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We need a pragmatistnow, Sept. 14, 2005 By Andy Prutsok 06/03/2006 Methinks our governor is running for something. I was at the Marriott in Norfolk last night as a guest of Sheriff Raleigh Isaacs as h

Methinks our governor is running for something.

I was at the Marriott in Norfolk last night as a guest of Sheriff Raleigh Isaacs as he was sworn in as the 72nd president of the Virginia State Sheriffs Association.

Dinner service was interrupted when Gov. Mark Warner entered the room. Warner immediately took to the podium and began candidly discussing with the sheriffs events of his administration, which is four months from coming to end, as well as problems facing the nation.

The governor is a charismatic, persuasive individual and will be a tough act to follow. I've not been around Messers Kilgore, Kaine and Potts, but from what I've seen and read in the media, I doubt the encounter would stick with me long.

Warner on the other hand is glib and it appeared last night that he was trying out some of the things he'll be talking about in the coming years as he begins his quest for the White House. He has not announced as far as I know, but it's just a matter of time.

Warner is the rare type of government leader who can transcend politics, at least publicly. While he may carry the mantle of Democrat, he won't be running as one in the traditional sense. Nor will he be running as a Republican, liberal or conservative.

Warner will be running as an adult, which I think is something the country is yearning for. While we are prone to fall for those who promise us the moon – like costly wars and tax cuts without having to sacrifice anything to pay for them – deep down we know from personal experience that the bill has to be paid by somebody. We have a long history of swinging back and for the between ideologues and pragmatists. Ideologues are fun for a while, but it wears thin fast when things start to go down the drain as they invariably do. It's one of the traits that has kept us from swinging too far one or the other over the past 230 years. We need a pragmatist leading America now.

Like the rest of us, Warner does not like high taxes, but recognizes there are certain core government services n education, police protection at home, military strength abroad, health care and transportation that have to be funded. You can't spend your way or slash your way to prosperity (or both as the current administration appears to be trying to do). There's a middle ground that it takes level-headed pragmatists to find and hold.

I think Warner would make a great president. Too bad we have to wait three more years to find out.