Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Two-Way Tim?

The Richmond Times-Dispatch’s top editorial today is a curious piece. In short, the writer offers evidence that Gov. Tim Kaine has been breaking his campaign promises.

Perhaps it reads like anti-Democrat boilerplate stuff, mostly, on the surface. It underlines possible conflicts between Kaine’s stated personal beliefs and his role as governor. It doesn't touch on the obvious truth, which is that such conflicts are common on a wide range of issues for public officials every day. Who hasn't had to deal with dilemmas stemming from a conflict involving what we sense is proper and some sort of rules?

However, the RT-D would have us to believe Kaine is an utter hypocrite if he fails to act summarily on his personal beliefs, to trump his duty as governor.

Well, Kaine said many times in the gubernatorial campaign he wouldn’t do that. But then the RT-D piece finishes with what almost seems to be concern for the bitter fate of a convicted murderer, Dexter Lee Vinson, who is scheduled to be executed on Thursday, April 27:

“...Kaine claims to be a man of conviction, but he does not want to face any political consequences for his stated beliefs. This is bad news for Dexter Lee Vinson, who may well pay a high price so that Kaine won't have to.”

Missing from the editorial is the chilling description of the crime, which almost always can be found in an editorial about the death penalty written by a person who favors its use. This time, in order to twist the knife in Kaine, Vinson is painted as a victim paying “a high price.”

OK. That’s politics, and it‘s almost funny.

Like Kaine, I’m opposed to capital punishment. At the same time I don’t think it would be proper for a governor to merely substitute his own judgment for that of the court’s. Unless he sees something wrong with the process or there’s new evidence, I think Gov. Kaine should allow the execution to go forth, which I expect he will.

Still, the editorial makes other accusations that I would hope Kaine will deal with soon, before they gain any more credence. They are on the inconsistencies, or perceived inconsistencies, between what Kaine said during the campaign -- on gay marriage, guns, transportation, taxes, etc. -- and what he’s done since taking office. While I’m not saying I agree with the RT-D, I do think Kaine should rebut that editorial, directly, and tell the voters who trust him exactly why and where it is wrong.

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