Final thoughts on Mark Warner

Thought I'd stick with the Democratic nomination campaign of 2008 and add in some final thoughts on Mark Warner (here's my earlier thoughts) based Ryan Lizza's recent article in The New Republic (subscription only).  I speculated that maybe Warner really did not want to run and really meant it when he said he wanted to spend time with his family.  After spending time with him on the campaign trail here are some of Lizza's comments on the matter:

But, no matter how well things seemed to
be going for Warner, privately he was filled with self-doubt. He had
built a machine that was hurling him forward toward a presidential race
that he actually didn't want to enter….

Up in the air flying home from his
successful but draining trip to New Hampshire, Warner turned around in
his seat to chat with me. It was his daughter's birthday, and, instead
of being with her, he had been buying garlic bread at a farmer's market
in Keene and answering hostile questions from TV reporters about why he
refused to denounce the Nevada caucuses as “reprehensible.” Even worse,
he was now trapped on a seven-seater airplane with a reporter who had
been shadowing him for an exhausting 48 hours. I pressed him on whether
he was really going to run. His response shocked me at the time. He
bent in close, looked me in the eye and asked, “Would you want to do this?”

Here's Lizza's conclusion (not all that different from mine):

Every governor or senator thinks about
running for president. Most do so because they are ambitious and see
the presidency as the next rung on America's political ladder. The big
question they often ask is strategic. How can I make it through the
process and get elected? In the end, that's not the question Warner
asked. His advisers swear that the nuances of the primaries and the
details of how to topple Hillary Clinton never came up in his final
deliberations. Warner asked not whether he could be president, but whether he should
be president. The irony of Warner's answer is that the kind of person
who dwells on that question is the kind of person you want to be

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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