Thursday, October 19, 2006

Real life v. politics: The Warner decision revisited

Campaigning is full-time around the clock seven days a week. I have worked on a number of campaigns and I know family and a personal life are put on the back burner. If you are a candidate it is worse. And if you are a Presidential candidate it is as bad as it gets given our insane system of nominating candidates requiring campaigning and fundraising years in advance of the nomination and election. It is extremely stressful on families. Period.

Mark Warner’s prospects as a potential Democratic nominee looked as promising as any of the other many names floating about. It came as a shock when he withdrew from the campaign and invited skepticism when he gave the reason as being he wanted a real life. Surely there must be a skeleton in the closet or a private poll showing his campaign as hopeless. It is as if taking a politician at his word is somehow unthinkable.

Ryan Lizza has just published a piece in The New Republic about Mark Warner. He has covered him for Presidential race and had a number of conversations with him. His thoughts on Warner:
Every governor or senator thinks about running for president. Most do so
because they are ambitious and see the presidency as the next rung on America's
political ladder. The big question they often ask is strategic. How can I make
it through the process and get elected? In the end, that's not the question
Warner asked. His advisers swear that the nuances of the primaries and the
details of how to topple Hillary Clinton never came up in his final
deliberations. Warner asked not whether he could be president, but whether he
should be president. The irony of Warner's answer is that the kind of person who
dwells on that question is the kind of person you want to be president.

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