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Punch and Judy square off for Virginia's governorship
By RICHARD AMRHINE
AYBE WHEN YOU were a kid, you had a set of Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots. You'd battle until you were able to "knock the block off" of your opponent, or vice versa, and then you'd play again.
After a while, it was pretty tiresome.
But what can these pathetic pugilists teach us about politics?
Conveniently, if you named the blue one Democrat Tim Kaine, and the red one Republican Jerry Kilgore, and had them go at each other again and again, you'd have a reasonable facsimile of Virginia's current campaign for governor.
Especially the tiresome part.
Maybe independent candidate Russ Potts could be the referee, because the votes he receives could help determine who the winner is.
Potts, by the way, is the only candidate with the courage to say that improving transportation is going to require Virginians to pay higher taxes. He is to be commended for that, even if it only digs a deeper grave for his campaign.
Meanwhile, Kaine, the lieutenant governor, and Kilgore, the former attorney general, keep broadcasting television ads that offer a verbal interpretation of a Rock 'em Sock 'em match:
Kilgore: "You wanna raise taxes."
Kaine: "Do not."
Kilgore: "Do, too."
Kaine: "You would dismantle the tax reforms Gov. Warner and I made."
Kilgore: "Would not."
Kaine: "Would, too."
Kilgore: "You're too liberal for Virginia."
Kaine: "Am not."
Kilgore: "Are, too."
Kaine: "You're scared to debate me."
Kilgore: "Am not."
Kaine: "Are, too."
Both major candidates seem to be more interested in not losing than in winning.
Kilgore has clearly thrown down the attack gauntlet. I haven't heard anything positive, perhaps even meaningful, from him for weeks.
He has attacked Kaine numerous times on taxes for transportation, citing old information and each time leading to a revelation of facts that prove him wrong, or just confused.
Kilgore says he'll make transportation "a priority in the Virginia budget."
There's a plan.
A recent mailer issued by the Virginia GOP has three photo of Kaine and 17 mentions of his name. Kilgore's name is listed twice in fine print, first as having authorized the ad, and second, in "This advertisement is intended to benefit Jerry Kilgore," as though there might be some misunderstanding about that.