Saturday, September 01, 2007

John Warner: good natured, unflappable and unbeatable

Yesterday, Virginia’s Senator John Warner ended speculation over whether he plans to campaign in 2008 to hold onto his seat in the U.S. Senate. Standing before the Rotunda at the University of Virginia, Warner announced that he will not seek a sixth term, choosing instead to retire on Jan. 6, 2009.

At 80 years old, surely Warner deserves a less hectic schedule. Among his comments, the white-haired veteran of World War II (Navy) and the Korean War (Marines) said, “How fortunate, how blessed I have been.”

Well, he’s not the only one.

The citizens of Virginia have been fortunate to have had Sen. John Warner representing their interests since 1979. Although Warner has been a moderate-to-conservative Republican, both in his expressed views and with his voting record, he has not let GOP political hacks push him into violating his own standards to play team ball.

Thus, at times Warner moved decisively to scuttle the campaigns of Republicans he saw as unworthy of his fellow Virginians’ support. Following his leadership, the voters rejected an extremist, Mike Farris (1993), and an opportunist, Oliver North (1994). Thus, owing much to Warner's efforts, Virginians were spared from being represented in high office by a rather mean-spirited religious crackpot, on the one part, and a traitorous smirking wiseass, on the other.

Of course, since those days some on the GOP fringe have hammered Warner as a RINO (Republican in name only). Yes, that crowd has tried more than once to unseat him. That, while Warner has remained good natured, unflappable and unbeatable.

And, in spite of how many times I have disagreed with Warner’s positions on other matters -- including his past support of Bush’s policy in Iraq -- still, I must say thank you, Senator. Thanks for the thoughtful, measured way you have carried yourself over the last 28 years in office.

Alas, it seems Sen. Warner is one of the last of a dying breed doing the people’s business inside the beltway -- a courteous representative of the people who actually does his own thinking. The list of those who want his job brings to mind that Warner’s successor will be hard pressed to live up to the standard he has set.

-- Art by F.T. Rea

1 comment:

HEK said...

While the years have washed up plenty of opportunists and extrenusts as you've pointed out, Warner's views--in most cases, "moderate"--have seemed out of step with the current version of what passes for Republicans. About the most provocative thing Republicans stood for when Warner began his political career was compound interest. Times have changed.

John Warner spoke to my VCU graduating class in 1986. He said our new degrees would help the nation combat..terrorism. My English degreed classmates booed him and others turned their backs. We were young, then, and of course, knew everything already.