Good move: Democrats Pick Warner As Keynote Speaker
Democratic Party leaders announced yesterday that former Virginia governor Mark R. Warner will deliver the keynote address at their national convention in Denver this month . . .
The choice of Warner appeared to dim chances that the state's current governor, Timothy M. Kaine, would be selected as the Democrats' vice presidential nominee.
In a 3-21-05 post I wrote about the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner and reviewed the remarks by Gov. Warner who was the keynote speaker. He delivered one powerful message. The part of the post on his remarks follows:
Gov. Warner noted that when he ran for governor of Virginia in 2001, Virginia had not voted Democratic since 1964, and had not had a Democrat governor elected in 10 years.
Warner said the reasons he ran, in addition to cleaning up the mess the Republicans had made in Richmond just as they have made a mess in Atlanta, were to:
• Show it is OK to like country music and be a Democrat;
• Show it is OK to own a gun and be a Democrat; and
• Show it is OK to be a NASCAR fan and be a Democrat.
Warner stressed that we must reject the approach of writing off the South. To return to power, Democrats must be competitive in every state.
Gov. Warner said he believes strongly that to capture the White House:
(1) Democrats must appeal to moderate Republicans and rural America; and
(2) Democrats must be fiscally responsible, and become the party known for being fiscally conservative. For him, being fiscally conservative means someone who pays his bills and meets his commitments.
In connection with being fiscally conservative, Gov. Warner noted that ours is going to be the first generation ever to leave our children worse off than we were, and this is just wrong.
He says that the Republican administration under Bush has told America that it can wage war and cut taxes for the affluent at the same time.
To retake the White House, Warner says Democrats must reach out to folks who have not voted Democratic in years.
He noted that moderate Republicans are an endangered species.
Moderate Republicans don't like:
• The debt that Bush has given us in lieu of the surplus former President Clinton left;
• The mean streak that the GOP is identified with in persons such as Ralph Reed and Rep. Tom DeLay; and
• A party commited to winning at any cost, as typified by Senator Chambliss's attack against former Sen. Max Cleland.
Gov. Warner noted that in days gone by, folks who are now moderate Republicans would have been conservative Democrats. Our challenge is to get these moderate Republicans to vote Democratic.
And we must win back rural America.
The Governor noted that Democrats have been misrepresented on:
• Accepting values and personal responsibilities;
• Having respect for the Second Amendment; and
• Having a litmus test for abortion and guns.
As a party we must do more than just be against things. We must be for things! Things we must be for include:
• A party that is for a strong military and presence in the world.
• A party that is for an aggressive and engaged foreign policy and enlists the cooperation of our allies. (On this point, the Governor noted that in the last presidential we lost a great opportunity in not asking Americans to be willing to be willing to experience some personal sacrifice versus willing to go into debt and still reduce taxes.)
• A party that honors and rewards work.
• A party that is an advocate for innovation.
• A party that is recognized for racial reconciliation across the United States with black, Hispanics and other minorities.
• A party that is for reforming things.
• A party that wants to balance the budget and meet its responsibilities.
• A party that continues to remember the role that faith and religion and values play in our lives.
Gov. Warner concluded by saying he was encouraged at the present, not discouraged. If it can and did happen in Virginia, we can do it in Georgia and other southern states.And more than anything, he noted in closing, the challenge we face is the challenge to once again lead; stand up and lead.
Needless to say, the crowd in unison stood up, and as one who was there and did that, I can tell you, we are ready, ready to stand up and lead. Bring 2006 on Bubba Perdue; bring it on Ralph Reed; bring it on Philistines; bring it on. We are ready, willing and able -- and cannot wait -- to once again lead.