More on the “Twang Tussle”

Jeff Schapiro plays the “twang tussle” straight down the middle in today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch in a he-said, she-said story. He details the Kilgore crew’s counter charges in rural newspapers depicting Kaine as intolerant of rural Virginians:

“Harvard-educated liberal lawyer Tim Kaine is showing his true colors by attacking Jerry Kilgore’s Southwest Virginia accent,” the Kilgore newspaper ad said. It includes a headline that shoults, “Liberal Democrat Tim Kaine: SHAME ON YOU.”

I’ve changed my tune since my orginal post yesterday. I now think that the Kilgore campaign is way out of line. Tim Kaine never “attacked” Kilgore’s accent. His campaign made a vague statement — “Kilgore has been making things up about me and letting slick radio announcers do his dirty work” — which the Kilgore crew construed as attacking his accent.

Kilgore Deputy Press Secretary J. Tucker Martin explained to me yesterday that the quote must be viewed in the context of off-the-record comments made by campaign surrogates, posts on Kilgore campaign blogs and the infamous website that plays an unflattering audio file of Kilgore speaking. I have no doubt that individuals in the Kaine campaign have poked cruel fun at Kilgore’s voice, which, at its worst, overlays his indigenous SW Virginia drawl with a certain, shall we say… school marm prissiness.

But I don’t think Martin’s case adds up. Unless the average suburban voter happens to be a campaign insider, he or she does not hear the mean jokes told by Kaine campaign staffers, doesn’t frequent the Kaine campaign blogs and has never heard of, much less visited, I find it unlikely that Kaine’s original comment would have triggered any of those associations, much less that the Kaine campaign would have thought that the comment would have triggered those associations.

The benign explanation for the Kilgore campaign’s counter-attack is that staffers, acutely sensitive to the issue of their man’s spoken voice and accent, simply overreacted. My advice: Get over it, guys.

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  1. Mattaponi Avatar

    I’m supporting Kilgore (don’t see any better choices out there, all things considered) but couldn’t agree with you more. This is absolute nonsense. At its most innocent it is a projection of Kilgore supporters’ inner fears about deficiencies and perceived deficiencies of their candidate. At its most Machiavellian, it’s clever campaign judo, whereby Kilgore’s team takes the force of a legitimate jibe from the Kaine camp and uses it to rile up the all to easily riled mindless faithful. If I were a Kilgore insider and really were concerned either about Jerry’s accent or his sexual orientation, the last thing I would do is plaster the MSM and the blogs with whiny complaints about that bad man Tim picking on my boy. It’s either stupid or manipulative. I don’t care much for either characteristic. Don’t we have better things to do? I put this in the category of the Russ Potts hysteria. Makes all us Republicans look like a bunch of weenies.

  2. Laszlo Avatar

    What I’m hearing from The Boys at the Huddle House. Grass root D’s, R’s and I’s.

    What is the issue here?
    I sure want to hear Kilgore talk now. What does he sound like?
    What is Virgil doing in this, he needs to be working on SS.
    Are they going to debate?

    More coffee Rosie.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Hain’t we gut nothin aylse tuh gam?

  4. David Avatar

    No mattaponi, not all repubs look like weenies. Just the ones who are the far right extremist tax and religion panderers.

    There are plenty of us who are tired of the oily feeling we get by standing in the same room with the Kilgore/Gilmore/Norquist/Wilkins play to people’s fear and prejudice and greed crowd.

    I can tell you first hand that the rift in the right is real, and growing.

    And I’m part of it. And the more this group harps on gays/guns/God/taxes (yesterday’s Kilgore ad) and ignores good business practice, the further people like me feel distanced from a party that I used to be quite proud to belong to.

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    The Staunton News Leader is brutal this morning: “all that Kilgore is accomplishing is to make himself look like a thin-skinned crybaby.”

    Their editorial cartoonist takes a shot at Kilgore’s staffers, too. Very funny indeed.

  6. O.K. that’s it!

    I went looking to see if I could find where Kaine or his people are making fun of Kilgore and was shocked by the nasty nature of one site in particular that has obviously doctored photos and movies.

    No one could look like this. No one would choose to wear those colors!

    This has to be something the Kaine folks manufactured to make Kilgore look silly. And it works! How mean and unfair! Shame on you liberal Tim Kaine!

    the site address is:

    not even a good spoof…

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    i think the actual site is Kilgore’s official site

  8. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous is case in point. Say nothing, and the bashing continues. Say something, and Kilgore is just whining.

    Tim Kaine is trying to have it both ways. Make the backhanded remarks and shrug when the wrong people pick up on the doublespeak.

    There’s a reason why people are picking up on this and making a big deal about Kaine picking on Kilgore’s accent. It’s because it’s true.

  9. As Waldo has stated before – being gay is like having brown hair to most Democrats and (many Republicans, for that matter). It’s not an issue. Personally, I poke fun of Kilgore’s sexuality (clearly he’s a straight man, for the record) and hint at his gayness because I’m amused by the reaction from people who think homosexuality is like alcoholism.

  10. Pastor John Avatar
    Pastor John

    homosexuality is like being a chocoholic, except with gays

  11. Anonymous Avatar

    David: don’t give in to total despair yet. I think there is some hope for the Party. In the midst of this content-less campaign, I think the two guys in the the AG race and Connaughton in the LG race have shown some real depth on a range of issues. We aren’t entirely devoid of substance yet. The open question is whether someone like Connaughton, who has actually successfully governed and knows the ins and outs of the finance/tax/transport issues, can win a GOP primary. We’ll find out in five weeks. If substantive candidates can’t win in the primary, then lets see what happens in the General. If we get our heads handed to us, maybe it’s time to re-think how the GOP approaches the electorate in the Old Dominion. My bet is that despite all the moon-howling, there are enough Republicans like you who also want victory that we will not be stuck with a hollow ticket.


    Excellent op piece in the Augusta Free Press on this very subject.

    GUEST VIEW: Why don’t you speak for yourself, Jerry?

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