- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 8, 2000

Former Virginia Gov. George Allen swept into the U.S. Senate Tuesday, adding a new, Reaganesque voice to a chamber that could surely use one. Mr. Allen credited the victory to his conservative governing philosophy, fitting for a man who once held Thomas Jefferson's seat in the Virginia General Assembly. But Mr. Allen's geniality, so at odds with the ugly caricature that political foes drew of him, also counted for something. Said one northern Virginia woman to The Washington Post, "He's pretty close to the way my family and I are. God bless him for sending his kids [to public school]. I'm not sure I will."

In office, Virginians can count on Mr. Allen to do his best to restrain the federal leviathan that punishes Virginians and their families with high taxes and costly, time-consuming mandates on everything from education to the environment and more. Already some experts are warning that Mr. Allen's struggles as governor with the Environmental Protection Agency portend a leap backward for nature in the Old Dominion. Had the experts and EPA had their way, Virginia motorists might now be bouncing, Ping-Pong style, between separate emissions-testing and repair facilities. Mr. Allen defended the more convenient one-stop test-and-repair procedure that exists today. At last report, Mother Nature and Virginians seemed to be doing just fine.

It would be nice to say that Charles S. Robb, a political cipher to all but hardened Democrats, ran his campaign with the dignity Virginia assumes even of its political representatives. But in the closing days of the campaign, Mr. Robb stood with black members of a state Democratic Party circulating a flyer that called Mr. Allen a racist "extremist," one who had hung a "noose" in his law office. The clear implication was that Mr. Allen was once (and might secretly still be) at the front of some sort of a mob out to lynch minorities. It is a measure of Mr. Robb's political desperation that he felt obliged to sign onto this attack.

The irony of the Allen victory is that Democrats helped make it possible. Following Mr. Allen's election to Congress, state Democrats decided to redraw his district lines to put him in the same one with Republican Rep. Tom Bliley. Rather than run against Mr. Bliley, Mr. Allen decided to run for governor and won. The rest is both history and, for Mr. Allen and Virginia, the future.

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