In the Promoting 2008 Democratic Presidential Hopefuls category, the Washington Post carried a goopy story promoting outgoing Gov. Mark Warner, hailed by some as the Southern-fried moderate alternative to Hillary "I Love New York So Much I Adopted It" Clinton. George Will used to scour Reagan by disdaining his "Morning in America goo." What the Post gave us today is "Morning in Virginia goo."
Michael D. Shear's article was headlined "Warner's Triumphant Legacy No Easy Feat: Bipartisan-Minded Governor Broke Tax Vow But Revived Va." It began:
Mark Robert Warner, the businessman-turned-politician, faced an immense budget gap, a steep learning curve and a legislature happy to see him fail when he was inaugurated as Virginia's 69th governor in 2002.
Over the next four years, he slashed the state's budget, stumbled repeatedly, proposed two tax increases -- and wound up as one of the most popular governors in the commonwealth's history. In November, Virginians chose a successor who campaigned as the second coming of Mark Warner.
What made Virginians adore a governor who political opponents say is nothing more than a tax-and-spend liberal?
And then it starts sounding like a campaign brochure instead of a news article:
He turned a $6 billion shortfall in the state budget into a billion-dollar surplus, a narrative he used to re-brand Virginia's Democratic Party as the party of fiscal discipline.
Mayors of rural towns applaud him for creating jobs. Teachers say their schools have more money. Governing Magazine cited his efforts in areas including procurement and technology consolidation as proof that Virginia is better managed than any other state.
More children have insurance. Graduation rates are higher. The state's sprawling and still underfunded Department of Transportation now finishes most projects on time and under budget.
Slashed the state's budget? Ken Shepherd also has a nice takedown at the Free Market Project.