According to George Allen, the Republican candidate for Virginia’s Senate seat, if you pay an electric bill, drive a car, or have a job, he will be getting your vote this fall. While we can’t fault him for his unfailing optimism, his strategy in today’s debate may not gain the support of all employed, faithful electric bill payers and drivers throughout the state of Virginia.
As moderator David Gregory fired off questions concerning various social, economic, and political issues, candidate Allen’s answers all eventually came back to only one word: Jobs.
“My view is, the best social program of all is a job,” stated Allen, and he applied this social program to questions raised about gay marriage, women’s equality, and the armed forces. So apparently, job creation is Allen’s solution to reproductive choice, marriage equality, and representation. With Virginia’s unemployment rate being at an impressively low 5.9%, one might wonder how job creation came to be the foundation of Allen’s campaign.
While Democratic candidate Tim Kaine clearly laid out a comprehensive plan for his perspective term as senator, he was not a commanding force on many issues most important to many liberal voters.
When asked about his opinions towards gay marriage, Kaine failed to take a strong stance on the issue. Kaine suggested action at the state level and avoided supporting legalized gay marriage at the federal level, which could allow states to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. Without recognizing the importance of action for marriage equality at the federal level, Kaine neglects the social and economic repercussions felt by those same sex couples unable to obtain a legal marriage license.
For those who are less concerned with the work force and more concerned with rising healthcare costs, Allen’s emphasis on jobs was likely received unenthusiastically. However neither candidate provided strong arguments addressing the challenges faced by senior citizens who make up 1 out of every 5 Virginians.
As young women, concerned about our social, political, economic, and reproductive rights, Kaine rose to the occasion and addressed many pertinent women’s issues which Allen avoided discussing all together. Too often “women’s issues” are reduced to social problems, when in fact their consequences manifest themselves in the economic sphere as well. “It’s demeaning to suggest that issues about women are just social issues and economic issues,” Kaine asserted, “If you force women to have an ultrasound procedure against their will, and pay for it, that’s an economic issues. If you deny women opportunities because of personhood legislation to make constitutional choices, including whether to purchase contraception – that’s an economic issue.” This statement was Kaine’s paramount response in Thursday’s senatorial debate.
Who won? If you are certain all of Virginia’s problems can be remedied by job creation, then George Allen could be the man for the job. But as far as we’re concerned, Democratic candidate Tim Kaine represents promise for a refreshing change in politics. He recognizes the stagnating effects discrimination and social inequality have in all facets of an individual’s life, and seeks to address those issues with the urgency and care that they warrant.
So Virginians, if you pay an electric bill, drive a car, have a job, and care about your social, political, and economic prosperity then this November, make the decision to vote for equality, and vote for Tim Kaine.
Blog by Michelle Hutchins and Shawn Austin, Feminist Majority Interns
Photo of Tim Kaine via wikimedia commons.
One comment on “Kaine and Allen face off in debate”
It is imperative that Tim Kaine become more vocal on the issue of women’s rights. The Republican party was forced to back down from its plan to compel women to have an intrusive ultrasound before an abortion because of public outcry. Mr. Allen is an adept debater and a clever man, one who knows he cannot placate his base with ultra conservative rhetoric and expect independent voters to send him back to the Senate. He is afraid to be tied down to any one opinion for fear of alienating independents. If Mr. Kaine wants to rise in the polls and win the Senate race he must force Allen to define his views on women’s rights publicly and let the people show their discontent with Republican ideas. While the Commonwealth has many conservative women voters few, if any, would be ready to embrace the kind of extremist positions that Allen espouses.