The 2008 presidential race has already begun. With federal exploratory committees established, Road to the White House 2008 on C-SPAN, and talk of a Hillary/Condi matchup, the next presidential election is well under way more than three years before nominees will have been selected by either party.
The election is unusual because we will not have a president running for reelection, nor will we have a vice president who wants the top job. The resulting open election has produced many names on either side, for the Republicans people like Bill Frist, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Rick Santorum, and on the Democrats side, Hillary, Hillary, and Hillary (as well as Joe Biden, John Kerry, John Edwards, and Evan Bayh.)
Democrats, for their part, need a candidate who can win elections. Their presidential track record isn't the greatest having won only three of their last ten attempts. This should cause party leaders to take a step back and look at what works, and what doesn't.
The proven winning strategy for the party involves the selection of candidates with southern roots, whose appeal transcends geography, and can be described as an authentic individual.
Governor Mark Warner of Virgina would be a quality candidate for the party in 2008 for many reasons. Governorships are not only the most common stepping stone to the White House, but rightly so. Governors need to work with a legislative branch, need to handle all issues of the state, and serve as the bottom line in the government. While a senator or a representative can vote on many important issues, they are merely 1 in a body of 100 or 435 making their power as an individual is not extremely significant. A governor has the responsibility of delivering a product at the end of a term, and results can actually be measured. Mark Warner has been one of the most sucessful governors in the United States in many years.
Warner, a Democrat able to win in a very traditional Republican state, won due to his ability to reach out to urban as well as rural voters. He worked with a Republican led legislature to solve a statewide budget crisis. He tranformed the state's educational system. His work caused the Pew Charitable Trust and Governing magazine to name Virginia the best managed state in the nation.
Democrats really need to consider all their options when selecting their 2008 nominee. A senator from the northeast or a governor from the south? History has revealed some trends on that. Additionally, a look at the electoral map will tell you that Warner on top of the 2008 ticket can put many new states into play that the party has generally written off.
If Mark Warner sounds intriguing to you, and you would like to learn more about him, he has been written about in several places. Newsweek's Howard Fineman wrote about him here, and there is an excellent interview on Salon.com about this Southern Star.
If you like what you see and would like to join the Draft Mark Warner movement, I encourage you to do so. There are active groups throughout the entire nation who are energized to move Governor Warner from Virginia across the Potomac River to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January 2009.