Monday, August 24, 2009

UPDATE: Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) WRVA

If Sen. Mark Warner set out today to absolutely confuse and baffle even his own supporters throughout Central Virginia, its fair to say he succeeded. After being virtually silent for weeks regarding such issues as Cap & Trade and the Healthcare debate, the traditionally pro-business, free market supporter Warner seemed caught between two mothers. One, his decade long stance on the value of free markets and growing business, especially in the Commonwealth of Virginia, through private enterprise clashes with his current stance on the problems facing healthcare. As Governor, Warner did not propose or support any meaure that would bring healthcare into the domain of State government like say the Massachusetts and yet now as a Senator in Congress it is apparent he approves the Federal Government taking over control of healthcare. The operative word in this debate is "control". Warner as long been a supporter of using the government as a regulator, but no where in his record has he ever expressed that the free markets and private markets should be controlled by the government. Regulated certainly, but not controlled. In fact, even Warner had addressed the shortcomings of unfunded liabilities to the federal budget in the area of Medicare/Medicaid recognizing both the shortfalls of this program as well as Social Security. Warner traveled the Commonwealth telling voters that it was his position that it was "spending" that was the biggest issue facing the country as late as Spring 2008 and that spending had to be reigned in up in Washington.

Since his election, Warner has done very little in proposing any reductions in spending. In fact, he left voters today thinking that he would endorse such measures as Cap & Trade and Healthcare, though he admitted that the government in effect only has the power to "regulate" via interstate commerce clauses and really does not have a right under the Constitution to tell people what healthcare they could or should have. Again, free market, individual-right Warner is in conflict with pro-control, government Nanny-State Warner.

Warner was elected by wide margins last Fall over former Gov. Jim Gilmore (R) to be sure. However, in looking at his performance versus some of the other races it is evident that Warner pulled in high percentages of both Republicans (moderates) and Independents.

Here's the rub. Obama and now the actions of Warner will contribute to driving those who supported Warner on the notion that he would go to Washington and be a "moderate" voice further and further away from the DPVA. Warner's biggest problem now is the perception that he has spent years building across the Commowealth is being eroded by the actions of the current administration and frankly Obama himself.

Virginians appear poised to reject Cap & Trade and the Warner that we all once knew certainly would have as well. The new Warner has alot to answer for and given his performance and articulated positions today will leave many voters wondering just who this guy really is.

Warner's current stance on Cap & Trade and Healthcare seem contrary to the brand Warner has built here in Virginia. Is it merely politics or are Warner's true colors begining to shine through given many believe he will likely be in contention in 2016 for the Presidency should Obama win a second term. Is he simply playing to the ultra-liberal base here for some future play or does he truly buy into these policies?

I for one think it would be in Warner's best interest, as well as many Southern Senators, that Cap & Trade NEVER see the light of day on the Senate floor. Healthcare of some fashion will certainly make it to the floor, but should the House version of C&T come up for a vote in the Senate I doubt many Democrats in the South and Midwest (think Evan Byah) will really want to embrace it, especially if Obama's job approval is south of 45% if an Healthcare bill is rammed through reconciliation.


Anonymous said...

What a weak performance. I voted for Warner over Gilmore because he always seem to more conservative than most other Democrats, even Kaine. I did not have too many issues with him as Governor, but since he has gotten to Washington its been bad. I guess I expected him to have an impact like Webb given all his business credentials but that turned out to be a joke.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I voted for him. I tend to split tickets often Alter but this is a disaster.

Webb comes up for re-election first and he to as been lingering below the radar lately. He may get a pass, but most of us did not expect Warner to reverse himself like this.

James said...

warner held a "town hall" of sorts yesterday Alter. He held a confernce call. Now thats Democracy for you. So much for the man of the people brand.

When will Alter join the "Richmond Patriots"?

Jody L. Wilcox said...

Warner lost a lot of credibility with that performance to say the least......our GOP REPS need to step up and fill the void with many townhalls to counter Warner and Webbs ineptitude...nice post AOF

John said...

Jody assessment is pretty accurate I think. I see signs that the GOP can feed off the recent mobilization of interest by voters whom tend to view Washington with apathy. The question is whether the GOP will come to the plate with solutions or simply hyperbole when the time comes. It seesm to me the GOP cannot rely on the same old players of the past, ie McCain, and must be leaders from outside Washington.