He’s not Elizabeth Warren, which is who we on the progressive side would like to see as Hillary’s vice-presidential nominee. He’s not charismatic like Cory Booker. He’s another old white dude, unlike Julian Castro or Tom Perez. And he’s not really all that liberal.
However, Tim Kaine is probably the right guy for Hillary, even if he does upset some of the Bernie voters.
Why? Because he’s boring, and in this election, boring is refreshing. He might be able to siphon a few white guys away from Trump, and white guys are Hillary Clinton’s kryptonite. He’s got a decent American story — his Dad was a welder, and Kaine bootstrapped his way to Harvard. He’s fluent in Spanish (having spent a year doing missionary work in Honduras). He’s Catholic. He has ties to Minnesota (where he was born) and Missouri (where he was raised and attended college), he has governing experience (as mayor and governor) and most importantly, nobody hates this guy. He may not be beloved, but he may be the only guy on either ticket who isn’t unpopular to 60 percent of the electorate.
He’s steady, modest, and a good guy. He’s basically Joe Biden, which is why Obama almost chose him over Joe Biden.
Interestingly, Obama was interested in picking Tim Kaine as his VP in 2008. But they decided not to because Kaine was too much like Obama.— Bilge Ebiri (@BilgeEbiri) July 22, 2016
Biden wasn’t an exciting choice, either (save for the occasional gaffe), but he was a steady guy who has since become hugely popular.
Like a lot of folks, Tim Kaine is pro-choice (he has a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood) but personally opposed to abortion (which is a fair position). Like Obama, he was opposed to same-sex marriage until around the same time that Obama came around on same-sex marriage. He’s opposed to the death penalty; he passed legislation to make Virginia the first Southern state to ban smoking in public places; and he’s very anti-gun, thanks in part to the Virginia Tech tragedy (he receives an F from the NRA).
I have no real enthusiasm for Tim Kaine, but he’s not divisive. He’s not polarizing. He’s a fine man who not only managed to win with African-Americans as mayor of Richmond, but with Southerners as Governor and Senator of Virginia. In fact, he’s never lost an election in his life. We need that kind of assurance.
His emotional plea for stricter gun legislation ought to also inspire some excitement among Democrats, as well.
Tim Kaine: He’s like a solid character actor who grows on you because he keeps popping up on shows like Justified and Deadwood. “Oh yeah, that guy! I liked him in that other thing, too.” That’s Tim Kaine. He’s “good enough!”