Vote For Tim Kaine Instead Of George “Grover Norquist” Allen

Published 12:49 pm Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The choice could not be more sharply focused in the election for the United States Senate in Virginia:

Former governor Tim Kaine.

The ballot declares that Gov. Kaine is running against former governor George Allen but DC lobbyist Grover Norquist is as much in the picture as Mr. Allen, who signed away his ability to consider bipartisan solutions to the nation's budget deficit by inking his name to the Norquist-led Taxpayer Protection Pledge. As did our Fifth District Congressman Robert Hurt.

Email newsletter signup

Mr. Allen would only increase the toxic partisan poison infecting Congress because The Pledge solemnly binds Mr. Allen to “oppose any and all tax increases.” And that includes allowing the Bush tax cuts for millionaires to expire, which Mr. Norquist would regard as a tax increase.

Mr. Allen would arrive back in Washington having voluntarily bound himself from any ability to craft legislation that involves reducing the tax rate on middle class Americans while allowing the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 a year-two percent of Americans-to expire and return to their previous rate.

We must not send representatives to Washington who pre-emptively refuse to consider all possible solutions and, instead, arrive in DC fully armed for partisan war.

Mr. Kaine, on the other hand, is ready and willing to reach out across the aisle for solutions that will bring Democrats and Republicans together. Democrats want the tax cuts to expire for incomes over $250,000 and the GOP seeks to make them eternal. Mr. Kaine offers a common sense compromise-which is the art of politics-that would see the Bush-era tax cuts expire for those with incomes over $500,000, rather than $250,000. Mr. Kaine's plan would raise $500 billion in new revenue to help fight the deficit.

Such creative thinking, and willingness to find middle ground between partisan positions, is desperately needed in Washington, DC, and Mr. Kaine is the only candidate on the ballot capable, the only candidate willing, to do so.

While Mr. Allen has looked across the political aisle at members of the Democratic Party and said he looked forward to knocking “their soft teeth down their whiny throats,” Mr. Kaine is eager to plant an additional bipartisan seed in the United States Senate. During a one-hour conversation with me at The Herald this month, Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, said that if he is elected he will immediately seek out a fellow freshman Senator-elect, but from the Republican Party, with whom to forge a bipartisan relationship to move the nation forward by considering the best ideas from both political parties. That is a promise he can and will keep. As chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Mr. Kaine has made a point of expressing a difference of opinion over policy issues, when differences arose, without resorting to personal attacks. He has made no enemies and is now prepared to make a difference.

Don't take my word for it. After the final debate between Mr. Kaine and Mr. Allen, three former Republican General Assembly members came out strongly for Mr. Kaine. “Working very closely with him as a State Senator,” said former State Senator Brandon Bell, of Roanoke County, “I feel like that Governor Kaine was someone that really wanted to do the right thing and wanted to put Virginia first and really look past ideology. Unfortunately, I don't feel as inclined that Governor Allen would do that. I feel like he (Allen) is much more intertwined with the ideological base within his party and that's where he would really take his marching orders from.”

We cannot move forward as a nation with people marching lock-step with zealous party partisans more concerned with political power than statesmanship.

Vince Callahan served in the General Assembly for 40 years and the Republican was chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and said, “When Tim Kaine was elected to office, I took control of the budget he introduced. I sponsored it as required by law in Virginia. It was a bipartisan budget that ultimately passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support, preserving Virginia's fiscal integrity, balancing the budget, maintaining our top credit rating, making Virginia the best place, by national recognition, to educate your children and the best place to do business and ultimately provide jobs in Virginia.

“Tim Kaine is somebody that can do that. We need somebody in Washington,” the retired GOP House of Delegates leader said, “that can do something like that, to get rid of the gridlock. And he (Kaine)-I served with eleven governors over my term of office and he was right there at the top and I cannot praise him enough for the kind of work he did across the aisle and across the Commonwealth.”

Those words were spoken by a Republican who served in the General Assembly for four decades, with eleven Virginia governors, about Mr. Kaine. Spoken because former State Senator Callahan knows them, from experience, to be true.

Mr. Allen has signed away his political soul to Grover Norquist-no matter what the nation might need during the six-year Senate term of office-and is incapable of pursuing such bipartisanship, having voluntarily incapacitated himself with The Pledge.

We cannot tolerate virulent partisanship, particularly the brand being peddled by Mr. Allen. If Mr. Allen is so keen to knock soft teeth down whiny throats, let him apply for another job-there are cage-fighting pay-per-view possibilities with UFC or the bare-knuckle variety offered by Mixed Martial Arts Cage Fighting.

The current Congress, filled with Republicans in the House and Senate who signed the Norquist-pushed pledge, has gone down in history as the most unpopular Congress ever. The time has come to correct that dysfunction, not make it worse.

Our future literally depends on it. We require vision and leadership, not division and partisanship, to successfully overcome the challenges we face and to build the brightest possible future.

Tim Kaine is prepared to take the oath of office, to pledge allegiance to America rather than Grover Norquist.

Mr. Kaine deserves Virginia's bipartisan vote on election day because Virginia and this nation deserve Mr. Kaine's bipartisan vote in our nation's capitol.