THOUGH THE CHIN-SCRATCHING of armchair political analysts hasn't stopped yet, Virginians who voted in Tuesday's Democratic primary obviously weren't at all fazed by the prospect of what the intrepid Henry Howell has dubbed the "rainbow" ticket of victors. The Party will be offering an idological potpourri, with liberal-populist Mr. Howell for governor, middle-of-the -roader-with-name-recognition Charles S. Robb for lieutenant governor and former Nixon-support/Richmond-pol Edward E. Lane for attorney general.
That may seem a difficult act to get together. BUt after what Mr. Howell managed to do with his disorganized and financially troubled corps of campaigners, this may be a piece of cake for the former lieutenant governor.
To be sure, it has been said that a primary victory for Henry Howell would set things up for a fall victory by Republican John N. Dalton. The sayers of this, however, may well be the same people who were sure that Andrew P. Miller would win. (Beacuse that's what "they" were saying, Mr. Howell's victory is considered an "upset".) At any rate, the election still to come could run out to be as interesting as this week's.
Perhaps, too, the two-party system may enjoy a little comeback on Virginia's crazy-quit political scene. Indeed, there have been so many partisans-turned-"undependents" running for office in recent years that voters this time around may at least be able to read the scorecards a little more easily.
At any rate, it certainly wasn't the week for Henry Howel's "last hurrah"." After nearly 30 years in public life as the flamboyant champion of civil rights, consumer protection and cahanges in the tax structure and as a veteran of many other battles, Mr. Howell is raring to go. If the Democratic Party decides to act like a real political coalition, Mr. Dalton and his running mates may have quite a busy time of it.