Warner is leaving what would have been a safe seat for the Republicans if he had chosen to run again. His departure gives Democrats a better chance to protect or even expand their one-seat majority in the Senate.
Warner, former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has long been an important voice in the Iraq debate because of his military expertise and his willingness to question White House war policy.
After a recent trip to Iraq, Warner said President Bush should start bringing some troops home by Christmas. If Bush refused, Warner said, he would consider backing anti-war legislation. The statement was the senator’s strongest to oppose the White House and is expected to influence the Iraq debate this fall.
Perhaps Senator Warner’s knowledge of his impending retirement gave him the courage to finally speak his mind on Iraq – like the recently leaked GAO report, the Senator’s defection was yet another blow to George Bush’s all-out propaganda efforts to persuade the American people that the “surge” is working.
In any case, his leaving is excellent news for Democrats. Virginia went blue in the last election, and there are rumors that Virginia’s popular Democratic ex-Governor, Mark Warner, may throw his hat in the ring.
As the 2008 election approaches and scandals and resignations continue to plague the Republics, one thing is very clear: The Party of Bush is exhausted, divided and demoralized. And America is tired of Republic hypocrisy, bigotry and blind support of the disastrous neo-conservative policies of the most hated President in history.
It’s about time.