Thursday, October 15, 2009

What Mark Warner's been up to . . .

We hear a lot these days about Virginia Senator Jim Webb. His high-profile trip to Myanmar secured the release of John Yettaw, the man who swam a lake to sneak into the house of detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. He always seems to be being quoted in reports of foreign policy debates. Mr. Webb was recently recognized as one of The Atlantic magazine's Brave Thinkers.

It seems to this reporter, however, that Jim Webb was elected in large part because then-governor Mark Warner campaigned hard at his side. I remember going to one of these events, pushing through the crowd to get a word with Mr. Warner, then catching up with Mr. Webb (who was striding along alone) and asking him how it felt to campaign with a rock star. He smiled that delightfully shy smile of his and said it felt just fine.

Two years later Mark Warner, himself, ran for Senator, was elected, and then (again in this reporter's opinion) kind of disappeared from public view. So, it was with great interest and pleasure that I opened today's online Washington Post to spot this article on its front page: "Banking Reform's Dynamic Duo."  It tells of the partnership formed by Mark Warner and Senator Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican. Both men are experienced businessmen; both men interested in bypassing partisan bickering. Says the article:
          Already, Warner and Corker have crafted legislation that would give the FDIC wider authority to wind down failing financial firms, a step toward ridding the country of "too big to fail" institutions. They also have sponsored a bill aiming to liquidate the government's stake in such bailed-out companies as General Motors, Citigroup and American International Group. The proposal would also require that independent trustees be named to manage the public stake in any company that is more than 20 percent owned by the government.
 So, that's what Mark Warner's been up to.

On a personal/professional note: I'm  talking with A.S. Byatt this morning for my first piece for (see yesterday's post, if you're interested in what this is about.) I'm excited. Dame Byatt knows so much and writes so beautifully. I love knowing her cell phone number. It makes me feel that I, too, get to travel with a rock star.

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