Mark, not George: Mark Warner in New Hampshire
I don’t know if you all get it – maybe it is a regional thing. We have up here on occasion recently, visits of those considering a run for the Presidency in 2008. It is aired on C-Span as “Road to the White House.” Got that rural, church basement New Hampshire cache – not unlike an Iowa or Nebraska church basement, but way unlike something in New York or Washington, D.C. Mark Warner, the governor of Virginia, was up here last week for a visit and we were surprised by his gracious and naturally friendly temperament, more Indiana than Virginia, he seemed to us. He made the comment that a few years back he ran for the U.S. Senate against Senator John Warner and there was a bumper sticker which said, “Mark, not John” which some thought was a biblical reference.
I happened to be in the region at that time and
Warner represents the
Makes perfect sense. But as the current administration looks to the Middle East for all things and with the wiggiest of ideas to “jump start a new American century” and pretend
I believe Warner could well change the tempo of American politics, much as Ronald Reagan changed the prevailing wind in the 1980s. His responsible voice in a Democratic primary – which last time almost resembled a political edition of American Idol – will entirely change the tone. He doesn’t seem to have a negative bone in his body – refreshing when I get daily emails from several other Democratic contenders consistently attacking the Republicans – they know who they are not, but they don’t know who they are.
Mark Warner knows who he is and you get that right away. Herewith is the man from the heartland; Indiana born – slightly disheveled like Frank Capra’s Mr. Deeds and not unlike John Roberts – very much like John Roberts in a sense. There is a sense of natural competence and optimism about him as there is with John Roberts which is neither partisan nor ideological, neither North nor South but thoroughly American, and an assurance that the job ahead will naturally open up to him and he will meet it as he was born to it. Like John Roberts, that his is a whole person, competent, formidable, one of us – as Bono said about Johnny Cash, “extraordinary and ordinary” – this it the free American condition awakening in the heartland, awakening in the world and sayin’ hey.
Up here in
Warner’s could be the voice for new movement, for a new Awakening in the Democratic Party and in the country. A true family man, he loves the political crowd, but seems itching to get home to his wife and three daughters. The curse of the new Democrats is a Starbuck’s class culture, a phony “upper working class” quality which alienates them from ordinary folks – Patsy Cline, Hank Williams folk like most Virginians. There are none of these pretentions about Mark Warner.