Why Warner Dropped Out
The reason why Mark Warner dropped out of the presidential derby for 2008 yesterday was that he is thinking about running for the John Warner's Senate seat as John Warner is retiring. Barring that, as the New Republic's Ryan Lizza reports, Mark Warner would consider a run for his old job as governor in 2009.
Mark Warner would have little trouble grabbing John Warner's Senate seat in 2008, and clearly he thought that the near-sure thing of a Senate victory in 2008 was better than the grueling uphill struggle against Team Hillary and perhaps Team Obama that same year. As Harold Meyerson noted in Tapped Online late yesterday, the problem for Warner and even Evan Bayh is that Hillary has positioned herself already on the center-right of the party as the DLC heir, and any attempt by Warner or Bayh to run to her right was doomed to be ignored and underfunded in relative terms.
As I mentioned late last week, Hillary is going to follow Bill's model of campaigning from the middle and DLC wing of the party, rather than let someone get to her right. She assumes that no one can emerge on her left to make such a shift difficult for her, and she obviously doesn't think anyone can deny her the base of the party.
I suspect that John Edwards, Barack Obama, and yes, Al Gore would be a crimp in those plans.
Update: Jerome Armstrong believes that I am wrong in my conclusions about why Warner dropped out. I may very well be, and I was basing my conclusions not on what I know but what Ryan Lizza reported from his conversation with Warner. But I find it hard to believe that Warner embarked on this campaign, hired dozens of staff around the country, brought aboard Jerome and other pros to set up a good netroots capability, raised millions of dollars, and just now realized that running a presidential campaign in 2007 and 2008 would require a huge family sacrifice. Jerome worked long and hard to get Warner to this point, and he has a right to think that I am wrong for suggesting that Warner made a primarily political decision here, and not necessarily a family one. I just have a hard time believing that the man didn't know what he was getting into here until now.