"[W]hat Kaine has done, both as governor and before that as mayor of Richmond, has been to work cooperatively with politicians of all stripes."
"He will do the same in the Senate, and a huge part of his success will stem from his personality. Beneath a likeable exterior, he’s focused, determined and dedicated to public service."
"Former Sen. George Allen...has shown himself prone to being a bully. He does not have the skills needed to reach across the aisle to solve problems and his temperament would create more divisions than solutions."
In the race between two former Virginia governors for a seat in the U.S. Senate, we have a contest between two very different candidates.
Former Gov. Tim Kaine jokes that when Democratic Sen. Jim Webb called him to say he had decided not to run for re-election and to ask Kaine to consider the opportunity, “I told him he didn’t seem like he had enjoyed it too much.”
The truth of the matter is public service is thankless.
Bitterness blankets elective politics like a thick fog, standing in the way of progress. We see this dramatically in this season’s campaigns. So at the top of our long list of reasons we endorse Kaine for the seat, we place his tested ability to reach across the aisle to get things done.
He had to. When he was governor, Kaine was in the minority, and times were tough. Yet he managed to achieve three of his primary goals: Opening doors for more children to receive prekindergarten service, allocating $1.4 billion for higher education capital projects and banning smoking in Virginia restaurants. He did not achieve a larger goal — still much needed — of fixing the state’s transportation ills.
But what Kaine has done, both as governor and before that as mayor of Richmond, has been to work cooperatively with politicians of all stripes. If he has failed in obtaining all of the improvements he sought for Virginians, he more than fully succeeded in laying the groundwork for bipartisanship.
He will do the same in the Senate, and a huge part of his success will stem from his personality. Beneath a likeable exterior, he’s focused, determined and dedicated to public service.
Former Sen. George Allen, on the other hand, though much calmer this time around, has shown himself prone to being a bully. He does not have the skills needed to reach across the aisle to solve problems and his temperament would create more divisions than solutions. His relative reserve in this race, compared to his “macaca moment” six years ago, makes us wonder if Allen’s heart is really in this fight. Is he rescuing his legacy or really interested in governing. Throughout the campaign he has strictly kept to GOP talking points, he was strangely absent when Mitt Romney visited the Valley last month, and he has lacked energy and enthusiasm in some of the appearances he’s made.
Perhaps, as Webb discovered during his six-year-term, it’s not satisfying to put up with the bickering and gridlock. This is where Kaine will make a difference. He has done it, he has succeeded and he knows that hard work for the right causes is its own reward.
We endorse Timothy Kaine for U.S. Senate.
Opinions expressed in this feature represent the majority opinion of the newspaper's editorial board, Roger Watson, president and publisher; David Fritz, executive editor; and Cindy Corell, community conversations editor.