Warner Drops Out, Who Takes His Place?

So the former Virginia governor Mark Warner has ended his candidacy for President before it began, announcing he will not seek the office in 2008. The conventional wisdom is that of all those hoping to be the Democratic nominee in 2008, this move benefits John Edwards the most, since Edwards, like Warner, are both youngish, telegenic southern moderates. Of course that's likely true, but it seems to me that there are two other implications. Warner had been touted as one of the few prospective candidates who could provide a viable alternative to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary (the New York Times magazine, in a cover profile, called Warner "The Fallback," touting him as the chief alternative to Sen. Clinton). Warner's announcement that he won't run makes the race somewhat more attractive for the two heavyweights who are lurking on the edges of the race — Al Gore and Barack Obama — who might also aspire to be the anti-Hillary, and might now see their path to be a little more open. Second, Warner had been considered a favorite of the liberal blogosphere — having employed the influential blogger Jerome Armstrong, among other moves. Because Senator Clinton has such powerful support from the Democratic party's traditional sources of campaign contributions in New York and on the west coast, any alternative candidate would likely have to raise significant amounts of cash through the Internet. With Warner out of the race, that potential funding stream is wide open. And it seems to me that — given Obama's well-publicized tiffs with liberal bloggers — Gore is the potential candidate best positioned to become the choice of the blogosphere. None of this is to say that Gore is likely to run; just that the list of beneficiaries today likely extends beyond John Edwards.