The term political posturing is often considered negative. But then, the GOP, especially with its latest intrusion into personal matters (see Schiavo case below), has proven its effectiveness. Besides, I agree that placing your policies in a framework of values is not only smart politics, but a fair question for voters to ask. It’s not always about the numbers or policies. People want to know values because they may decide issues that have yet to arise.

Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine has produced radio ads about his values that will air on small market and religious stations.

They feature Kaine in a soliloquy about his upbringing, toiling as a youth in his father’s small Kansas City ironworking shop and his days as a Roman Catholic missionary to Honduras.

“I was taught to be tight with a dollar and watch the bottom line,” Kaine says in the spots. “My core values are grounded in the lessons I learned at home and are guided by my faith.”

The spots conclude: “I’m Tim Kaine. That’s who I am and what I believe.”

That’s smart. People want to know something of where you came from, as that is likely to infuse a lot of political positions. And it makes values personal and real.

Kaine’s team has come up with another good idea.

Democrat Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine on Sunday challenged his likely Republican opponent for governor this November, former state Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, to make joint campaign appearances across Virginia to give voters a chance to compare the two candidates at the same place at the same time.

Kilgore has a reality problem, and he knows it. No, it’s not that he’s out of touch with reality. It’s just that in the flesh and blood, he pales in comparison. Kilgore mannerisms and lack of debating skills are likely to hurt him in a one-on-one arena. My guess he knows it and will steer as far away as possible from such venues.

Kaine is also right to mention the memo spoof by the Kilgore campaign. Kaine should mention “false memos”? Connect them to the CBS memo flap, as much as a stretch that that is. After all, stretching is a Bush communications tenet.

Kaine chided the Kilgore campaign – that formally launches at 5:30 p.m. today at Gate City High School – for circulating a spoof campaign strategy memo designed to look as if it was written by Kaine strategists. The Kilgore- generated “memo” imagined a campaign strategy for Kaine where the Democrat would take different positions on certain issues in different parts of the state, and maligned how Southwest Virginians dress, act and speak.

Here’s the text of what Kilgore’s spokesman Tim Murtaugh sent to reporters.

From: Tim Murtaugh
To: ‘Tim Murtaugh’
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2005 9:00 AM
Subject: URGENT: Internal Kaine Kick-Off Memo Discovered

Reporters –

The Kilgore campaign has unearthed the attached Kaine campaign
memorandum that lays out Tim Kaine’s thoughts and strategies as he
approaches his kick-off. It includes key advice to the Democrat
candidate, depending what region of the state he visits.

While some would say that it would be wiser to keep this to ourselves
in order to “call his shots,” we thought it would be enlightening for
you to see it as well. Because after all, we’re all in this


No attempt to admit the spoof there.

Meanwhile, Sean Connaughton, running for the GOP nomination for lt. gov., and blasted Kaine’s property tax proposal.

“It took Kaine’s campaign for governor finally to get him off the dime and moving on this issue, which Sean Connaughton has recognized, and has acted on, ever since he became chairman-at large of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors more than five years ago,” read a statement released by campaign spokesman Bill Kling on Friday.

Note no criticism of the proposal itself.

The Hampton Roads Daily Press hates it all, while admitting there’s a problem.

Now, in point of fact, higher residential values do create hardships for lower-income or fixed-income older homeowners. But there are ways to sensibly address that. There are caps. One approach involves “circuit breakers,” which limit property tax liabilities to a certain percentage of one’s income.

Or you can provide property tax rebates to low-income homeowners, by way of income tax credits.

Or you can implement deferral programs that allow senior citizens to defer payment on property taxes until their homes are sold – as 24 states already do.

It’s true, as Kaine points out, that many states offer homestead exemptions. But, by far and away, most of these are locked on a fixed amount of money and targeted to those homeowners who genuinely need a break. That is not what Kaine proposes, as it works across-the-board, for millionaires and fixed-income retirees alike.

Tweaking this proposal wouldn’t be a bad idea, but anyone who thinks the hue and cry about property taxes comes only from old folks on pensions is out of touch. But at least limiting exemptions to those who really need it will flush out the “It’s my money and I want to keep it” crowd.

Could it be that the Democratic leadership has come up with a unified strategy? The GOP ignores mainstream Virginians really care about, making them ineffective as legislators who lead a government that intrudes into people’s personal lives.A room full of loud Democrats came out to cheer for their latest candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates.

Earnie Porta announced that he would try to unseat Delegate Michele B. McQuigg, R-Prince William.

Porta’s campaign slogan, “I believe we need more effective representation in Richmond,” drew applause each time he uttered the words at the Occoquan Town Hall on Saturday.

Like any good speechmaker he said the words at the end of every point to motivate his audience of about 75 Democrats.

Porta, a resident of the Town of Occoquan, said if elected in November, he would concentrate on sprawl, education, health care and transportation.

Porta chided the last session of General Assembly for concentrating on the less lofty goals of license plate slogans, bake sale rules, road names and “the subject that recently brought international fame to Virginia, a bill to fine people if their underwear is showing.”

“Now these things are comical,” the 41-year-old Porta said, “but they would be funnier if they were not bracketed by more divisive and mean-spirited legislation that so often seems less aimed at solving problems than at stigmatizing, if not demonizing, some of our very own relatives, friends, neighbors and fellow citizens.”

Porta said he wants a House of Delegates that stays out of people’s personal lives, doesn’t meddle in local affairs and works on the serious problems of the Commonwealth.

There is no doubt in my mind that characterizing the GOP as wanting government to intrude on people’s lives is a winning theme. It’s matter of trust. The GOP doesn’t trust people to make personal moral decisions and instead wants government to impose them.