Kaine in Charlottesville: Our optimism will beat GOP “gloom and doom” message

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    I’m just back from a Tim Kaine rally in downtown Charlottesville. Some photos follow at the bottom, but a few quick words about the rally.

    Looked like about 250-300 people were there, and the crowd was pretty enthusiastic. In other words, a pretty good turnout for April, seven months before the election.

    Tim was joined by his wife, Anne Holton, and Sen. Mark Warner. The three, together, made a pretty entertaining trio, with Ms. Holton playing straight woman to the long-time pals and professional colleagues Kaine and Warner. They had a pretty easy banter going that the crowd enjoyed. It was fun watching two guys who have done so much for our state teaming up to do more good works, and having a good time in the process.

    I’m not going to go into a lot of detail on the various stump speeches, but just a few observations about how Tim and Sen. Warner set up the contrast and the stakes in the coming election:

        * The McDonnell/Bolling/Cooch freak show in Richmond has really cost the Commonwealth a lot in terms of our national reputation, and the team of Tim and Mark Warner in the Senate can help reverse this. “I want Virginia again to be one of those states that is a leader of the pack,” Warner said, “Not the butt of late night jokes.”

        * The Kaine campaign is one of optimism, while the GOP is trying to sell us on a “doom and gloom,” pessimistic view of our state and our country. Tim: Because ours is the campaign of optimism, “We are going to win.”

        * The Republicans want to take us backwards. Tim: “I don’t want to go back. I want to go forward.”

    (more on the flip)

         * Key to prosperity is winning the talent race. Years ago, when Virginia was lagging economically, we closed our schools rather than integrate them, we kept women out of UVA and we didn’t have community colleges that could tap the talent in our rural areas. Our turnaround as a commonwealth came when we “broke down barriers” and cultivated the intelligence and talent in our Commonwealth.

        * Tap our talent pool, and we can do anything. Fail to tap our talent, and no policy in the world will make much of a difference in the long run.

        * The Virginia senate race will be a key race – it could very well decide who will control the Senate. And we don’t have to speculate about what Republican governance will look like. As Mark Warner put it, Republicans want to cut education, research and development, decent law enforcement, building roads and bridges – “anything about how we grow our country.”

        * Tim notes the obvious truism (to everyone except the GOP) that we can’t just cut our way to properity. We don’t need to be giving tax breaks to Exxon and Mobile. We need to let the Bush tax cuts – “Which were intended to be temporary” – to expire for the top brackets.

        * Beyond policy, Tim said that in order to accomplish things, “You need to be willing to work together with anyone…” — At first I thought he was talking about Republicans, but then he added, “…who is willing to be serious,” and I realized he had someone else in mind.  

        * Tim could remember when Virginia was solidly Republican and no one paid too much attention to us in Presidential elections, but thanks to Omaba in 2008, we are now a battleground state that gets plenty of attention from the candidates and the media. The hard part of that attention, however, is that now that expectations have been raised, we have to deliver. With that in mind, Tim is optimistic about the state of the race, both for him and for President Obama.

    Pictures from the rally follow:

    Gov. Tim Kaine

    Tim, Anne Holton, Sen. Mark Warner

    Tim addressing the crowd