"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..."
"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."
"But Allen's record from his single six-year term in the Senate, starting in 2001, is plagued with the kinds of votes that are toxic to any fiscally responsible voter, as well as the candidate Allen now claims to be..."
"The only candidate in this race offering an effective, collaborative approach - and realistic solutions - is Tim Kaine."
Tim Kaine for U.S. Senate
By the Virginian-Pilot Editorial Board
In the race to represent Virginia in the U.S. Senate, voters have a choice between two of the most recognizable politicians in the commonwealth.
Republican George Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine possess credentials, connections in Washington and, unfortunately, enough baggage to diminish voters' temper for either.
The candidate chosen to succeed Democratic Sen. Jim Webb will need to work closely with other senators and the president - whoever that may be. He must collaborate on solutions that protect the national interest without sacrificing Virginia's.
That leaves the following as the most instructive question voters can ask before casting a ballot on Nov. 6: Which candidate would work effectively in Congress with Republicans and Democrats, with President Barack Obama or with a President Mitt Romney?
Without a doubt, the answer is Tim Kaine.
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.
As governor, Kaine's term wasn't especially productive, and his efforts to raise taxes for transportation, education and other services were repeatedly thwarted. Still, he maintained the state's standing as the best for business and among the best for families. His greatest achievement - banning smoking in restaurants - came on his third try, an outcome he attributes to a respectful relationship with Republican adversaries.
He maintained that style even as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, a partisan position where he was unwilling to engage in the type of divisive, smashmouth rhetoric that his current opponent, Allen, has spent years practicing.
That prudent style would serve Kaine well in the Senate, and likewise, would serve Virginians well as the next Congress tries to work together to solve some of the biggest problems facing the country in generations.
Many of the fiscal challenges that marked Kaine's tenure as governor - including budget cuts and state employee layoffs - stemmed from irresponsible actions taken by lawmakers in Washington. Then-Sen. George Allen was caught up in all of it.
Allen provides ample proof that success as a governor is no guarantee of success as a senator. As the commonwealth's chief executive, he reshaped Virginia government in profound ways through bipartisan reform of the state welfare system, abolition of parole and implementation of Standards of Learning exams to measure student achievement. He also oversaw explosive growth of the state budget in the mid-1990s.
But Allen's record from his single six-year term in the Senate, starting in 2001, is plagued with the kinds of votes that are toxic to any fiscally responsible voter, as well as the candidate Allen now claims to be: authorization for unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, repeated increases in the federal debt ceiling, "yes" votes to raise his own pay, expansion of an unfunded Medicare drug benefit. The list goes on.
Allen has failed to offer meaningful assurances that he can be trusted not to slip into his old Washington ways if voters send him back to the Senate.
Near the outset of this campaign, Allen signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge, recklessly promising not to raise taxes or any additional revenue if elected.
Politicians without real convictions pander to voters by signing this pledge.
Doing so leaves only two strategies for governing: imposing severe budgetary cuts, which Allen has shown himself incapable of doing, or continuing heavy deficit spending, which he did the last time he held public office.
It's no surprise, then, that Allen utterly fails to engage constituents with any level of specificity, or any credibility. He is a candidate who, after losing to Webb in 2006, went into the political wilderness shaken and emerged for this campaign without the swagger or confidence that once characterized his style. When asked substantive questions, Allen reflexively recites canned talking points.
In a debate this month, Allen cast a long-term energy plan - expanding oil and gas drilling offshore and on land, and increasing coal mining - as an immediate solution to the nation's dire fiscal situation and averting the cuts to defense spending set to kick in next year.
It was a response out of touch with reality and economics, and its incoherence was compounded by his oft-repeated declaration that one of his top priorities is forcing another contentious vote to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act.
These are unserious proposals acceptable only through the lens of politics as sport, which is Allen's specialty. Scorching opponents, freezing out dissent, serving a political "team" before fulfilling a duty to the public - those are the products of such an approach.
It isn't the "Virginia Way," at least not according to the nostalgic form articulated in recent years by other Virginia politicians, including Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell. It certainly isn't effective.
The only candidate in this race offering an effective, collaborative approach - and realistic solutions - is Tim Kaine.