You could just tell that in between the time that he was selected as the keynote and when he actually gave the speech that Mark Warner was a man on cloud nine. However, the consensus seems to be that he took a pretty big fall off that cloud last night.
Before I comment on the quality of his speech, it’s important to note what a keynote should be. There’s a couple of different strategies with choosing a keynote, but generally the party tries to pick someone who can wholly encapsulate what it means to be a Democrat at that time, someone who the party thinks they can show off without isolating one particular wing or the other, a fresh face. Barbara Jordan and Barack Obama set the standard for the sort of transcendent moment that the keynote can and should be, sort of a rising tide to carry the party to its nominee.
Warner was anything but transcendent. He had an opportunity to fully highlight “the Virginia Story” (I know, I know, it’s based on a fraud, but stick with me here), but instead he went right for the jugular and accused Republicans of being stuck in the past. He somehow managed to ignore the work of Newt Gingrich and Chris Saxman, the sort of politicians that embrace conservative positions while seeking pragmatic solutions. He then tried to go back to the Virginia story, but somehow his tale of working with Republicans managed to fall flat after he so viscerally derided them. It seems that the only good Republicans are the ones who can be bamboozled into going along with big-government.
All in all, Warner just didn’t carry the moment. It’s pretty bad when you’re outshined by the guy after you. Montana Governor Schweitzer gave an Ann Richards style speech–attack but look to what makes you a Democrat. It was a little too red meat for my tastes (what did you expect on a Republican blog), but he definitely did the job of whipping the crowd into a frenzy, not easy when you’re crowd has been standing around for the last six hours. Warner tried it (always risky for a keynote, but it launched Richards to the Gov mansion), but it just fell flat, particularly with the sort of profile he has as a consensus builder
Probably the biggest mistake that Warner made, though, was laying into McCain with such (attempted) gusto. We’ve all heard anectdotes of those vaunted McCain-Warner voters. What are these moderate types going to think of Warner taking such an attack dog role at the convention. They may not vote for Jim Gilmore, but you can bet that Jim Gilmore is going to let this be known. This ties in perfectly with Gilmore’s attack that Warner lied his way to a budget deal.
Some thoughts from other sources. First, Newsweek:
Warner may have hit the right notes tonight–but he did so with little authority, agility or verve. It was partly his reliance on halfhearted speechwriting devices that disappointed. Under Bush, he said, a “fair shot” has become a “long shot”; under the Dems, a “fair shot” could become a “shot in the arm.”It was partly his overuse of threadbare cliches, from “you ain’t seen nothing yet” to “it’s not where you came from that counts, it’s where you want to go.” It was partly his willingness to recite rote Democratic platitudes–“cover everyone,” “restore America’s leadership,” “get off foreign oil,” “recruit an army of new teachers”–without any memorable specifics. And it was partly the fact that Warner’s own biography–start one business, start another, make hundreds of millions in the cellular industry–is neither a moving tale of triumph over adversity nor a he’s-like-us homily.
Took the podium with the apparent hope of recreating the star-making keynote event of 2004, when Obama, in the same Tuesday night timeslot, launched his political career into the presidential stratosphere. Mmmmm, no. Warner’s success as a cell phone magnate cannot quite compare to Obama’s story, and his accomplishments in Virginia were awkwardly presented. He lost the audience early and never got them back.
With these sorts of reviews, it seems that Obama may remain the only Dem Keynoter to secure the nomination in the last 40 years. (Although Warner can join the ranks of Bayh and Askew).
Filed under: Election 2008
Why, you ask? Because I can tell you all are starving for content, even through the computer. I’ll focus on Warner’s speech, but what the heck, I’ll give you a two-fer with Clinton. Expect the same Thursday night.
11:10 Who’s a Methodist? President Bush…..and Senator Clinton
11:01 I think the Democrats have used the phrase “four more years” more than the GOP did in 2004. Clever turn of phase though.
10:58 She’s bridging the gap, but can Bill follow?
10:43 I think Bill is more emotional than she is. It’s not deafening, but this is definitely an enthusiastic welcome.
10:42: I wonder if these are new signs or leftover stock. Note that her web address is on them.
10:41: I must say that Chelsea has really come into her own.
10:37 One has to wonder if this was the video they had ready if she got it.
10:25 America also imports a great deal of goat meat. Not a criticism. More of an advertisement.
10:24 Did you catch the dude yelling “Hell Yeah” and “Hell No”?
10:23 Rockin’ the bolo tie. I wish I could pull that off.
10:15 For Mark Warner Fans: A review of Keynote Speakers of the last forty years
2004: Senator Barack Obama (Won Senate Election, Presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee)
2000: Representative Harold Ford of Tennessee (Lost 2006 U.S. Senate bid, heads DLC)
1996: Governor Evan Bayh of Indiana (Won 1998 U.S. Senate Bid, Aborted potential 2008 Presidential Run)
1992: Former Representative Barbara Jordan (Died in 1996)
1988: Treasurer Ann Richards of Texas (Won Governorship in 1990, lost re-election to George W. Bush in 1994)
1984: Governor Mario Cuomo of New York (Didn’t enter 1992 Contest, lost 1994 re-election bid to George Pataki)
1980: Representative Mo Udall of Arizona (Left Congress in 1990, died in 1998)
1976: Representative Barbara Jordan (See above)
1972: Governor Reubin Askew of Florida (Served as Trade Rep, failed in 1984 Presidential Bid and 1988 Senate Bid)
1968: Senator Daniel Inyoue (Still in the U.S. Senate)
10:07 Ann Richards lives! Not only in Warner’s speech, but in Strickland’s too.
10:06 I never realized when I was stocking frozen peas at Food Lion that I was the lowest rung on the economic ladder
10:01 Did Strickland just have his notes delivered to him? I guess not all Democrats are comfortable with technology
9:59 Just a quick glance, but I don’t think a keynoter has bashed the other party’s nominee in twenty years
9:54 Here we go. “The Virginia Story.”
9:35 P.M. Already spotted Hillary signs but no Warner signs?
Signs have been pointing all month to an Obama fade and a McCain surge, but now the poll numbers are really starting to show it. This morning CNN reported that their “poll of polls” (always beware of poll averages, but that’s a story for another post) showed that the gap between Obama and McCain had narrowed to two percentage points.
Then they turn right around to show that Senator McCain has a five point lead. Nationally.
It has been just a bad month for Obama. I think alot of this has to do with what will end up being a major strategic error in not selecting his running mate. If Obama had gone ahead and selected a running mate that is more moderate (not a certainty, given that only one of the top three is know as a true DLC type), he likely could have softened the blow of the constant barrage of media profiles that have highlighted his left leaning views and his true Chicago political style. At that same time, McCain has been able to galvanize his base–perhaps the best thing that has happened to him was the Saddleback appearance, in which he was able to state his opposition to abortion. Some feel that this could hurt his chances with moderates, but McCain’s larger problem has been making sure that conservatives stay on board and don’t defect to any third party candidacy in large numbers.
McCain’s statement, along with revelations about just how liberal Obama is on abortion, seems to have helped push Catholics and born-again Christians away from Obama. Additionally, Obama has lost his lead on economic issues, perhaps again owing to revelations that his views on economics seem to be far away from those that have been favored of recent vintage. With a book coming out soon that will argue that Obama needs to paint a bold “progressive” vision for the nation’s economy, this case against him may only be bolstered.
As I’ve argued several times, polling is as much an art as it is a science. But if this Reuters poll, along with polling showing that Indiana is evolving into soft McCain territory rather than a battleground, the momentum in this race is clearly in John McCain’s favor.
Four stories you should know about:
-The Attorney General’s Office is appealing a ruling by the SCC that allows Dominion’s rate caps to expire.
-The Strasburg Town Council is working on revisions to its Architectural Review Board. Open question: how many of the county’s towns have ARB’s?
-Governor Kaine is simply not having a good week. It turns out that his appointee to the SCC James Dimitri is Dominion Power’s lead attorney as they fight to put up a 500 kilovolt power line from Frederick to Loudoun. With news like this dropping all around, it’s no surprise that Tim Kaine wants to pack up, because its becoming clearer by the day that his political future is limited within the boundaries of Virginia.
-The State DEQ has added 70 more miles to their list of impaired waterways in the Shenandoah Valley.
With just 79 days to go, we need to start a major push towards victory, starting with iding voters that are favorable to us. The Goodlatte campaign is looking to set the pace with 10,000 contacts across the district to show Sam Rasoul just what kind of grassroots army he’s facing down. Below is the information for our event, as well as a video to set the mood.
Saturday August 23rd at 10am
United Country Real Estate
5250 Main Street – Mt. Jackson, Virginia
Contact Mike at (540) 248-1855 or MSargent@BobGoodlatte.com
Filed under: Election 2008, General Assembly, Local Government and Politics, Local Press, Morning Round-Up, State Government and Politics
Four stories you should know about:
–Governor Kaine is warning the General Assembly that major cuts are going to be needed in the budget due to what appears to have been a horrendous miscalculation by then-Finance Secretary, now-LG candidate Jody Wagner (seriously Democrats, this is the best you can do?) Could this be the silver bullet that kills Kaine’s VP chances? I dunno, Barack Obama barely has any accomplishments in his agenda, so even someone with a train wreck of a legacy might be worth it. Hint to Governor Kaine: Lying only works when you’re trying to raise taxes, not spending. For some reason, people tend to get a bit more upset when there’s no money instead of too much (even if it is all in the government’s hands). Personally, I like Delegate Clay Athey’s proposal best:
When the ax falls, it should land first on new programs proposed by Kaine, said Del. Clifford L. “Clay” Athey, R-Front Royal.
“That would free up $300 [million] to $400 million for before getting into core stuff” like education, Athey said.
Also a must read: Senator Obenshain’s response, up over at SWACGirl. Some highlights:
It wouldn’t have taken an expert to determine which way the fiscal winds were blowing in the waning days of 2007. Profligate spending, unfortunately, was the order of the day, and the attempts my Republican colleagues and I made to inject a dose of fiscal sanity into the budget process were dismissed out of hand. Reality and new spending programs were at odds, and the Governor decided that reality would simply have to give way.
More to the point, when the Governor presents revenue forecasts put together by his Secretary of Finance, we need to be able to rely on those projections as an unbiased and factually-based estimate. Instead, however, the numbers were merely a ploy to push new expenditures our Commonwealth can ill afford.
–President Rick Zinser is leaving Masanutten Military Academy next year after an eight year run. I’ll be perfectly honest: Colonel Zinser has done a marvelous job at the academy and has greatly changed how it is viewed in the community. Military academies (and this one in particular) are not little prisons; they are well thought out, alternative educational institutions driven by military values. Though I rarely like to do this, be sure to read the profile on Zinser and the Academy in last week’s Herald.
-Republican Electoral Board Member Bev Felming is working with the Woodstock Town Council on massaging the town’s current stance that town elections will be held at the old location (County Government Building) while all others will be at Central High School. The town decided to hold off on action when several residents protested the move, despite the fact that the move recieved no opposition before when it came to both the Electoral Board and the Board of Supervisors. (Although it should be noted there was some that may not have been lodged in public) Read your local government agendas, people!
-Strasburg’s planning commission is tackling the issue of commercial versus residential development once more, this time in the form of a proposal for 80-some condo units on Signal Knob Drive.