So long, Mr. Above It All: Warner is a political operative after all (Virginian-Pilot)

Virginian-PilotBy Kerry Dougherty, The Virginian-Pilot

Just like that, it’s gone.

Sen. Mark Warner’s carefully crafted persona, that is. The bipartisan brand he relentlessly burnished from his earliest days in the Governor’s Mansion has now all but evaporated. So has his image as an ineffective, but guileless, U.S. senator whose specialty was reaching across the aisle.

Now that The Washington Post has revealed the extent to which Warner meddled in petty politics on behalf of desperate Virginia Democrats last spring, the senator’s I’m-above-politics aura has vanished….

“It certainly was not the senator’s finest hour,” said Stephen J. Farnsworth, a University of Mary Washington political scientist, noting that Virginians have long had unrealistic expectations for their elected officials, foolishly believing that politics as practiced in the Old Dominion is “cleaner” than elsewhere.

If nothing else, this past painful year has gone a long way toward disabusing naive Virginians of that notion.

“People looking for saints in politicians are going to be disappointed,” joked Farnsworth.

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