01/19/2006: Thought for the Day:
The moderate Democrats have several options, but one now stands out above the rest. Governor Mark Warner has just finished a successful stint in Virginia's top job, having well managed a difficult fiscal situation and also having elected a more liberal successor, Tim Kaine, in a conservative Red State. Warner built an attractive record in a wide variety of areas, from education to mental health to the environment, and he truly made the most of the one four-year term to which Virginia's Constitution still limits its governors, consecutively. Although a certified suburban yuppie, Warner made deep inroads in rural areas by lavishing attention upon rural people and their problems. He adopted NASCAR, country music, and an antipathy to gun control. With roots in Indiana and Connecticut, not just Virginia, Warner has the wealth and the appeal to run an impressive national campaign. Southern Democrats and many DLCers have flocked to him especially in the wake of Warner's 2005 off-year triumph in November. Having praised Ceaser [sic], Brutus should note Warner's drawbacks as a presidential candidate. The rich communications mogul has only served a total of four years in public office; he has no foreign policy experience at all; and he famously broke his insistent, George H.W. Bush-like 2001 campaign pledge that he would not raise taxes. Whether Democrats or the country as a whole actually care about any of these sour notes, only the 2008 campaign itself will demonstrate.
Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana is yet another respectable, mediagenic, family-oriented moderate with presidential ambitions. In the deeply Red Hoosier state, Bayh has won two landslide elections as governor and two as senator. These eleven Midwestern electoral votes, possibly combined with the twenty from neighboring Ohio, might be deducted from the GOP and added to the Democratic column by Bayh--making a Republican presidential victory difficult mathematically. A Warner-Bayh or Bayh-Warner ticket could be well nigh unbeatable, with Warner adding Virginia's thirteen electoral votes and probably West Virginia's five. The total of forty-nine electoral votes from these four Red states (OH, IN, VA, WV) would be nearly impossible for the GOP to make up, should this come to pass. Republicans need not worry: The Virginia-Indiana pairing makes so much political sense that the Democrats will never actually do it.
--Larry J. Sabato [Professor, Political Science, University of Virginia, in "Sabato's Crystal Ball"; emphasis in original]
Len on 01.19.06 @ 07:22 AM CST