by Paul Goldman
I have a ton of emails suggesting – where do people get this stuff – that Warner would be better off as the only Democrat in statewide office.
Play out the chess game.
Assume – which isn’t true but Kaine does figure to be the strongest candidate – that without Kaine the Webb seat flips to Allen. Assume the GOP gets the Senate back or it’s basically a 50-50 deal which is the most likely scenario right now given the 2012 map.
Then further assume Governor MCD ends his term popular enough that if he would very likely have won a second term if we didn’t have the constitutional one term limit.
Since Democrats have basically allowed him to escape his big 1st year mistake, and joined in his borrow and spend road to paradise, that is now far more likely.
By allowing MCD to escape, Democrats have set up an historical pattern, which has held throughout the modern two-party era when the Governor of one party was the guy to have broken the other party’s hold on the Mansion.
Holton led to Godwin. Robb led to Baliles. Allen led to Gilmore. Warner led to Kaine.
4 the hard way doesn’t admittedly qualify for a Nobel Prize in math although the standards are dropping. But it has been consistent for nearly two generations.
Governor MCD might very well help drag Governor Cuccinelli into office. Votes in the GA have consequences.
So let’s recap for a moment: You got Cousin George as Senator Reload, a popular ex-GUV MCD, a newly elected Governor Kenny C, and the GOP on upswing in the Senate. You will also have in my view President Obama going into a second term, which has generally led to a rough mid term election for the incumbent party in that 6th year of the cycle.
Which is 2014. When MCD would be leaving office popular and the whole VA and national GOP establishment pressuring him to run. It’s Warner’s worst political nightmare.
Southern Democrats may not be able to suit up a Senate basketball team by then. Or even get a bridge game going.
Net, net: Those who think Warner would then benefit from being the only Democrat standing in 2014 must be drinking the same stuff as Kenny C, only paying a lot more because of the fancy french label. At least get Bill Thomas to get you a discount card.
Warner needs Kaine to run and win the way he needed Kaine to run and win in 2005.
Kaine figures to be the strongest candidate if he can get into the Zone, he may not want to be in the Senate.
Don’t get me wrong: the DEMS have a lot of other good folks who can take the field, but they have never been tested in a statewide .Kaine has won twice, left office more popular than the Deeds loss would suggest.
I believe his closeness to Obama will be a big plus in the end.
He does give Allen an opening on the Gov v Gov record thing since Allen’s record as Governor is stronger politically than his Senate resume. Everything has a yinyang as the Chinese would say.
Warner is strong, but so was Achilles.
Moreover, if Allen flips the Senate seat in 2012, that gives the GOP more MOJO going into 2013. So there is the BIG MO factor to consider since it creates a feedback loop.
The MO is tough to get back.
Warner needs for the DEMS to hold Webb’s seat. Kaine figures to have the best shot.
Warner needs Kaine to run.