The Virginia Senator
John Warner’s career in the US Senate bookended the Republican Party’s short era of dominance in Virginia. He was narrowly elected in 1978, in a state which favored conservative Democrats; and retired from the US Senate in 2009. He was certainly part of the Defense establishment, which once held economic and political power in Virginia; the submarine USS John Warner (SSN-785) is named in his honor. He drew support from across the political spectrum, running unopposed in 2002. Before his retirement, the nascent Tea Party movement branded this popular moderate as a RINO (Republican in Name Only). John Warner was indeed a RINO: “Reasonable, Intelligent, Nice and Open-minded”.
Warner's death comes at an inflection point as the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) attempts to rebuilt from a lost decade of nominating Tea Party and Trumpist candidates, who failed to win any statewide election since 2009. If proof is found in pudding, these rural hardliners typically lost their November elections by 10 points or more; while mainstream candidates in 2013 and 2014 fell just one point short of victory. The RPV is optimistic for this year’s races, as the nominees are both diverse and chosen by suburban voters, who have marched towards the Democrats in the past decade. John Warner was richly eulogized by the nominees, showing that the late Senator is a model to be followed.
Exxon Going Green?
This one is personal to me, as I dumped this laggard of a stock last year. Shareholders put Jeffrey Ubben of Value Act Capital onto Exxon's Board of Directors, in hopes of bringing the large corporation up to par in the future of energy. Ubben's unique thinking is that an "oil company" can be part of a "Responsible Investing" (ESG-focused) portfolio. For other petroleum companies, the transition to green energy is nothing new. BP (British Petroleum) had long styled itself as "beyond petroleum", embracing a green sunflower as its logo.