Morning Read: Virginia Papers Split On Kaine/Allen

VA Senate Debate

Just like the Virginia electorate, the state’s media is also split on who should win the deadlocked Virginia Senate race between two former governors. 

On Sunday, the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s typically right-leaning editorial board endorsed Republican George Allen for the Senate seat. The endorsement did, however, have positive things to say about Democract Tim Kaine and the ‘gentlemanly’ way the two have been running their campaigns.

Allen would start from a stronger position. As a senator he would moderate Obama's statist inclinations or reinforce Mitt Romney's centrist leanings. Allen's rhetoric occasionally has gone too far, but he does not spring from conservatism's fever swamps. His camp's antagonism toward the press is unseemly. Kaine, too, has not been associated with ideological intemperance. In the Senate, his party would pressure him to conform. An Obama administration returned to power would make it increasingly difficult for Kaine to demonstrate independence. His tenure at the DNC emphasized his partisan ties. Legislators do not vote for themselves; they represent their parties and their caucuses and seldom stray far. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is merely preposterous; Democratic leader Harry Reid approaches the malevolent. Votes for Allen or Kaine will empower one or the other.

Virginia's contributions to national security ensure that its congressional delegation will pay attention to foreign policy and defense. Neither Allen nor Kaine seems likely to upset a healthy status quo. During conversations with The Times-Dispatch's Editorial Board, Allen spoke with superior insight of the sequester's implications for security. Kaine has handled the question well, nevertheless.

The Virginian-Pilot endorsed Kaine for the seat, saying he would work more effectively in Congress with Democrats and Republicans and with Obama or Romney.

During the past year, the former Richmond mayor, lieutenant governor and governor has crisscrossed the commonwealth pledging to find common ground and serve as a bridge for the partisan differences paralyzing Washington.

Deficit reduction is his priority, and he has advocated a compromise that includes discretionary spending reductions and a return to pre-2001 tax rates for those making $500,000 or more a year. He supports a common-sense solution to permit the federal government to negotiate prices for prescription drugs covered by Medicare, as it does for those covered by Tricare.

He supports overhauling No Child Left Behind to promote excellence instead of proficiency, and he promises to push for more comprehensive job-training programs that help reintegrate returning military veterans into civilian society.

Kaine is willing and able, unlike his opponent, to discuss in detail his plans on those matters and others critical to people here and across the country.

Last week, the Post endorsed Kaine for the seat.

We happen to agree on many issues with Mr. Kaine, who favors a balanced approach to deficit-cutting. He would allow Bush-era tax cuts for the rich to expire — he’d set the bar at incomes of $500,000 a year, twice the level proposed by the Obama administration — while targeting some overseas military bases for cuts.

The latest Real Clear Politics average of all the polls shows Kaine leading Allen by one point in the state.


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