Dem morality because it is as twisted as a pretzel.

I am against the war unless there is some military progress, which there isn't no matter what you say, unless there is also political progress, which there isn't no matter what you say, unless we can compromise, which we won't because we were elected to do, and more people think like us, but we won't take a chance on losing the election over this because most people don't support us, but we were fooled into voting for this, for which we are not sorry, but we are very smart and Bush is dumb and we are the party of fiscal frugality but we want to spend more and we are going to clean up the corruption, by keeping all the corrupt pols on their committees and we are going to solve the energy problem by not drilling and not building refineries and not building wind farms and so on and on....

the question of higher taxes in 2009 is a very valid election issue. you Dems may try to hide from this, but the Rs will continue to point out your instincts. I understand why you would prefer no one find out about this.

Posted by: kingofzouk | September 13, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Drindl - it will be almost impossible for the Republicans to swiftboat Warner; unless there's something we don't know about him already. Which isn't likely by now.

They already started the "He's responsible for the biggest tax increase in Virginia history" drumbeat. That's not going to work, because everybody knows that the tax increase was done in concert with the fiscally responsible leaders of a Republican state legislature; and it had to be done to clean up the fiscal mess which Jim Gilmore left behind.

Warner continues to get credit because he's the guy that "Cleaned up the mess left behind by the elephant." Unfortunately, for the fiscally responsible Republican leaders, a decade later their propeller beanie-wearing wingnuts are still going after them for actually paying for what we receive.

Posted by: Cavalier | September 13, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Little correction Chris -

Warner's 01 victory did reenergize the VA Dem Party, but the vote coalition he built wasn't the basis for Kaine and Webb's elections. Warner won by targeting more conservative, rural voters downstate. Kaine, on the other hand, targeted traditionally Republican voters in the exurbs in Loudoun, Prince William, etc and won those areas (which Warner lost) providing his margin of victory. Webb, to the extent that his campaign bothered to target any voters, dedicated their resources to NOVA, running up a significant margin there (120,000 votes) and managed to hold down Allen's margin downstate. Truthfully, all three Dems won by targeting different geographic groups. Pretty interesting for a so-called "red" state.

Posted by: UVA Hoo | September 13, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

New york times ad:

For sale, 10 spd bicycle, good condition. new tires, leather seat

cost for placing ad: $35.

New york times ad:

For sale, 10 spd bicycle, good condition. new tires, leather seat, Bush sucks

cost for placing ad: $3.

Posted by: fairness doctrine indeed | September 13, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

You must be taking your meds, koz. You sound ALMOST rational. But not quite.

With Chris LaCivita in the campaign, the R's will definitely try to swiftboat Warner. The question is whethr the press will help them, and whether the people of Virigina are as tired of fear and smear campaigns that try to malign and destroy decent people as most of us are.

Posted by: drindl | September 13, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Zoukie, you left out Tommy's greatest strength,the pony rides and ice cream he has for kids at his picnics.

Posted by: Granny Z | September 13, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"Looking back at how the polling numbers were evolving well before 'macacca' I suspect that Allen might well have lost the race even if he'd kept his mouth shut."

Jackson, even with Webb's huge majority in Northern Virginia, he still only beat Allen by 9,300 votes out of 2.4 million cast. That a 0.39% margin of victory. I think that it is safe to say Allen had negatives, but for a relative unknown from outside the party to get the nomination and beat the incumbent, there had to be other factors in play, such as macacca.

I agree with most of what else you say. I think that "reason" is dreaming if they think that if Tom Davis wins Northern Virgina, it wins the seat for him.

I don't know why the Davis supporters keep ignoring that No. Virginia is Mark Warner's base just as much as it is Tom Davis'. And more so, because it includes Arlington, Alexandria, Prince William and Loudon; not just Fairfax and parts of Prince William.

Plus, Warner was smart enough to visibly make the "rest of the state" his base when he began campaigning for Governor and never dropped that philosophy. Davis doesn't have the rest of the state guaranteed to him by any means. He actually has to overcome a Warner advantage there to have any hope.

For months now the pro-Davis posters seem to be whistling past the graveyard as they lay out the scenario for how Davis can win.

Ain't gonna happen they way they currently describe it.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Well I might just say that the Mark Warner inauguration is a bit premature. there are several factors to consider. VA is not a friendly state to taxes, gilmore won on a single issues - the car tax. the tax increase will be a big issues here. the transportation problem is not solved and the tax increase to fund it was voted down by a wide margin.

tom Davis is very popular and one of the smartest guys around. He should not be underestimated. gilmore is not a threat, his time has passed. there is another factor you all have missed. the top of the ticket is going to say Clinton (D) for President. this represents liberal judges, increased federal taxes, etc to Old dom voters. do you think they will vote to help her majority on the Senate. I don't. I think she will damage the Dem candidates chances by several points, particularly in the south and west which is unfriendly to Ds anyway. Warner ran on a very R sounding platform when he ran and then flip-flopped when in office. this is becoming the badge of the Dems and will play well in VA. Webb only won because he sounded R enough on most issues.

there is another factor to consider: Eric Cantor - the number 4 R in the house. If he thinks that this is his only shot at the seat ( and it is) he may try for it. his career in the house will be going no where in the environment we are in. he is also very popular and has big fundraising abilities.

The real question is do we confederates really need a another DINO or should we go for the real thing. the old Warner will certainly come out and support the R candidate, although perhaps tepidly but he has a lot of pull around here. Also, this is additional evidence that lefty Dems are a thing of the past in winning elections. they owe their majority to the DINOS but don't admit it yet.

all in all, this is most certainly not a foregone conclusion, there is much that could happen. none of the possible candidates can even be comnpared to allen in the least. He was always sort of a acceptable compromise candidate and never had really deep support. Davis does and Cantor does. and VA always goes R in presidential years. If you want an R inn the Senate, vote for Hillary in the primary.

Posted by: kingofzouk | September 13, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse


Great commentary as usual. This election is really Warner's to lose, and I just don't think he will do that (he is smart).
Even if the moderate Davis survives a primary (which could be a bloodfest with the republicans eating their own), I don't think he could have the thunder, even coming from Northern Virginia to beat Warner.

As a former VA resident with family still there, I think it is an accurate assessment that most people like him - - even members of my family that are registred republicans like the guy and will vote for him(and I do too, for that fact).

Posted by: Mike Telliard | September 13, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

"But, Republican strategists argue, that doesn't mean there aren't binders of opposition research on Warner. The key will be to cast Warner as a flip-flopper. Republican strategist Chris LaCivita, who is working for Davis"

Since LaCivita was one of the primary people behind the 'Swift Boat' lies about Kerry in '04 I know that there most likely are 'binders of opposition research on Warner', a small percentage of it may also be true...

Posted by: Loudoun County Dem | September 13, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse


I will be shocked if Tom Davis gets into the race now that there is no question of who he'd be up against. Did you see the poll numbers yesterday pitting Warner against Davis? 57% - 34%.

Nobody in their right mind gives up a Congressional seat with that much power and seniority to fight a Senate campaign in which they are going in down 57-34. The kind of candidates you get with those odds are guys who do not currently hold office and have nothing to lose. Frequently the ones who just want to make some sort of Quixotic point. Which is exactly what the VA GOP will probably end up with. Jim Gilmore or Pat Buchanan. Maybe Allen Keyes will take the plunge again (heh heh).

Davis' big assets in this race were supposed to be his name recognition and his war chest. The name recognition clearly turns out to mean absolutely nothing against a force of nature like Mark Warner. As for the war chest, Davis has $M in the kitty. That is actually pretty good and would have put him well ahead of any rivals. Except for Mark Warner, who walks in the door with $9M that he'd raised for his aborted Presidential race. All of which is eligible to be transferred to his Senate campaign (that wouldn't have been the case had he run for Governor).

Tom Davis could throw that $1M against Warner and it would be like attacking a Sherman tank with a tricycle. Warner could make Davis run through that money in about 5 minutes even if he didn't raise another dime himself. If Warner does want more money, this is a guy who routinely raises $1M and more at a single fundraising event. Davis is a heck of a good fundraiser by House standards. But not by Mark Warner standards.

No, Davis is not stupid enough to end his career like this. And no doubt that Republican Congressional Campaign Committee is telling him the same thing, seeing as how Davis' exit from the House would essentially hand the Democrats another free seat to pad their majority with.

Posted by: Jackson Landers | September 13, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

That is correct. John Warner did not support North for the senate race. He got Coleman to run as an independent, which cut into North's numbers and allowed Robb to win re-election. John Warner also angered Republicans a year before (1993) because he did not support Farris for the Lt Gov race. Farris was an evangelical and that made Warner nervous.

Posted by: Political Junkie | September 13, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Junkie - Didn't Mark run against John in 1996; and then John earn undying enmity from the hardcore for not supporting North in 2000?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

What if I established residency in Virginia, developed a cult-like following, and ran an undercover campaign in which my followers posted a bunch of articles in blog comments all over the internet? The mainstream media would never know what hit them! Bwahahahahaah...

Posted by: Ron Paul | September 13, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse


With respect, your statement that at this point in 2006 nobody would have predicted that George Allen was in trouble is nonsense. This is revisionism nonsense spouted frequently by national pundits who know nothing about Virginia politics and who never even tuned into the race until 'macacca.'

You, however, do know a thing or 2 about Virginia politics so I'm surprised to hear you buying into that. For several years going into the 2006 election, Allen's SUSA approval ratings hovered between 48-51%. As we both know, any incumbent heading into a campaign with numbers like that is in serious trouble. It becomes mostly an issue of whether a serious opponent emerges to take advantage of the situation.

George Allen was *never* so invulnerable or popular as pundits outside Virginia like to portray him. Looking back at how the polling numbers were evolving well before 'macacca' I suspect that Allen might well have lost the race even if he'd kept his mouth shut. George Allen was always a divisive partisan figure who failed to attract any significant support from Democrats. His Senate victory in 2000 resulted from the fact that there were slightly more Republicans than Democrats in Virginia at that time and his margin reflected that.

Mark Warner's situation is the total opposite of Allen's. George Allen has never in his entire career had the kind of approval ratings or poll numbers that Mark Warner has consistently enjoyed for the last 6 years or so. Warner attracts a large measure of support from Republicans and is often seen as a unifying, non-partisan figure.

I'm sure we will be hearing lots of pundits over the next year try to compare Warner's perceived inevitability to what they think was Allen's perceived inevitability. But this is all nonsense coming from the keyboards of people who know nothing more about the 2006 contest than a glance at the headlines of USA Today might have informed them.

Posted by: Jackson Landers | September 13, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Chris, Great analysis on VA. Agree that Warner is tough to beat. One other point you did not mention is that if there were any skeletons in his closet, we'd already know about them from other races. He's been vetted on a state-wide level, which means that the Rs are going to have to use stuff VA voters already know about. Tough for Tom Davis, who's a decent R in a party dominated by its right wing. Bad news for him is that both he and his wife may be out of jobs next November.

Posted by: Bob | September 13, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

bsimon -- The tax increase Warner pushed through, with the eventual assistance of a Republican controlled legislature mind you, was generally supported at the time b/c (1) the state's bond rating was actually at risk; and (2) the state had/has significant transportation needs but no dedicated funding source to address them. Since Warner left office, the GOP has tried to argue the tax crease was unnecessary -- especially after the commonwealth's coffers were filled during a period of economic expansion.

That argument probably won't work, however, since there is STILL a shortfall in the amount of fundign available to address transportation issues. In fact, Democrats' promise to address that issue was one of the reasons Kaine won second and third ring suburbs on the edge of NOVA in '05. Also, it's helpful that Warner cut government spending BEFORE he pushed for a tax increase. At the time, he came accross as credible when he said "the fiscal situation is worse than i thought. further cuts will mean a reduction in services everyone wants, whether they're a republican, democrat, or indie. Therefore, we've gotta raise fees."

I have no doubt that the GOP will try to label warner as a "tax increaser," to borrow GWB's language. In light of current state needs and disasters like the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, however, I tend to think people are actually willing to pay taxes to fund basic services. WE will see.

Posted by: Colin | September 13, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

really mark? you are going to work like "heck"? could he please act like a grown man and say hell heck sounds so weak and childish

Posted by: andy from reisterstown | September 13, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse


Even though Davis might be well known in Northern Virginia, he's got to let the rest of the state know who he is. Mark Warner does not. Mark and John Warner are both good friends and I would be surprised if J. Warner throws his weight behind any candidate. Keep in mind that the rest of Virginia is relatively tuned out to what happens in Northern VA. and tend to regard most people from there with at some amount of skepticism (M. Warner overcame this a long time ago). I'm not saying Davis couldn't be a viable candidate but if he is, it will be after a none too pretty primary brawl between VA conservative and moderate Republicans.

Posted by: M | September 13, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Reason, I see your point that Davis is from NoVa and should get somewhat of a boost from there, but Warner is still going to win Nova. He is from there and had huge support from there when he ran for governor. Also John Warner likes Mark too and I don't think will get too overly pro-Davis because of that.
I would think that Tom Davis is rethinking his plan to run for Senate right now. He can read polls just like everyone else and he knows that he might want to wait this out until 2012 when Webb comes back up for election, or go for the governorship in 09?

Posted by: Andy R | September 13, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I was disappointed for John Warner to retire he's been a wonderful Senator for the Old Dominion, but I'm am ecstatic that Mark Warner is running for his seat. As far as I'm concerned, barring a macaca moment, Mark Warner has this senate seat in the Bag, if Jim Webb can beat an incumbent Republican Senator and former Republican governor then there is no way that Mark Warner, one of the most popular state politicians in state history could lose a seat that he almost won from incumbent John Warner in '96. As for tax Hike, I think that pointing out that this was a bipartisan measure. AND Virginia was ranked as the best managed state in the country under Mark Warner. Not to mention he has deep pockets and is a fundraising machine, the likes of which neither Davis or Gilmore have never competed with.

Also, I think it's worth noting that the Gilmore Davis race, if it devolves into a fight between Virginia's conservative and moderate Republicans in the run up to the primaries, could stand to severely weaken the republican party in Virginia and make Mark Warner's campaign much easier by preventing him from having to sling mud at whoever the Republican Candidate might actually be.

Posted by: M | September 13, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Misunderstanding of the Warner name on the ballot was actually an issue back in 96 when the two Warner's ran against each other. There were statistics that showed people were confused. Warner (D) had bumper stickers that said "Mark not John". As far as the voting breakdown from that election, what was interesting is that John Warner secured a significant amount of NoVA because of his stance against Oliver North. Mark Warner secured parts of the red state because of Republicans unhappy that John Warner didn't support North. There were significant cross over votes during that election. Frankly, John Warner had the Democrats to thank for that re-election in 96.

Posted by: Political Junkie | September 13, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I think if Gilmore wins the Republican nomination, the race is over and Mark Warner is the new Va. senator easily. If Tom Davis is able to win the Republican primary, it will be a horse of a different color. Davis has a strong friendship with J. Warner, who will surely lend Davis his organization and help him in fundraising. His support is obviously with Davis during the primary and during the general election. If Davis beats out Gilmore in the primary, J. Warner and electibility will be the reasons. Davis is well liked and has a huge base in Norther Va. If Tom Davis did extremely well or even won in Northern Va., he'd be a winner of the seat for sure.

Posted by: reason | September 13, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

DC writes
"Now, on topic, Warner for Warner. Virginia could do worse."

Totally removing parties & positiions, how much of an advantage is it to share the same surname with the current occupant of the seat - in addition to having high approval from your own service? How many voters show up at the polls and say "Oh yeah, Warner, I like him." It certainly doesn't seem like a DISadvantage...

Posted by: bsimon | September 13, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

This IS over before it started. Warner basically doesn't have to do anything and he would get elected. But the thing is he won't do that. He will go to Roanoke and talk about Energy independence, or go to Newport News and talk about national healthcare. He comes off as a genuine public leader who really thinks that he can help. 16 months from now Virginia will have a pair of Senators that will be the envy of many states, blue, red, or purple.

This also means that Warner is out as a possible VP candidate. I see a Edwards/Obama in 08 with Obama/Warner in 2016

Posted by: Andy R | September 13, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Jesus, Rufus, you wanna know why people are annoyed by you? Because there are a total of 8 posts here, 7 about the topic, and one rambling, misspelled, ALL CAPS, self centered message by you. Nothing about Warner, nothing even directly responding to the post. Just a pity party.

You're not the only violator, there's the anonymous coward who takes cheap shots at dems, amongst others, but you are one of the worst.

Now, on topic, Warner for Warner. Virginia could do worse.

Posted by: DCAustinite | September 13, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Anyone read George Will this AM? He's apparently unimpressed with Mr Thompson's candidacy. I particularly enjoy his conclusion, which reads thusly:

"New Coke was announced on April 23, 1985, with the company's president piling on adjectives usually reserved for Lafite Rothschild -- "smoother, rounder yet bolder." Almost 80 days later, the public having sampled it, the company pulled the product from stores. Perhaps Thompson's candidacy will last longer than New Coke did."

If you add 80 days to 9/6/2007, you get 11/25. Which puts the Thompson campaign's life expectancy, according to George Will, where bsimon puts it: right around Thanksgiving.

Posted by: bsimon | September 13, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone taken a look at Slate's presidential debate mashup? It wasn't really a debate; they asked each Democratic candidate similar questions in separate segments. (Not that different from what's normally called a debate, except that Slate didn't pretend it was a real debate.) They also included some special questions for each candidate, including one by Bill Maher.

I've read a couple of the transcripts so far, and they're pretty interesting. It seems like the candidates actually got a decent amount of time to discuss their views. And because I'm only reading the transcripts, there aren't distractions about how the different candidates looked/sounded.
Here's a link to the main page. I recommend checking it out.

Posted by: Blarg | September 13, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

On the surface I agree with | 10:43 AM that Gilmore donors can probably give again. Theoretically it's a totally different campaign.

However, if Gilmore has any monmey left over from his Presidential campaign and transfers it to his Senate campaign, is he transferring my money? Somebodyelse's money? Or does the money lose its identity once it goes into a campaign's account?

What i really wonder is why anybody other than the committed hardcore would want to give to Gilmore?

If I'm a Republican, I can stand on principle, support and donate to Gilmore and lose for sure.

Or, I can support and contribute to Davis, who was never one to let principle stand in the way getting elected, and at least have a chance against Warner.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse


I'm taking the rest of the week off, here. I'm taking a break. In the future, rather than bashing me all day. Tell me how I'm wrong. I've decided if you people who claim I'm crazy and a liar can tell me how I'm wrong, once, I'll take a day off.

A little fix game for you. You want me gone. Tell me how I'm wrong. In my opinion yesterday was the first time that has happened here. I got a little overzealous.:)

Have a good weekend. Talk to you all next week."

Posted by: rufus | September 13, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

What's happened with the VA budget since Warner was Gov? If his biggest weakness is "Warner said he wouldn't raise taxes during the 2001 campaign and then pushed through a $1.5 billion tax increase in 2004 -- a measure Warner cast as necessary to fix Virginia's budgetary problems," it seems like the allegation could stick if VA has since dropped taxes & maintained service.

Posted by: bsimon | September 13, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Unless Warner has the arrogance which led to Allen's downfall, and there's been no indication that he has, he won't be beaten.

Warner has positive name recognition all over the state. Happy Gilmore has name recognition, but it's positive only within a small element of the Republican Party. Tom Davis has it in Northern Virginia, but not all over the state, in spite of what some regular posters here believe [the poll numbers with Gilmore actually doing better than Davis should tell them that].

If this was an analyst's TV pre-game sports matchup of Strengths and Weaknesses listed side-by-side, Warner has all of the positives of Gilmore and Davis, plus some; and fewer of the weaknesses.

Advantage: Warner

A HUGE advantage.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Marks a good man who has served Virginia well in the past. He works in a Bipartisan fashion and is willing to make the hard decisions. Virginia could use him again.

Posted by: DCAustinite | September 13, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Are you sure about the fact that donors can't re-give to Gilmore? I would guess that they could form a Gilmore for Senate campaign committee that would be wholely separate from his Prz'l account, like donors who are still giving to Hillary's Senate Acct.

I am also sure, if there's a dedicated enough core, they could form a non-aligned 527 and circumvent all the limits.

Also -- GO MARK GO!!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

the election is his to lose

Posted by: tom | September 13, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

The key difference between Allen's sizable lead early in his race and Warner's early lead in this race, is that Warner will be unlikely to have those "doh" moments that Allen was so frequent to have. No chance of "macaca" moments with Warner.

Posted by: Political Junkie | September 13, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

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