Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Fair Shot with Mark Warner

A Fair Shot with Mark Warner

Greetings from the Iowa River Power Company. Had the brief chitchat with Warner and a couple staff folks; most of the local legislators are here as well.

Some buzz in the room about the Kurt Swaim attack mailing; apparently copycat attack pieces are rippling through the state. I think Wiskus gets to have it both ways: he gets to be a "good guy" by denouncing it, his name gets out there, AND the charge gets repeated. (Swaim is basically guilty of being a lawyer.)Plus, despite his renunciation, he stays on the ballot as a Republican - it's too late to make ballot changes, even DEATH is insufficiant and Mary Sue Freeman will be re-elected posthumously) so he gets every straight ticket GOP vote.

Intros were fast and Warner is already on. Pics won’t work with sunlight behind him; the river is picturesque and we even saw a heron.

He says Iowa Dems have high expectations of politicos of his ilk (he doesn't say "presidential" but we all get it) “Thanks for what you did for us LAST week...” He’s talking Forward America’s Map Changers project; I’ll give it the link love when I get home.

He’s got a commanding presence with the speech – as he starts into the biography bit. Not a stiff podium thing, just working the front part of room.

DNC post-law school, Talking business background – a couple flops then success with Nextel and venture capital, Doug Wilder campaign. Intros the Virginia pals who are traveling with him, whose names we may all know somday if he pulls this thing off… and get some humor out of the Mark Warner vs. John Warner race and his MARK NOT JOHN bumper stickers (“Is that a Biblical reference?” - only in rural Virginia). He does NOT repeat the Liz Taylor joke. After that “silver medal” he worked on expanding health care…

Crowd is what we call a “heavy hitter” crowd – by local standards. Not private reception at Jefferson-Jackson level, but doctory, lawyery, folks who set their own schedule and can take time at lunch. (Not a price prohibitive event, and a couple of us schlepped in on volunteer skill.)

“If everyone has to move to a big city to get a job, the character of our country will change.” Started regional venture capital program. Worked on hi tech at black colleges.

The Why Politics question : “I feel blessed to live in this country, had more than my share of fair shots. The quintessential American value is everyone ought to get a fair shot. More important then who parents were, where born, color of skin.”

Fair Shot. That’s the phrase. That's the theme. He hits it several times.

DC is still the old dividing lines (Warner hates Red Vs. Blue). "It’s really future vs. past." We need to address those if the notion of Fair Shot is to survive.

Now on to the gubernatorial tenure… campaigned in rural areas that hadn’t seen a Dem in a long time. “The best evidence of what someone is going to do is what they’ve already done.”

Budget deficit of 6 billion. We made hard choices, reformed state IT, procurement _ “not sexy but raised value.” Without competent government, it can be life and death (Katrina)

We had a real debate about taxes – even with a 2 to 1 GOP legislature. In Virginia “we're so tired of spin a little truth goes a long way.” Most extensive tax reform in the nation. And best place in country to do business. We made record education investments. Made some changes – reshaped K-grad school.

We’d consistently in the past put newest teachers in toughest schools – and they got hired away by wealthier districts in 3-5 years. My administration gave bonuses to experienced teachers in tough schools. Every HS in state allows for a semester of college credit. For the non-college bound, we guaranteed industry certification. Raised both graduation standards AND remedial programs.

Revamped kids health care program. 98% reach.

Tobacco, textile, furniture economy in rural Virginia. One small town got 300 software jobs – rural broadband. Young people started saying “Now I can stay here” rather than moving away for jobs.

We in Virginia know Dems are fiscally smart, invest in future, Fair Shot. GOP is the ANTI party. My successor won bigger than I did ("mixed feelings about that" gets a laugh)

We need to take our country back with Democratic leadership. He attacks the 2004 18 state strategy. We need to compete everywhere (applause). Don’t just criticize – lay out how to fix. We have never in my life faced as many major problems at once. No one in DC is stepping up. Our standing in world has never been lower. Unite friends divide enemies – we’re reverse.

We need to get out of Iraq – and we need a plan to do so. No permanent plans to stay (applause). Send troops back to Afghanistan. Iran is a real threat – WMD, jihad leadership – but Iraq undercuts. Need help of allies.

Energy policy = Buy $ from China to buy oil from people who hate us. Namedrops alt energy – even nuclear must be on table. Alt energy could drive economy like IT does.

2 weeks of Iraq $$$ could create US jobs and make us safer.

Energy, jobs, security, global warming. All connected.

Now moving to health care – looking at cost containment.

Our fiscal policy is am embarrassment. "Borrowing from China to but oil from people who hate us."

As for campaigning - “Never though being unemployed would be this much work.

Biggest problem with Bush – is something he’s NOT done – he’s never leveled with the American people and asked for shared sacrifice. If Bush a year ago had said “we’re going to build infrastructure” after Katrina or “free ourselves from fossil fuels” after 9/11 – but instead we get Rove and co. polarizing America. People want to be proud.

A couple times he’s adopted the device of “I know this in uncomfortable” or “heresy”, just did it again on bipartisanship.

Winding down with the appeal to the “3et’s ta2e 64r c64ntry bac2.” (That's "Let's take our country back - I can't blame my cats on that one, I just slammed my number lock.)

Mary Mascher - one of the local state reps for you Warnerphiles reaching this from far away - offers the thank you…and Warner takes a few questions

Privatization of govt. services - ”we need efficiency, but the mantra of privatization hadn’t done it.” Won’t say no but says he’s skeptical. There are areas to find savings… and we used some private vendors. But it’s not a carte blanche answer.

Which countries have you visited etc. Israel Jordan and west Europe. We can keep America safe and I won’t cede to anyone. It was my state attacked on 9/11 and we have highest concentration of military bases. We have the kind of intelligence center other states need. When people who deplore govt. try to reform govt. – what happens? Military is frustrated, looking for someone with a forward view. Bush has 19th century worldview – we're the superpower, to heck with consequences. My view is shaped by technology – everything is global. America’s strengths: Military, economy, strong alliances, and we were viewed as a force for good around the world. Rest of world would love that America

First action as president? I would go to place that voted the least for me and ask for their help and ideas. "Change won’t happen in a 51-49 nation."

How would you try to reform health care? “Start with an administration that believes in science” Applause. There’s a better chance now to fix health care than 1993. We need universal coverage. Not necessarily single payer – not necc. 1) Everyone who can afford to pay should pay something. Larger pools, no opt out. 2) Good patient data. 3) Split long term care from health care. 4) Not fair that American pay for whole world’s drug research and development. We want to retain that intellectual capital, but our drug costs are 4-5 times the rest of world. 5) Without prevention, it’s all for naught. We need to step up on that.

Labor issues – my state has traditionally been weak and we moved forward. Key to help keep balance. Tough to regulate capital in a global economy. I don’t want to stop trade, but countries need to play by the same rules.

How do we get back moral standing in world? Rest of the world would welcome it – they sure liked us over last 50 years at tough times. 1-Work with international organizations. 2-Take world lead in alt. energy. 3-Foreign and domestic policy that matches our own values. Cites Nigerian woman who said, “growing up all my friends wanted to come to America.” I want that back. Humility would be a sign of strength not weakness.

If global warming demands less energy use, can you sell that? Needs to be holistic – auto industry needs to be exponentially more efficient and hybrids. Willingness to focus relentlessly on energy independence, jobs, natl. security. With carter we focused only on prices. Focus more on jobs and security. Need a sense we’re all in this together.

American people ready to make a change – but we need to lay it out. “Virginia was not the easiest place to start.” But we offered hope. We can’t out-fear them – but we can offer hope.

The Register question: “Don’t always believe papers.” Tax cuts for rich at time of war wrong – need to repeal Bush cuts. The Register asked, “How’d we get GOP to go along in Virginia?” I said we were viewed as anti-success. With success comes responsibility. We need to look broader – spending and tax codes. Everyone needs to do their part. It’ll take revenue, spending cuts, AND overall reform. “I almost fell out of my chair at that story today.”

Last??? = What can feds do to reverse decline in org. labor? For 50 years biz and labor agreed to a fair framework. Don’t repeal labor protections like Davis-Bacon and NLRB that were FAIR and not biased. My SEUI friends would recommend more I’m sure – but a big piece is just rolling back reversals of the last 6 years and get back to fairness. AT least that was relatively fair compared to now. Must put new emphasis on job skills – and takes it back to industry certification for the non-college bound. Hits the Fair Shot line.

Wraps up praising the tough questions. I’m willing to do bold things. Says he’s going to go shoot some hoops with some students, watch for the injury report.

That’s it for now… Just time for spellchecking and posting. More thought later and maybe some forwarded pics. Press secretary grabs my url.

No comments: