But, look, Kaine's positions on those issues were in line with President Obama's, which is not a bad benchmark, even if it's less progressive than many of us want on those issues. Yes, Kaine will not pull Clinton the left, but he's not going to pull her to the right either. I think, considering everything, she has made a superb choice. Yesterday, I called it a "good, solid choice." Today, after hearing his speech, I would call it an exciting one as well.
Mike Lux, progressive co-founder of Democracy Partners, wrote this about Kaine:
"He is quite likely the most progressive statewide office holder Virginia has ever had . . . . strongly anti-death penalty, pro-immigration, pro-gun safety legislation, and pro-LGBT rights . . . . great voting scores with labor, choice groups, enviro groups, civil rights groups. It is a sign of how much the Democratic party is moving progressives’ way that someone like Tim Kaine is thought of as the most moderate pick Hillary could have made."As a campaign team, they really click. Kaine's speech and his delivery easily take the prize for best yet by any of the four candidates. He has an easy, natural delivery, where Clinton can sound wooden and wonky. He exudes warmth and folksy dignity, adding a softer-edge and an optimistic, problem-solving attitude.
There was such a contrast in the optics of the VP introduction a week earlier. Trump came out on the stage alone and talked for 28 minutes, mostly about himself. Then, after introducing and bringing Pence onstage, Trump walked off and didn't even stay to listen to his VP's speech.
Clinton and Kaine came onstage together before an enthusiastic, young crowd at a Florida International University rally, with a high percentage of Hispanic students. Clinton gave a glowing introduction, all about Kaine, emphasizing his life of dedication to public service and equal justice. Then Kaine gave a rousing and deeply moving speech, while she sat, listening and beaming and nodding. If you get a chance to watch a clip, it's well worth it.
Here's more from Sam Levine, emphasizing the contrasts:
"While Trump has called Mexicans 'rapists,' vowed to build a wall and deport millions of undocumented immigrants, Kaine spoke in Spanish during his opening remarks. 'Bienvenidos a todos en nuestro pais, porque somos Americanos todos,' he said. ('Welcome to our country, because we are all Americans.') Kaine continued to pivot back and forth between Spanish and English throughout his comments and at one point thanked [in Spanish] naturalized citizens in the audience for choosing to become United States citizens. . . .As governor of Virginia at the time of the Virginia Tech campus shooting, Kaine was deeply moved and had to take a moment to regain his composure to talk about the tragedy of the elderly male teacher, a Holocaust survivor himself, who was killed by that mass shooter as he blocked the door with his body while urging students to climb out the window. He repeated the horrible irony: This man survived the Holocaust, only to die from gun violence in our country. Kaine was able to get a law passed in Virginia to deny gun rights to people with severe mental illness, even in the NRA's home territory. There was indeed determination in his voice as he repeatedly said 'we will not rest' until the U.S. has gun control.
“'While Kaine was taking on housing discrimination [as a civil rights lawyer], Trump was denying apartments to African Americans,' Clinton added.
"Noting that the NRA was headquartered in his state, Clinton said Kaine wouldn’t hesitate to push for gun control. 'Make no mistake, behind that smile, Tim also has a backbone of steel. Just ask the NRA,' she said."
I would add to this that Tim Kaine brings the aura of a working class, Midwestern background, coupled with Harvard Law School, working 19 years as a civil rights lawyer, and then having a sterling political career. He is truly liked and respected in the senate, even by Republicans. Apparently there is not a single person there who dislikes him. So he can be a great asset to Clinton in getting legislation negotiated and passed. He is the most deeply sincere, straight-arrow, moral working politician around. His presence on the ticket helps to offset the meme of "distrust" in "crooked Hillary."
In addition to all those reasons why Tim Kaine is the right choice, it apparently signals that Clinton has decided to go for a landslide victory. Trump has shown that she can rely on him to continue to spew forth doom and despotism, scaring Sanders voters into supporting her. Trump's feud with Kasich probably makes Ohio a pretty sure bet. All this released her to make a different choice than if she was just trying to win a close race. She can afford, with Kaine's appeal, to go after Middle America as well.
As Daily Kos's colorful blogger who calls himself "Reinvented Daddy" writes:
"A lot has been made that Kaine speaks spanish. A former Jesuit student he also speaks religion. A former mayor and governor of Virginia, he speaks Southern (not the accent, the intent). He is an unintimidating bridge to a middle ‘Merica that doesn’t have a rational party anymore. Ask the right way and North Carolina is ours, Arizona and Georgia can be ours, Texas can be ours. Both houses of Congress can be ours. "Hill aint playing it safe. . . . she’s going for a landslide, people."Well, all right. Let's have a landslide then.
PS: I'll be 91 then, but I hope I'm still able to vote for Tim Kaine for President in 2024.