In his response
to the State of the Union message, Democratic Virgina Governor Tim Kaine leaves no doubt that he is in fact a Democrat, although a relative moderate.
He harps on WMDs not being found in Iraq. (I'm glad he did that; it's a sure loser for the Dems.)
He wants oil companies to "share in our sacrifice" with their "excess profits".
He repeats "there's a better way" without actually making any substantial suggestion of a better way, or any other way.
He talks about the value of "service", whatever that means.
It's a bunch of worthless gibberish.
Two things he said which the Republicans should pay attention to, however:
1)His claim that the Democrats are going to bring a new non-corrupt ethic to government.
2)His attempt to pose Democrats as the party of fiscal responsibility.
For Republican fiscal conservatives such as myself who are not motivated by social/cultural issues, these two arguments do carry serious weight.
As I've mentioned in recent postings, the corrpution issue is, in my view, one of the biggest risks to the GOP.
And the fiscal recklessness of this government also makes voters like me wonder if Republicans have forgotten why they were sent to Washington.
Somewhat less important but still relevant, and something the Dems are likely to keep harping on, is the idea of bad management. They may try to use the horribly-implemented Medicare drug benefit as a major example of that.
(While they would be right to show that as an example of poor execution, many of us are not-so-secretly glad that the biggest increase in entitlement spending in our history is getting off to a rough start.)
Kaine was smart to close his speech with a call for unity and "for America to heal its partisan wounds." It will never happen with this Democratic leadership, but they're nice words for the public.
It's not that Republican voters will decide to vote for Hillary but it might make them stay home, particularly if the war in Iraq is going fairly well around election time so the "security vote" is less urgent. And if we go through this year with no presidential vetoes, no spending discipline, and things going OK in Iraq you could easily see crossover votes for Mark Warner if he is the nominee. Imagine that...a bunch of Republicans voting for Warner and a bunch of Democrats voting for John McCain if the GOP makes the mistake of nominating him.