You know how Republican U.S. Senate nominee “Enron Ed” Gillespie likes to argue that “Governor Warner wouldn’t recognize Senator Warner today.” The implication, obviously, is that Mark Warner has somehow moved “left” since he used to go by the title “His Excellency” (seriously, that’s what the Governor of Virginia is called!). Is there any truth to what Gillespie’s saying? In short, nope. Now, here’s a slightly longer answer, courtesy of the progressive scoring site Progressive Punch.
Note that Warner ranks 47th out of 100 U.S. Senators on the Progressive Punch scorecard, almost exactly dead center, similar to Maine Independent Angus King and conservative Democrats Joe Donnelly from Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota. Also note that Warner’s progressive score, relative to his state’s “tilt” politically, is only at a “tolerable” progressive level, one notch above “intolerable” and 3 notches below the top, 5-star Progressive Punch rating. So, bottom line: Warner Ghas absolutely NOT, as Ed Gillespie claims, moved to the “left” since he’s gotten to the U.S. Senate. As for the “97% of the time he voted with President Obama” statistic, what Enron Ed’s not telling everyone is that the vast majority of these votes were procedural, routine, confirmations, stuff like that. In short, it’s just another highly misleading statement from someone who’s had a long career of practice doing just that.
By the way, if you’re going to argue anything, it should be that Mark Warner’s actually moved more to the RIGHT since he was Governor. Think about what Gov. Warner was known for: a tax/revenue INCREASE package (a net tax increase of approximately $1.5 billion annually) that pulled Virginia’s budget out of the ditch Jim Gilmore had left it in. In addition, Gov. Warner vetoed an estate tax repeal bill, which as a strongly progressive move in my book (note that Tim Kaine SIGNED that bad boy into law when he was gov, in what was the worst single move he’s ever made IMHO). In contrast, since being elected to the U.S. Senate, Warner’s voted for multiple tax and budget CUTS, including making most of the Bush tax cuts permanent. So puh-leeze, whatever else you want to say about Mark Warner, it’s basically impossible to argue with a straight face that he’s moved in a progressive direction as U.S. Senator (much as I wish he had). Not that this has stopped Enron Ed – who has no positive agenda of his own, and is tied to a party that is far less popular than President Obama – from trying.