From his earliest days in the Virginia General Assembly to his days in Congress and ultimately the governor’s mansion, George Allen has run as the philosophical heir of Thomas Jefferson, whose legacy of limited government and individual liberty has served Virginia as well as it has guided Mr. Allen’s political agenda. So passionate is Mr. Allen, an otherwise amiable man, in arguing that cause that occasionally his rhetoric has served as a convenient excuse for political opponents to ignore his proposals and attack the proponent. Fortunately the basic outline of his agenda hasn’t changed even if his tone has, and it is for that reason that The Washington Times endorses him in his run for the U.S. Senate.
In keeping with that vision, Mr. Allen has made a tax cut the centerpiece of his Senate campaign against incumbent Charles Robb. If elected, he would seek to provide parents with $1,000 per child tax credits for up to two children for education-related expenses such as new computers, tutoring and more. (The plan would not cover tuition, a bow to political reality given the vehement opposition to education vouchers among teachers unions.) He favors abolishing death taxes that punish persons who work hard to leave their children a firm financial foundation and opposes marriage penalties that tax people for no other reason than that their marital status has changed. It’s not hard to imagine how Mr. Allen would vote should Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush’s across-the-board tax cuts make it to the Senate.
Mr. Allen has long been an outspoken critic of excessive federal regulation, believing that states and localities are far better able to balance the costs of distant federal oversight both in terms of individual liberty and private property versus the environmental and public-safety needs of Virginia communities. He opposes the kind of federal diktat that links federal transportation dollars to requirements that states pass more stringent blood-alcohol restrictions. Although he now says he would not bother to repeal laws restricting what proponents refer to as “assault weapons” because they have little or no effect, he routinely refuses to treat gun owners per se as a suspect criminal class until they actually commit a crime. That is all to the good.
Mr. Allen does see a role for government, however limited. He favors a strong military, one on which the federal government should not be conducting social experiments involving homosexuals that could undermine the armed forces’ morale. He would support government restrictions on partial-birth abortions and has, in the past, supported parental notification legislation. As with any politician representing Northern Virginia constituents, Mr. Allen supports speedy work on the Wilson Bridge. This support is notwithstanding the fact that environmental restrictions that might stop similar projects out West pose no such barrier when suddenly they threaten the well-being of federal workers and other commuters trying to cross the bridge to get to work.
A word about Mr. Robb, a man who once carried the banner for moderate Democrats determined to seize their party from the excesses of 1960s liberalism. In another state, Mr. Robb might pass for a liberal Republican. In two high-profile votes, he supported Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court and backed former President George Bush’s use of force in the Persian Gulf War. But Mr. Robb has also become a reliable vote for such controversial measures as opening the military to homosexuals and women, for higher taxes including gas taxes and his overall vision of government’s role in society is far broader than conservatives believe necessary or healthy. It’s much to Mr. Robb’s credit that he is willing to acknowledge his views straightforwardly, if not always as deftly as Mr. Allen. Those opposed to a Jeffersonian approach to government should certainly support him. But The Washington Times recommends a vote for Mr. Allen.