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New Gov takes one on the chin, Jan. 20. 2005

When newly-sworn-in Gov. Tim Kaine, then a candidate, visited Suffolk back in late October just days before the election, I must admit I was impressed.

Up until then, I had not been. But Kaine showed an enthusiasm and charisma during his brief stay at Art’s Kitchen that I found attractive, so much so that I immediately charged back to the office and fired off an editorial endorsing Kaine’s candidacy.

Looking back, I’m not sure whether I was really that floored by Kaine of just so completely put off by the other candidate, what’s his name, that I tried to see something that wasn’t really there.

I’m apparently not alone.

Less than a week at the helm and our new governor is already taking it on the chin from national pundits.

ABC News’ &uot;The Note&uot; blog site reported today that big wig Democrats were planning to offer Kaine the rebuttal to the president’s State’s of the Union speech.

This is a coveted role, highly sought after by members of the opposition party, particularly those with aspirations for higher office.

Arianna Huffington, who’s &uot;Huffington Post&uot; I regularly visit when wasting time in the office (Yes, I also visit right wing sites like The Druge Report), was swift and vicious in her denunciation of Kaine’s selection.

&uot;So the Democrats have chosen Virginia Governor Tim Kaine to deliver the party’s response to President Bush’s State of the Union speech. Chalk up another one for the What the Hell Are They Thinking? file.

&uot;On the same day that Osama Bin Laden’s chilling warnings make it Red Alert clear that Bush’s obsession with Iraq has not made us safer here at home — and, indeed, has caused us to take our eye off the real enemy — the Dems decide that the charge against Bush shouldn’t be led by someone who can forcefully articulate why the GOP is not the party that can best keep us safe, but by someone whose only claim to fame is that he carried a red state.

&uot;Talk about clueless.

Huffington goes on to excoriate Kaine’s inaurgural address which, I have to admit, I missed because I was utterly uninterested in what he had to say.

&uot;Don’t ask me why, but I actually watched Kaine’s inaugural address on C-SPAN,&uot; the vehemently anti-war Huffington wrote, &uot;and I was stunned to hear him dare compare the cause of Virginians like Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson to our cause in Iraq: &uot;They stood here at a time, just as today, when Virginians serving freedom’s cause sacrificed their lives so that democracy could prevail over tyranny.&uot;

&uot;Iraq as a war to ensure that democracy can prevail over tyranny is George Bush’s talking point. God help us if it’s also the talking point of the man the Democrats have chosen to respond to him after the State of the Union.

&uot;And during Kaine’s run for Governor, he adopted another Bush talking point — that it would send &uot;a horrible message&uot; to &uot;cut and run&uot; in Iraq. Could that be any further from Murtha’s message that Iraq has become a civil war — a civil war being inflamed by our continuing presence?

&uot;Maybe you are thinking — at least those of you who have a life and missed his inaugural speech on C-SPAN — that Kaine is a charismatic speaker who will really wow the American people. Well, he ain’t. In fact, he scored so low on the scintillating speaker meter, that today’s Note suggests Democrats make it a priority to get the Guv a speech tutor before the State of the Union.

&uot;I’ve got a better idea. Why don’t the Democrats reconsider their choice and pick someone more able than Kaine to make the national security argument? They don’t even have to make a big deal out of the switch. Kaine can simply come down with a really, really bad cold that night. Cough, cough… and Murtha is waiting in the wings.&uot;

Kaine’s selection is an odd choice, I suppose. First off, outside of Virginia, nobody will know who the heck he is and even here probably barely half will know. But what should one expect from the party that nominated John Kerry as its standard-bearer in 2004?

Anyway, I hope the Gov does us proud and wish him the best of luck.