Friday, December 26, 2008

Warner is Leaving the Senate

On January 3rd, John Warner will retire from the U.S. Senate after thirty years in office. He will be the second longest serving Virginian senator. In light of this fact, the Richmond Times Dispatch published two articles about John Warner's service as a senator. One of the great commonalities between the two articles was John Warner's "independence," i.e. willingness to break with his own party.

One of the articles had a classic Larry Sabato quote.
Warner says he has no regrets about stands that put him at odds with the state Republican Party, such as his opposition to the 1987 Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork and to Oliver North's Senate candidacy in 1994.

University of Virginia political analyst Larry Sabato, who has followed Warner's career, said Warner's model of the Republican Party is the only one that can win long term.

"He's been vindicated by history. He's been more successful for longer than any Republican in Virginia history."

I know that Larry Sabato enjoys bashing conservatives, but please... Warner has been vindicated by history? The Republican party has definately fallen on hard times since 2005. However has John Warner won an election since then? How do we know he could have been elected in a state that seems to be unfriendly to Republicans? Also it was not Warner's brand of Republicanism that brought about the resurgence of the Republican Party in Virginia which began in 1993. It was the leadership of George Allen which lead to this parties gubernatorial victories in the nineties and its success in the state legislature as well.

A major part of John Warner's legacy is as someone who undermined the Republican Party at every turn. He successfully worked to block the nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court, opposed Michael Farris for Lieutenant Governor (1993) and Oliver North for Senate (1994) even after they were the Republican nominees. More recently he was part of the "Gang of 14," opposed the Bush administration when it attempted to be conservative, and has been invisible when Republican candidates in Virginia could use his support. In all honesty Warner did make token appearances in the final weeks of the campaigns these past couple years.

Imagine if Robert Bork had been on the Supreme Court instead of Anthony Kennedy. Imagine if Mike Farris and Oliver North had been elected. Imagine if the nuclear option had been exercised. Imagine what this could have done for the causes of limited government, preserving the constitution, and building the Republican Party in Virginia. Imagine all these things, and then realize that John Warner stopped those dreams from becoming a reality. This is John Warner's legacy. It is not one of being a voice of moderation within the Republican Party, but of undermining the party. This is why I am happy John Warner will no longer be my senator.


Links to the two Richmond Times Dispatch articles.

No comments: