Saturday, July 23, 2016

Clinton picks Tim Kaine for VP

Hillary Clinton has announced her choice for vice president:   Sen. Tim Kaine, who is currently a senator from Virginia and is a previous mayor of Richmond and governor of  Virginia.   This is a good, solid choice;  and I am confident that Clinton chose the person that she wants to have working alongside her in the White House, someone who could meet her stated criterion of being able to wake up one morning, if necessary, and be the president.

Progressives were hoping for Elizabeth Warren or Tom Perez.   Kaine is considered a more moderate Democrat;  for example he supported President Obama on the TPP fast track authorization, although he does not support the TPP in its current form.  Progressives also have concerns about his positions on banking.  In addition, he does not bring excitement to the ticket, no drama, no sizzle.   But in every other way, he is an ideal choice.   He has a Midwest, working class, liberal Catholic background, speaks fluent Spanish, and is the most respected, moral member of Congress.

I don't think I can introduce him in any better way than to quote from what progressive political commentator Krystal Ball wrote a while back on the Huffington Post.    She was a self-described "Bernie Broad," who supported Bernie Sanders in the primary.   But she is also a Virginia resident and has known Sen. Kaine for many years.   Here's what she wrote about him: 
"Kaine is the son of a welder who graduated from a Jesuit high school, flew through University of Missouri and then landed at Harvard Law. While his classmates were hanging out in Cambridge fielding offers from big firms, Kaine took a year off to do mission work in Honduras where he worked with young boys growing up in brutal poverty. The year abroad left him fluent in Spanish and with a deep commitment to using his Harvard law degree for the public good. After law school he made good on his commitment to service and rather than cashing in on his degree, spent much of his legal career fighting against housing discrimination. Now you just tell me, does that sound like the bio of a chamber-[of commerce]-backed, blue dog, corporate Dem? . . .

"Here’s how his elections in Virginia typically go: the NRA gives him an F rating, fear mongers about how he’s going to take everyone’s guns, spends massively against him, and then Tim goes on to win anyway. Keep in mind, the NRA is literally headquartered in Virginia. . . but that didn’t stop Kaine from signing an executive order following the Virginia Tech massacre to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill . . . [or] pushing additional gun control measures as governor like eliminating the gun show loophole. . . . the definition of political courage for a Southern Dem is willingness to buck the gun lobby. Tim Kaine has been unflinching. . . .  

"Speaking of Catholic values, shouldn’t pro-choice progressives be terrified of Tim Kaine on the ticket? After all, he has said he is personally opposed to abortion. . . . [But] Kaine has consistently supported Roe v Wade. In the Senate, he actually enjoys a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood. Based on Kaine’s record, it seems he would be entirely comfortable backing Hillary Clinton’s strongly pro-choice positions and in the unlikely event he would find himself President and making Supreme Court picks, there is every reason to expect Kaine would seek out Justices who would uphold Roe. He has been quite clear that while he may have his own personal objections to abortion, he has no interest in policing the lives of others. . . .

"[H]aving watched a long time and gotten to see the man up close, I can tell you he is courageous, principled, and value driven. . . .  He won over skeptical Virginians when it was supposedly impossible. I’d love to see what he can do to help Secretary Clinton win over America."
Both NARAL and Planned Parenthood have hailed the choice of Kaine, so that should allay fears about his stand on abortion.  Others have described him as the most progressive governor in Virginia history.   We may be in for some surprises.

Mo Elleithee, head of the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service, calls Kaine "a true progressive" and says he connects with voters across diverse groups in cities, suburbs and the countryside.   He also has the ability to launch a blistering attack on an opponent and still be liked by the audience.   “I remember one speech where he had the people eating out of his hands.  It wasn’t until later that I realized, oh, my God, he just ripped his opponent’s face off, but it didn’t feel like it.”
Sounds OK to me.   Let's go win an election.   The stakes are huge.


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