A busy governor

Published 10:49 pm Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gov. Tim Kaine confirmed in advance the skepticism Virginians now have about his ability to lead the Commonwealth while also serving as the national Democratic Party’s mouthpiece.

“I don’t view that, frankly, as consistent with being governor, so I’m going to be governor,” Kaine said in November when speculation began about his being President Barack Obama’s choice to head the Democratic National Committee. “I would view it as taking my eye too much off the ball about things that need to happen here.”

In January, Kaine took the DNC post and assured Virginians he could do both jobs, despite his own misgivings just a couple of months earlier.

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Whether Kaine remains an effective governor is debatable. Virginians would be much better able to make that determination if they knew exactly how the governor is spending his time.

Shamefully, Kaine has refused to give an accounting. The Washington Post has requested Kaine’s calendar of activities both before January and since. The newspaper has asked the governor’s staff, the DNC and his political action committee, Moving Virginia Forward, for a record of his whereabouts. The requests have been denied or ignored.

Kaine aides have cited security and privacy concerns, as well as state law, court rulings and precedent.

It’s a lame defense that begs the question: What does the governor have to hide?

Anecdotally, based on information the Post gleaned from interviews and newspaper reports, we know that Kaine has been a busy man. In May alone, he traveled on Democratic business to North Carolina, Atlanta, Dallas, Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he held a “listening session” with gays and lesbians. So far in June, he’s been to New York, Cincinnati and Kansas City.

That’s a lot of traveling for the chief executive of a state that has pressing needs and that needs the full attention and energy of its top elected official. Kaine needs to come clean, release his entire travel schedule and reassure Virginians that he can effectively lead them and national Democrats at the same time.