Sunday, February 05, 2006

Good Old Fashioned Common Sense

Sadly, it seems to be lacking in Washington these days. It doesn't appear to be missing in Virginia, though. Virginia's Governor, Tim Kaine, set the tone for what many hope will be an election year that brings control of at least one house of Congress back to the Democrats.

He might not have appealed to the liberal base of the Democratic Party, but in many southern and midwestern states it is the voice of reason from a centrist that will bring swing voters from the Republican Party. It is this voice of reason that will help voters overcome the years of panic induced by the "Live in Fear" Republicans. It is this voice of reason that will win back those people who want to be governed by thoughtful legislators who vote with their constituents and are guided by common sense and a strong moral character.

That is what many of us see in Tim Kaine. That is why, as much as I love Jack Murtha, Tim Kaine was the right man to give the Democrat's response to the President's State of the Union Address.
Eleanor Clift agrees.
Though Kaine is little-known outside of political-junkie circles, his theme that “management matters” is at the heart of the Democrats’ message going into the November ’06 election. As his speech illustrated, Kaine symbolizes the common-sense pragmatism that elects Democrats on the state level. He doesn’t fire up the base, but if Democrats want the voters to put them in charge again, they have to establish governing credibility again.
This hasn't just been a bad year for President Bush and the Republicans in Congress. This has been a bad five years. It has been catastrophic for the American people. From Kaine's speech and CNN:

"The federal government should serve the American people. But that mission is frustrated by this administration's poor choices and bad judgment," he said.

"Families in the Gulf Coast see that as they wait to rebuild their lives. Americans who lose their jobs see that as they look to rebuild their careers and our soldiers in Iraq see that as they try to rebuild a nation."

Kaine questioned the administration's handling of the Iraq war, accusing it of using inaccurate intelligence before the war and failing to provide the necessary equipment for U.S. troops after the war began.

"Our commitment to winning the war on terrorism compels us to ask this question: Are the president's policies the best way to win this war?" he said.

"We must give our troops the tools they need to win the war on terror. We can do it without sacrificing the liberty we have sent our troops to defend."

Kaine criticized Bush's health care policy, which analysts have said will be an important domestic issue this year, arguing that soaring costs were adding to the rolls of the uninsured and seniors were finding the new Medicare drug plan too complex and expensive.

"Seniors were promised that the new Medicare drug plan would make it easier and cheaper to obtain their medication. Instead, many are falling victim to the program's poor planning," he said.

Kaine also sounded broader themes of reform, service and bipartisanship. "As Americans, we do great things when we work together. Some of our leaders in Washington seem to have forgotten that," he said.

"Our greatest need is for America to heal its partisan wounds and become one people."
The Bush administration, mired in scandals, has promoted an atmosphere of divisiveness in Washington, Kaine charged -- but he didn't name names.

"Democrats are leading that reform effort, working to restore honesty and openness to our government, working to replace a culture of partisanship and cronyism with an ethic of service and results," he said.

The 2006 elections are some of the most important of my life. Like many people I have become more frightened of my own government than I ever have been of terrorists. It is vitally important that the Democrats take back at least one house of Congress. In 2006 I won't be voting for the man or woman. I will be voting for the party. I will be voting to protect our constitution and preserve our civil liberties. I will be voting for Democrats.

For more on Tim Kaine's speech see
The Washington Post, or Raising Kaine.


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