Back in my days as a Republican activist, Republican City Committee member and precinct captain I got to meet former Senator John Warner on numerous occasions and worked with his staff on a number of campaigns. Warner always put his principles first and put the best interests of America ahead of partisanship - something in rare supply nowadays as too many in the GOP have cast principle and decency aside to support a narcissistic demagogue for the presidency. A case in point from the past is Warner's refusal to support Oliver North when he ran for the U.S. Senate. Yes, North was charismatic (I knew him as well and two of my children liked him for the attention he gave them at political events), but he was not fit for office. Continuing this trend, Warner is endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. A piece in the Washington Post looks at Warner's decision. Here are excerpts:
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will score another high-powered Republican endorsement on Wednesday, according to a campaign aide: retired senator John Warner of Virginia, a popular GOP maverick with renowned military credentials.
Warner’s decision not to support his party’s nominee, Donald Trump, is intended to send a signal in the five-term senator’s battleground home state and beyond that mainstream, security-minded Republicans should side with Clinton.
Virginia is an important, military-rich state that both candidates see as essential to winning the White House as the race tightens nationally. Clinton is making a pitch across the country that she is the more seasoned and responsible candidate on military and national security issues.
Perhaps best known by some for marrying actress Elizabeth Taylor, Warner, 89, is also known for bucking his party. A World War II veteran, former U.S. Navy secretary and former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Warner famously opposed the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork, as well as the 1994 Senate candidacy of Oliver North of Iran-contra notoriety. He endorsed Democrat Mark R. Warner over Republican Jim Gilmore to fill his own seat in the U.S. Senate.
John Warner’s ability to withstand the Republican criticism he endured for those decisions stemmed largely from the gravitas he had built over a lengthy Senate career in which he mastered national security issues and diligently delivered for the state’s military bases and defense contractors.
He has never before endorsed a Democrat for president.
“For 30 years, Virginians trusted John Warner in the Senate, and for good reason: He has dedicated his life to defending our country, from serving in the Navy in World War II to chairing the Senate Armed Services Committee, where I had the honor of working with him to support our men and women in uniform and their families,” Clinton wrote in a statement provided to The Washington Post. “I am proud to have John’s support, and to know that someone with his decades of
Warner retired in 2009, leaving office with approval ratings that any politician would covet. A Washington Post poll conducted a little more than a year before his retirement found that 72 percent of likely voters approved of the job he was doing.
In military-heavy Virginia, more voters think Clinton would make a better commander in chief than Trump, 50 percent to 40 percent, with female voters saying so by a 2-to-1 margin.
Warner will become perhaps the most high-profile former GOP elected official whom Clinton has trotted out in recent weeks to try to make the case that she is the superior candidate on foreign affairs, in particular.
Other names well known in the foreign affairs establishment include John Negroponte, who held high-level positions in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush; Brent Scowcroft, a national security adviser to Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush; and Richard Armitage, a deputy secretary of state in the George W. Bush administration.
Warner’s pick could also bolster the standing of the Democratic ticket in Virginia at a time when Republicans are trying to keep the state competitive.
With Kaine on the ticket this year, Clinton has maintained a lead that suggests a long-term realignment. As Trump has risen in the polls nationally, the race in Virginia has grown somewhat tighter, but the Democrats still enjoy a nearly 7 percentage point lead, according to the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls.
Other former elected Republican officeholders who have endorsed Clinton include: Michael Bloomberg, a mayor of New York; Arne Carlson, a governor of Minnesota; David Durenberger, a senator from Minnesota; Constance A. Morella, a congresswoman from Maryland; Larry Pressler, a senator and congressman from South Dakota; Christopher Shays, a congressman from Connecticut; and John J.H. Schwarz, a congressman from Michigan.