What about another Virginian as VP?

Analysis by Chris Graham
freepress2@ntelos.net

The only question to me would be how he would get around having said repeatedly that he is not interested in the job. Because otherwise, wouldn’t the #2 spot on Barack Obama’s national ticket be Mark Warner’s to lose?

Even the Obama people seem to think so. Journalist Marc Ambinder reported last week that Warner was being lobbied rather intently by the Obama campaign to submit his name for vetting. Warner, according to the reporting from Ambinder, did not submit to the vetting process that would be a necessary precursor to being considered a candidate for the vice-presidential nomination, but a former Warner staffer told me today that Warner had submitted himself to a voluntary vetting process ahead of his brief run for the Democratic Party presidential nomination two years ago, and that it theoretically wouldn’t be all that difficult for Warner to make a quick call on agreeing to a vetting that could be aided by that earlier effort.

It would be quite the swerve, though, wouldn’t it, to have it be Warner as the Virginian getting the call from the Obama team? Early talk, early enough to be pre-Obama, had Warner leading the veep sweepstakes because of what he has done to turn Virginia from red to blue since his gubernatorial election in 2001. National Democrats have finally come to the realization that they cannot continue to cede the South to the Republican Party and have any hope of winning the White House, and Warner and his coattails, which helped land fellow VP candidates Tim Kaine and Jim Webb in their current jobs, could extend beyond the Commonwealth down to North Carolina and South Carolina and across the western border with West Virginia.

The drawback has been and is Warner’s continued insistence that he does not want to get himself tied to a national campaign until his three teenage daughters are all grown up and in college or beyond. That’s what he said when he dropped out of the presidential picture two years ago, and nothing certainly has changed on that front since then, except that we’re all two years older.

That’s the question that the former Warner staffer that I had lunch with today raised to my continued insistence that Warner could very well be the guy – that, and the problem that could come up with Warner’s ongoing campaign for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican John Warner. Addressing that second issue first, I point to the fact that Mark Warner has a 25-point lead over another former governor, Republican Jim Gilmore, in the polls, and I think could easily weather whatever storm the Republican Party of Virginia would want to try to scare up about his commitment to the people of Virginia, particularly if he could sell the voters, as I think he could, on the notion that they would still end up getting someone in the interim who would represent Virginia in the Warner mode, say, former lieutenant governor Don Beyer, until a special election could be held to fill the seat on a permanent basis that I would expect have Tim Kaine running as the Democratic nominee.

As to the issue regarding family, the sell there is the easier one. Warner says, “Barack Obama asked me if we could work together to change the way business is done in Washington. I answered him, ‘Yes, We Can,’ ” and we’ve got that one fixed up rather tidily.

I realize, of course, that this is a one-in-a-thousand shot, and I’m probably being generous to myself calling it that. Stranger things have happened, though, and this is American politics that we’re talking about. So on the off chance that I’m right …


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