Mark Warner has many virtues as a running-mate for Barack Obama:
1. He’s insanely popular in Virginia.
2. He ran especially well in Appalachia (which Jim Webb didn’t).
3. He seems to be baggage-free.
4. He’s well-spoken, even-tempered, and funny, unlikely to drop a verbal bomb.
5. He combines a solid record of party-building in Virginia with a somewhat “post-partisan” approach to the political game. Like Al Gore with Bill Clinton, he would reinforce the Presidential candidate’s strengths rather than trying to compensate for his weaknesses.
6. By all accounts he was a successful governor, and speaks with great insight and passion about public management. He might do well as Obama’s Prime Minister.
7. He seems to be very, very, very, smart.
8. He was the first in his family to go to college.
9. Reporters will probably think that having made a ton of money in business makes him an expert on the economy.
10. He never took sides in the nomination battle.
Warner”s biggest obvious disadvantage in terms of winning in November is his lack of a military record or any national-security credentials. But I’m not sure that any VP candidate can effectively punch that ticket, though Wes Clark could do it better than Warner could.
But there’s another big disadvantage to Warner: if he isn’t the nominee, he’s a virtual lock to pick up a Senate seat.
Here’s what I’d like to know about that:
1. Under Virginia law, could Warner stay on the ballot for Senator even as he ran for VP?
2. Is there any polling about how the Virginia electorate would feel about that?
3. If Warner were elected to the Senate but couldn’t serve, how long would the replacement appointed by the Governor serve before the special election?
4. Whether as a replacement for Warner on the ballot this year or as a candidate in a special election, who’s the strongest Democratic candidate, and just how strong is he/she?
5. Could Kaine do it? He’s in Year Three of a four-year term, and he can’t be re-elected.
6. What sort of governor would Bill Bolling make?