Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sen. Mark Warner and the 'Gang of Six'

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner is a curious political type, one whose label changes depending on who's issuing it. To Republicans, he's a liberal; to national Democrats, a conservative; to most of the rest of us, a moderate. He's far to the left of all but a couple of Republicans, far to the right of the bulk of his party colleagues and a guy almost anybody can talk to. Even Saxbee Chambliss (above left with Warner) of Georgia, the Republican who won a few years ago by saying a paraplegic war hero was a coward.

These days, as part of the Gang of Six in the Senate, Warner is working with five other Senators of various stripes to try to come up with a budget plan that can cross ideologies and get the country off "stuck." None of us has much clue whether it can be done and if it is done by them, whether it will be accepted by a majority of Senators, a much less clubby House of Representatives and a president who seems just about ready to agree to anything that isn't nothing.

Today's New York Times has a piece about the gang and Warner's role in it. It's worth reading, both because he's your senator and because these guys are setting something of a standard with the simple act of talking to each other. That's a mighty low bar, but it's the only one we have.

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