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GEORGE ALLEN (R) accomplished
Mr. Kaine? He followed fellow Democrat Mark Warner into the Governor's Mansion with the obvious task to finish the work Mr. Warner had started. Mr. Warner, helped by a centrist state Senate, had wrested tax increases from a balky General Assembly for education, public safety, and other high purposes. The one missing piece was transportation. Mr. Kaine couldn't get it done. After initial resistance, he accepted a hodgepodge plan by House Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford) that soon fell apart like Humpty Dumpty. Virginia's mobility needs remain acute.
But that is not the end of the story. In 2000, the highly popular Mr. Allen was elected to the U.S. Senate. Six years later, defending his seat in an apparent cakewalk, he ran a campaign of textbook sloppiness and hubris (the most memorable unforced error was his "Macaca" slur of an Indian-American), proving again that pride goeth before a fall. Jim Webb (D) won a narrow upset victory. A defeated Mr. Allen left Washington in the same high spirits in which Napoleon retreated from Moscow.
In six years, Mr. Allen has doubtless thought a lot about how to reclaim his Senate seat. Alas, he has not thought about other things. For while he apologized for his impromptu insult of S.I. Sidarth, he has yet to beg the pardon of Mr. Webb, whom with cold calculation he all but called a sexual pervert on the basis of passages desperately pulled from the Marine hero's acclaimed novels about the Vietnam War. No less an icon of the right than William F. Buckley Jr. rebuked Mr. Allen for his slimework against a man who helped interpret the agonies of the Vietnam grunt to an uncomprehending public--loftier work than anything George Allen wrought in six lackluster years in the Senate.