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Kilgore vs. Kaine--rhetoric, accusations, and not much to offer to Old Dominion page 2
Punch and Judy square off for Virginia's governorship

RICHARD AMRHINE
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Date published: 10/16/2005

By RICHARD AMRHINE

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Kilgore even has a separate Web site devoted exclusively to denigrating Kaine's record. If you want to see the former attorney general's way of taking the political high road, check out kainere cord.com.

It is Kaine's inability, or choice, not to rise above this political mud bog that puts his leadership quotient in question. Even so, recent polling indicates that Kaine has at least drawn even with Kilgore, who had been maintaining a small advantage.

Kaine pledged during last Sunday's debate that no more than half of his remaining advertising would be negative. Had he focused more on the positive all along, he might have distanced himself further from Kilgore, who has so little of value to say.

At least Kaine took on the job of being Richmond's mayor, and led a city beset with difficult circumstances. He learned from that.

The statewide political climate has degenerated to the point that the primary talking points are God and taxes. The God part includes things like abortion, the right to life, and the death penalty.

On Kaine's Web site, the second item under issues, "Faith and Family," contains a 1,432-word statement that doesn't mention once that he is Roman Catholic.

He may figure--probably correctly--that being Catholic would pigeonhole him by the pro-choice crowd as being anti-abortion, or labeled by the pro-life crowd as a hypocrite, as was U.S. Sen. John Kerry, for being pro-choice and Catholic. Either way, Kaine is damned if he calls attention to his Catholic faith.

Kaine also insists, in response to Kilgore's attacks, that he will uphold Virginia law as it applies to the death penalty. He should instead say what he thinks--and persuade Virginia's voters to agree--that if you must impose the death penalty, at least impose it properly and fairly. Even Virginians don't want the wrong guy getting the chemical cocktail. Even Virginians should be concerned if the state is executing an inordinate number of poor or black men.

The voters are done a disservice by campaigns that bury the issues under reams of rhetoric and mountains of mailers. The campaigns' media blitzes have offered virtually nothing of compelling interest about either candidate--certainly nothing that a voter could accept as fact without diligent study.


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