Tag Archives: Mark Warner

The Warm Up and Warner

Senator Bob Casey from Pennsylvania got the crowd hyped with a “Four More Months” chant that’s still buzzing around the arena and- I bet- we’ll be hearing more of in the next couple days. He pushed hard on Biden as a native son of Pennsylvania- in case anybody needed a bit more convincing in the Keystone state.

He was followed by a true hero of the equality and labor movements, Lilly Ledbetter, speaking on Women’s Equality Day. She got huge cheers for her landmark discrimination case and big boos for big business. She kept with the importance of being responsible towards future generations, driving home how important it is that we “secure fair pay for our children and grandchildren” so that no one will have to go through what she has.

Mark Warner rocked the crowd as we expected he would, weaving all the week’s themes together. He spoke quite a bit about the power of collective effort and community as well as our responsibility to each other and our future. He spoke about education and energy and all the policy issues, but it all comes back to a fundamental defining mindset of Democrats. He lamented that Bush hadn’t “tapped into America’s greatest resource: the character and resolve of the American people,” and that Bush “failed to believe in what we can achieve as a nation.”

And that’s what it’s ultimately all about when drawing a line between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats not only think we have a moral obligation to stick by each other, but we know that it’s the smartest thing too. Warner noted that with the blessings of America “comes an obligation to our neighbors, to the common good.” And that’s the whole notion of not just democracy, but society in general.

That’s what we’re up against and why we’re Democrats. That speech made me homesick for Virginia just a little bit.

Update Governor Ted Strickland had a great line about Bush being born on third and thinking he hit a triple as opposed to making it to first and stealing second. The kids love it…I had no idea how much of a rock star Ted Strickland was. Good for him, good speech. Deval Patrick’s turn as the crowd starts getting into the mood.

A quick comment on charisma

The difference tonight between Bob Casey’s and Kathleen Sebelius’ speeches demonstrates just one thing: it’s not really about what you say–it’s about how you say it.

Sebelius’s speech was well-constructed and had a brilliant, memorable line in reference to John McCain:

There’s no place like home…or a home…or a home…or a home…or a home…

Senator Casey’s speech, by contrast, was formulaic and not destined for the archive of great speeches.  On paper, anyway.

But that doesn’t matter.  Because Kathleen’s stage presence and speaking style was so flat that just about no one will ever remember that Kathleen Sebelius ever took the stage.  

For the record, I’m a big supporter of Sebelius and I was strongly interested in her as a possible veep candidate for Barack Obama.  My biggest doubts came when Sebelius gave the Democratic response to the State of the Union address in a way that vaguely resembled a deer staring into the headlights, trying hard to deadpan a slow, monotone delivery.

At the time many of Sebelius’ supporters said that she was a much better speaker than that example gave her credit for.  However, there’s no question that the DNC speech revealed that lack of speaking charisma is a fairly permanent condition for the Kansas governor.  And I’m sorry to say it, but that’s a big deal when you’re on the national stage.  Sebelius may be a fantastic governor, but being a national candidate demands more fire and ability to move emotions.  Especially since this is the night for attacking McCain, tonight’s speakers needed to swell with passion, and Sebelius didn’t have it.  Being vice presidential candidate demands a similar attack dog ability; tonight’s speech made me glad that Biden was the choice for that task.

Bob Casey, on the other hand, provided the fire that was needed.  Though the best line of the speech was kind of lame (“That’s not a maverick, that’s a sidekick!”), Casey moved the crowd, got them clapping, and stirred up a chant of “Four More Months!  Four More Months!”  It was effective.

Personally, I prefer Sebelius as a politician to Bob Casey.  Casey’s pro-life position sticks in my craw, and he said some unfortunate things during the primary.  But when it comes to the national stage, I’ll take charisma over minor policy differences.  It makes a big difference.  Because ultimately, politics is about moving voters.

And it’s that same charisma being displayed by Mark Warner at this very moment that makes him our likeliest bet for the presidency in 2016 after eight years of the ultra-charismatic Barack Obama.

We would do well to remember that, imho, when considering which candidate to support for governor of California as well.

One More Lesson for Steve Westly

Over at CA Majority Report, former gubernatorial wannabe Steve Westly looks at what he calls the, “three key lessons from this year’s midterm election.” Setting aside the fact that you should never take advice from anyone who hired Garry South, the biggest problem is what Westly failed to learn.

The defining characteristic of this year’s campaigns was the wholesale rejection of the Democratic Leadership Council. Westly was DLC and lost to a candidate who asked the DLC to take his name off their list. In CA-11, the DLC route Steve Filson took resulted in him being stomped by 24% points.

That same day in Montana, Jon Tester scored a 26% point victory over a DLC candidate with far more money. Two months later, former DLC Chair Joe Lieberman lost his primary.

This is a trend, the biggest primary in 2008 is against former DLC Vice Chair Ellen Tauscher.

We are seeing the same dynamic in the 2008 presidential primary. The first two major candidates to pull out, Mark Warner and Evan Bayh, are both prominent DLC members and current Chair Tom Vilsack is expected to follow suit shortly. That will leave Hillary Clinton as the only remaining DLC candidate and her campaign is imploding.

This might be a painful lesson for Westly, but it is the lesson that should be drawn from the midterms. That, and never hire Garry South.

McNerney Urges Senate to Stop Offshore Drilling

(Pombo was not pleased when Arnold announced his opposition to this bill, even going so far as to say that arnold didn’t read the bill and questioning the Governator’s intelligence. Pot: “Kettle, you’re black” – promoted by SFBrianCL)

Renewable energy expert, Jerry McNerney, has called on the US Senate to defeat any bill that would repeal the moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling.

McNerney is the Democratic challenger in CA-11, where the infamous Republican Richard Pombo currently rules the district. Pombo spearheaded the House bill that will open our coasts to drilling. When moderate Republican Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) tried to add higher fuel efficiency to the bill, Pombo helped defeat the measure. Pombo is not interested in a sustainable and responsible energy plan — he is interested in serving his favorite industry, Big Oil.

In a February 2006 poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, 2 out of 3 Californians stated that they oppose any offshore drilling, including 46% of the state’s Republicans. Arnold Schwarzenegger also opposed the Pombo bill, but that didn’t stop Pombo from serving the industries that support his political career.

After the bill passed, McNerney issues a detailed press release calling on the US Senate to not pass a similar bill opening our coastlines to drilling:

“The bottom line is that we cannot drill our way to energy independence, and we can not continue to ignore the very real problem of global warming,” said McNerney. “As sea levels rise, the risk of levee failure and catastrophic flooding in the Delta increases greatly, and salt water intrusion promises to wreak havoc with local farmers and land values in the district. Pombo’s plan is not a sensible energy plan for our nation or this district.”

“Once again, you have to wonder just who it is that Mr. Pombo is representing in Congress. While gas prices were soaring in the spring, he was jetting down to Houston to attend a posh fundraiser held by oil industry lobbyists. And now, with gas prices still over $3 per gallon and district families and commuters still hurting, we have Pombo recklessly disregarding the opinions of the vast majority of the citizens of this state as he tries to pay back his big money contributors.”

In addition to being environmentally reckless, Pombo has also proven that he is willing to be financially reckless to get what he wants.

McNerney also noted that the Pombo-supported bill changes the formula for sharing oil and gas royalties between the federal government and the states, such that four states – Texas among them – would receive a windfall while the US Treasury would lose as much as $69 billion over a 15 year period, according to figures supplied by the US Department of the Interior. The Associated Press reported that the White House issued a statement strongly opposing this provision in the Pombo-backed bill, as it “would have a long-term impact on the federal deficit.”

McNerney stated that “Stripping out $69 billion of federal revenue without stating how this revenue will be made up is fiscal irresponsibility at its worst. Who will Mr. Pombo put a tax increase on to make up for this shortfall? What spending programs will he cut? Or is he proposing to simply just add this amount as a further debt burden on our children and grandchildren, in addition to leaving them with an overheated planet?”

“Our nation needs a real energy plan, of the kind I envision based on new energy technology and an emphasis on conservation, that will create real jobs in our district while reducing the burning of fossil fuels. This will mean less time wasted driving in our cars to far away jobs, and more time to spend with our families. It will mean cleaner air and our kids having less asthma and other associated health problems. And frankly, we need to begin now to reduce the threat of global warming and the devastating scenarios envisioned by reputable scientists who are concerned about the Delta and a substantial part of this district that sits just above sea level.”

You can take action in two ways:

First, you can email, fax, or call your senators and make it clear that you do not support any type of offshore drilling — regardless of how much Republicans attempt to bribe other members of Congress with promises of money. The US Senate could vote on this issue as soon as this week.

Second, go to Mark Warner’s MapChangers website and vote for Jerry McNerney. If you voted in previous rounds, you can vote again in this final round which ends at 12:00 AM EDT on Tuesday, July 11. If Jerry wins, Warner will host a fundraiser for him — and Jerry needs all the help he can get to compete with Pombo’s industry money. (Note: when you vote at MapChangers, be sure to click the Submit button to have your vote count).

Thanks for supporting people like Jerry McNerney — one of the innovative Democrats who can actually set us on a path to sustainability.

(Cross posted at Daily Kos)