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Kilgore vs. Kaine--rhetoric, accusations, and not much to offer to Old Dominion page 3
Punch and Judy square off for Virginia's governorship

RICHARD AMRHINE
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Date published: 10/16/2005

By RICHARD AMRHINE

continued

This is unfortunate, because the harder voters have to work to settle upon a candidate, the less likely they are to bother. You shouldn't have to be a political junkie to take an interest in who the next governor will be.

The election of George Allen in 1993 ushered in the Republican revolution in Virginia and foretold what would happen in the U.S. Congress a year later. That was interesting.

Then came Jim Gilmore, who sailed into office on his famous "No Car Tax" pledge. Voters drooled at the thought, and didn't bother to ask Gilmore to account for the lost revenue. Gilmore's tactic was interesting, but in retrospect, irresponsible.

Gov. Mark Warner presented a candidacy, backed by personal wealth, that made a Democratic administration a possibility once again, and he beat back what was suddenly the Republican Old Guard. That was interesting, too.

Here's a surprise: Given what we can decipher about the two candidates, I have to give Kaine the nod, partly on his merits and partly by default.

The Kilgore campaign favors economic growth and good health care, and is against gangs and domestic violence. These we can call "safe," or "consider the alternative" positions. He wants voters to think he's an expert on what it takes to make Virginia better, and things of that nature.

Other than that, Kilgore offers little. He wants to "rein in real estate taxes," which is a local issue if there ever was one. And in search of an issue, he came out against centers where for day laborers can gather--another local issue.

He also wants to put every proposed tax increase to a referendum--a sure-fire plan for nothing ever getting done.

A huge advantage for Kaine, one he has abused, is that he is running on the coattails of Gov. Warner's accomplishments and popularity. It would be wise for Virginians to stay the course, and Kaine is the guy to do just that.

RICHARD AMRHINE is a writer and editor with The Free Lance-Star.


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