at the Easter Parade on Monument Avenue
(Photo Credit F. T. Rea, 2001)
Hopefully, after all the surveys and the candidates' political advertising campaigns are said and done, behind the voting booth curtains voters will ask themselves which nominee is more likely to be able to govern effectively.
Accordingly, candidate Kilgore has given us little suggesting he knows how to lead. About all we’ve heard from Kilgore’s own mouth in several weeks are his taglines acknowledging that his campaign’s massive war chest paid the tab for his low-road commercials. When you sweep aside the threadbare platitudes and bumper sticker cliches, could it be Mr. Kilgore has nothing of substance to say?
If this style seems familiar, it should. It was the same smug mindset -- no taxes, no how, know nothing -- that guided former-Governor Jim Gilmore in his four mean years of fiscal folly. So, when Kilgore claims to be this year's conservative, what does that mean? Say a Gilmore-like, thick-as-a-brick conservative? (Probably not.) Or, is the prissy conservative Kilgore saying that he's cut along the scary lines of Neocons Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby? (Ha!) Or, is Kilgore claiming he's more of a macho, Libertarian-type conservative, such as Arizona's John McCain? (Snicker.) Or, perhaps the more buttoned-down, traditional lines of Virginia’s John Warner suit him? (I don’t think so.) How about the bible-thumping, to-hell-with-science stance of wacky Pat Robertson? (Yikes!)
When attorney Jerry Kilgore hides behind his dark TV ads -- depicting grieving family members of murder victims accusing attorney Tim Kaine of "standing" with monsters, and being soft on Hitler -- who actually takes such malarkey seriously? Is that sort of thing actually what thoughtful, fiscal conservatives are worrying about? Not roads? Not education?
Tim Kaine plainly says he will not substitute his personal judgment for that of a Virginia judge/jury in a death penalty case. Since he has promised not to trump verdicts with his own beliefs about the downside of capital punishment, I see no reason to doubt his word.
In spite of all the hit-and-run Kilgore ads saying we shouldn’t “trust” Kaine, I’ve never seen/heard a whit of evidence that suggests Kaine is dishonest. The Kansas City native has lived in Richmond a couple of decades now. If you don’t know him, haven't met him, it’s not hard to find people in Richmond who know and respect Tim Kaine. Ask around.
Furthermore, Kaine’s governing style, as mayor of Richmond, was marked by his ability to settle squabbles between groups with quite different agendas. As Lt. Governor he demonstrated the same rare ability to work both sides of the aisle to get things done. Turn off the TV and ask around. It's true.
Kaine has experience governing with genuine success in the real world, where red meat slogans and attack ads have no place. A vote cast for Kaine will be a vote to continue Gov. Warner’s pragmatic progressive approach to governing this commonwealth. Since another bogus conservative, Republican Jim Gilmore -- who all but broke the bank -- left Capitol Square, the Warner years have been good to most Virginians. Do you really need to ask around about this?
You want labels? Kaine is a problem-solver; Kilgore is a poseur.