"[T]hroughout a grueling campaign, it is Kaine who has consistently demonstrated that he has the superior intellect and temperament to hold this difficult job at a difficult moment in the nation's history".
"When Kaine speaks about the ongoing economic crisis, his words are steeped in personal accountability rather than the reckless rhetoric adopted not only by his opponent"
"Kaine is not trying to sell Virginians on his latest persona. He is the same man who led us through the darkest hours of the recession."
"Those are characteristics Virginians value in their leaders. They will not be disappointed if they put their faith in Kaine."
Roanoke Times Editorial Board
Although both candidates for Virginia's U.S. Senate seat have extensive political resumes, only one has previously held the job he now seeks. If asked to hazard a guess, newcomers to the commonwealth would almost certainly guess that person is Democrat Tim Kaine.
In truth, it is Republican George Allen who is asking voters to give him a second chance.
But throughout a grueling campaign, it is Kaine who has consistently demonstrated that he has the superior intellect and temperament to hold this difficult job at a difficult moment in the nation's history.
We endorse Kaine to succeed outgoing U.S. Sen. Jim Webb.
Kaine earned his deep appreciation for constitutional principles in the courtroom and his financial bona fides in the harsh classroom of the Great Recession while serving as Virginia's governor. His experience shepherding the commonwealth through austerity has given him a wisdom and pragmatism that will serve him well in the U.S. Capitol.
"I know how to make hard decisions," he told members of The Roanoke Times Editorial Board earlier this month. "One thing I learned is you can't deal with your budget problem if you look at line items alone."
When Kaine speaks about the ongoing economic crisis, his words are steeped in personal accountability rather than the reckless rhetoric adopted not only by his opponent, but by congressional incumbents whose responsibility is not merely aspirational. Kaine avoids fear-mongering and political games, emphasizing instead the opportunities he sees to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff of across-the-board budget cuts next year.
He dissects complex financial decisions by weighing their impact on the deficit against economic repercussions. He favors a mix of revenues and spending reductions to trim the deficit, but advocates a compromise that would preserve more of the Bush-era tax cuts than is contemplated under President Barack Obama's plan.
In reforming the tax code, Kaine would avoid a multi-front war with lobbyists over individual loopholes and instead focus on limits to total deductions. He values the principles of progressive taxation but understands the need to encourage investment through incentives on income from capital gains.
Kaine has been repeatedly underestimated as Richmond mayor, lieutenant governor and governor. But he's no push-over, as he's demonstrated throughout his political career and during this year's debates with Allen. Kaine will be a capable advocate for Virginia's interests as well as the issues he cares most about, particularly education.
He has a personal affection for Roanoke, his wife's hometown, as demonstrated by his support as governor for a bond package that included $59 million for the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute.
A pugnacious partisan
While Kaine's gubernatorial term was colored by sacrifice, Allen enjoyed a period of prosperity. He made the most of it, initiating the Standards of Learning achievement tests, welfare reform and restrictions on parole.
As governor, the Republican demonstrated that he is capable of bipartisan partnerships when necessity demands it. None of his accomplishments could have occurred without support from Democrats, who controlled the legislature at the time. But even then, Allen often antagonized potential allies by hurtling insults their way. Once entrenched in Washington, he seemed to lose his taste for the risks that come with reaching across the aisle. His pugnaciousness morphed into something uglier in 2006, when he taunted a Democratic campaign worker with a racial epithet.
Now Allen is attempting to reinvent himself, but the result has been a disjointed fusion of sensitive New Age guy and trash-talking suburban cowboy. He seems unsettled and uncertain of himself. The tea party wing of the GOP has rejected him as a Big Government Republican, one whose legacy was built on iron bars and razor wire in an unprecedented prison construction campaign and, later in the Senate, on two wars and a costly Medicare prescription drug benefit passed without thought to how it would be bankrolled.
A contrast in leadership
Allen refused to meet with the editorial board, which automatically disqualifies him from receiving our endorsement. Neither has he given Virginians a reason to vote for him. He has offered nothing but big oil company jingles, exploitation of desperate coal miners and vacuous promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He and his allies have attacked Kaine for cutting spending and for spending too much.
Most tellingly, he has attacked Kaine for supporting a compromise that raised the national debt ceiling last summer to avoid financial collapse, a deal favored by nearly every Republican leader in Virginia, including Gov. Bob McDonnell, and one similar to measures Allen routinely supported while in the Senate.
Kaine is not trying to sell Virginians on his latest persona. He is the same man who led us through the darkest hours of the recession. He has made mistakes, admitted his faults and learned from them. He is a man of decency who never has to worry about who is watching.
Those are characteristics Virginians value in their leaders. They will not be disappointed if they put their faith in Kaine.