VA SEN debate: a clear contrast

Former governors Allen & Kaine – from the Richmond Times Dispatch

In case you missed last night’s debate between Tim Kaine and George Allen, the full video is below. But if you saw it, then you know that the choice between the two candidates is quite clear.

This race is not between two candidates whose positions are similar – with the only thing separating them being the R and D behind their names. No, this is a case where the two candidates offer widely different views on a variety of issues, from Social Security and Medicare, to women’s rights, to sequestration. Your own views on these things will make your choice easy.

But this race also highlights just how far the needle has moved within the parties.

Used to be there were Democrats on the left, Republicans on the right, and moderates of both parties in the center. The center these days seems to be comprised primarily of Democrats, like Kaine. Unlike this Bell Curve, the center has moved to the right.

Despite efforts to paint every Democrat as a card-carrying member of the liberal left, the harsh truth is that there are few such politicians out there. The move to the right by many Republicans makes it look as if they exist, but that’s just an apparition. Liberals would espouse, for example, as Congressman Bobby Scott does, an end to the Bush tax cuts completely, not a compromise on letting them expire only on certain “high income” individuals (over $250,000, over $500,000, over $1 million – take you pick, as I’ve heard all three levels voiced by Democrats).

There is, though, a difference between the center and the right – and that’s what we heard in the debate.