Is Allen Able . . .
To beat Kaine?
Oct 29, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 07 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Kaine has deflected questions about whether he would support Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat, to continue as majority leader. “It’s too early to talk about leadership questions,” Kaine told reporters after the debate in Richmond, even though it’s utterly implausible he would vote for the alternative, Republican Mitch McConnell.
On policy, he vows to protect popular spending, like Social Security, defense, and public broadcasting, while on taxes, Kaine claims his position splits the difference between the parties. Republicans want to extend the Bush tax rates on millionaires and billionaires (and everyone else, he’ll rarely say), while Democrats want to let tax cuts expire for those making over $250,000 a year. Kaine offers a “compromise”: Let them expire for income over $500,000.
“There’s no theology or magic to that number,” Kaine recently told a small group of seniors in Fairfax. “But it’s a number that is a compromise.”
He’s also a huge fan of women. At a rally for Obama at George Mason University, nearly a hundred women sat on risers behind Kaine as he spoke, a perfect backdrop for the TV cameras.
“My opponent was asked about some of his, frankly, extreme views on issues relating to women’s health,” Kaine said. “I gotta tell you, as a husband and father, I know that what we’re referring to aren’t just women’s issues or social issues. They’re family issues and they’re economic issues.”
How is this repositioning working? Kaine has led Allen in 12 of the last 14 polls of the race, sometimes by as much as 10 points. Since September, some polls have shown Kaine breaking the 50 percent threshold of support. But according to the Real Clear Politics poll average, Kaine is ahead by only 2.2 points. Indeed, throughout the campaign, each boomlet for Kaine has been followed by a recalibration of the race at a statistical tie.
Jennifer Duffy, an analyst with the Cook Political Report, says Virginia’s is the one Senate race in the country that will be determined by the presidential race. “Democrats have Kaine up a couple of points, Republicans have Allen up a couple of points,” she says. “Call it even.”
“Even” isn’t a great position for Allen to stage a political comeback. But with Romney on the rise in Virginia and groups like American Crossroads continuing to pour money into the state, it isn’t all that bad, either.
Michael Warren is a reporter at The Weekly Standard.