The NY Times Sunday ran a cover story in its magazine section on the Democratic dark horse candidate, former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, whose been creating a bit of a buzz within the left's Republican-lite circles lately. Warner, a NASCAR-loving Southerner who supports the NRA, parental notification for minors' abortions, and big business, is the favorite among some Hillary-fearing, victory-seeking Democrats. Sure, he satisfies those who seek to mirror the conservatives on values issues, and is surely someone who'll appeal to rich, white Southerners. But what about the rest of America? What about the base? Will they vote for someone who more often resembles a Republican than one of their own? Is that really what Democrats will want after eight years of Bush & Co? Can he ultimately win?
Most Democrats know two things: that they love the idea of Sen. Hillary Clinton running for president, and see her sailing through to the nomination; and that she has a minimal chance of winning the national election. Her financial warchest (estimated to be $75-million by '08), political clout and sheer momentum almost assures her easy victory over the current pack of presidential yawnabes, among them John Kerry, John Edwards, Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, Wesley Clark, Russ Feingold, Bill Richardson and Warner. None of them--emphasis on none--stand a chance against Clinton. She's too powerful for the money-people and the DC insiders to go against; not with this current crop of choices. No one wants to be left out of the cold if she just happens to go all the way.
There's only one candidate who has the political capital and overall gravitas to not only win a showdown with Clinton, but to win the big prize as well. "This sounds absolutely strange coming from me, because I never in life thought I would utter these words again, but Al Gore," said Democratic consultant Donna Brazile in Sunday's Times story. Brazile, Gore's campaign manager in 2000, suggests that Gore has the national profile and fiery enthusiasm to generate excitement from the base. When you think about his staunch anti-war stand from the get-go; his years of environmental advocacy; his impressive political dossier; and the fact that he did win the popular vote in 2000 (and as many believe, the electoral college as well), it's not hard to imagine a Gore candidacy emerging sometime in the next year. The Times cites former advisors who say the former Veep is uninterested in running, but don't believe it for one nano-second. It's all part of his own momentum-building campaign.