National Review Online has a good piece this morning from Campaign Spot blogger Jim Geraghty asking exactly why a guy (Mark Warner) who is running as someone who can work with Republicans, was asked to deliver the Keynote Address at the Democratic Convention – an address that usually defines what the party stands for and serves up some red meat in the process about the opposition.
Geraghty also does a good job bursting the bubble Warner and the media have created regarding his record as Governor. He writes that “in 2001 (Warner) called himself a ‘fiscal conservative’ and pledged not to raise the income or sales taxes, promising, as National Journal put it, ‘an end to old-style politics, regional divisions, partisan bickering and personal attacks.'”
Warner of course lied about raising taxes, raising them to the tune of $1.5 billion, with the help of the RINOs in the State Senate and three handfuls of squishy Republicans in the House. As Geraghty points out, because of Virginia’s “odd” one-election-and-you’re-out term limit rule, Warner never had to face the voters for breaking his word. It’s likely he would have paid no penalty however as Jim Gilmore’s attacks on the subject today have gotten little traction.
As Geraghty notes, Warner is nothing if not an astute politician though as he rarely forgot that he headed a commonwealth that had recently been solidly Republican and he chose his battles carefully. He never crossed the NRA, thus allowing him to now tout on his “Sportsmen for Warner” web site the five very good pieces of legislation that he signed as Governor – bills that included the first parital roll back of Virginia’s handgun rationing law; full pre-emption (making the General Assembly the only law making body in Virginia that can pass gun control laws and ending a patchwork of confusing gun laws); and, signing Delegate Bill Janis’ bill introduced at the request of the Virginia Shooting Sports Association (VSSA) that gave greater protections to gun ranges.
But, gun owners need to ask and get in writing the answers on two key questions. Gun owners need to ask Warner whether he has changed the position he took in 1996 and 2001 where he supported the Clinton Gun Ban (known as the misnamed “assault weapons” ban) and whether he will support Supreme Court nominees like Alito and Roberts who ruled the D.C. Gun Ban unconstitutional or, if like Obama, he would oppose Alito and Roberts type of justices and instead support justices like Ginsburg, and Breyer who voted to throw the 2nd Amendment on the ash heap of history.
Geraghty also noted that Warner rarely touched any controversial social issues, writing that Warner bragged of eliminating “more than 50 agencies, boards, and commissions — and thousands of positions in state government.” Until 2004, Warner spent a lot of time on unglamorous, noncontroversial good-government initiatives, criticizing state agencies for using “outdated business practices.”
Does anyone really believe that if Warner is elected to the U.S. Senate where he may have as many as 59 like minded colleagues (if you believe Chucky Schumer’s latest bragging about their election prospects), unfettered by having to deal with a majority controlled by the other party, that he will be the “radical centrist” that he says he wants to be.
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