The Commonwealth of Virginia's Ultimate Blog

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Debate Thoughts

Even though only a very few people actually saw this debate, the one-hour affair between Tim Kaine and Jerry Kilgore covered a lot of territory tonight, and should signal the beginning of the end of this year's Gubernatorial election.

Tonight went a long way toward illustrating the differences between Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Jerry Kilgore. Tim Kaine's record is atrocious. As a result, Mark Warner's record is the only leg he has to stand on. If Kaine cannot convince the voters that he is Mark Warner Jr., he will lose. I do not think that he did an effective job of doing so tonight, aided of course, by Jerry Kilgore. When confronted by his record of higher taxes, gun rationing, opposing the death penalty, dismal school performance, government scandal, and a complete lack of leadership, Kaine had no answer. Worse, he confirmed that, as Governor, he would encourage illegal immigration, support discriminatory hiring and college admissions practices, seek additional revenue through further tax increases, and permit a radical expansion of homosexual rights in Virginia. I admit that Tim Kaine much more polished and fluid in his responses than Kilgore was. However, Kaine was flustered when confronted by difficult questions about his record. Further, Kaine could not keep his left eyebrow from arching on virtually every response. Do not underestimate the effect this creepy mannerism will have on the average Virginian.

As far as Kilgore goes, I admit I was disappointed with his performance from a stylistic perspective. Kilgore fumbeled over his words much too often and sometimes couldn't get out what he was trying to say, resulting in awkward statements. On content, however, Kilgore clearly held the advantage. The questioners were particularly harsh on Kaine and offered Kilgore numerous chances to differentiate his record from the extreme liberal record of his opponent. Kilgore was able to point out his consistent record on taxes, law enforcement, public safety, and social issues. Meanwhile, he was able to point out both the inconsistency in Kaine's positions and explain to the voters why Kaine is no Mark Warner (to say nothing of JFK).

Debates are all about managing expectations. Kilgore did a better job of that, and as a result will earn the confidence of the voters of Virginia. I feel that Kilgore will get a bit of a boost out of this debate which will remain until election day. The media will likely be at least neutral towards Kilgore, which is a win in the GOP camp.

There remains work to be done in this race, but we have some momentum headed into the stretch run. Let's close this thing out, folks!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

On camera, Kaine looked far more comfortable than Kilgore. I think you covered the talking points well...and thanks for doing that.

I'd like to see Kilgore do a media blitz to spend the capital he may have gained tonight.

The clock's ticking. I only hope the apparent national discontent with the White House doesn't leak over in to this race.

10:43 PM


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