FINALLY!!! Hillary Clinton has chosen her running mate and hopefully the next Vice-President of the United States: Tim Kaine! Wait … who?
Tim Kaine is a U.S. Senator from Virginia since 2013. He has a long, progressive political history within the Democratic Party:
- Mayor of Richmond, Virginia (1998 – 2002)
- Lieutenant Governor of Virginia under Governor Mark Warner (2002 – 2006)
- Governor of Virginia (2006 – 2010)
- Chairman, Democratic National Committee (2009 – 2011)
- U.S. Senator (2013 – Present)
Kaine graduated from Harvard Law School with a law degree in 1983, and was admitted to the Virginia Bar in 1984. Prior to entering the political arena, he was a Civil Rights Lawyer for 17 years, specializing in fair housing law. He also served as adjunct professor for University of Richmond Law School for six years.
Okay, so now you have the pertinent facts that you could have found on any of a few thousand websites yourself, but I culled the important parts and saved you the trouble. Mr. Kaine obviously has a pretty impressive history, but what made Hillary choose him, specifically? In the immediate aftermath of the announcement Friday evening, I saw several headlines stating that he “could not really do much to help Hillary”. I strongly disagree with that. I think he brings a lot to the table. He is, first of all, from a swing state, and well-liked within his state. Politically he is a liberal, although fiscally somewhat more conservative. He has a proven track record as being a skilled, detail-oriented politician, and also at winning elections. I could go on, but since there is no point in re-inventing the wheel, I point you to an excellent article in Politico that will explain much better than I could.
Based on what little research I have done thus far, I think he was a very sensible choice, perhaps the best she could have made. He has ties to President Obama and, in fact, was at one point considered to be Obama’s running mate back in 2008. Thus far, I can find no scandals surrounding his political life. As noted above, he has a proven track record. And on the issues, I was pleased with most of what I found. However, you cannot please everyone, and some within the Democratic Party appear to be unhappy with Clinton’s choice.
On the issues, just briefly, here are some of his positions I like:
- Supports ACA (alias Obamacare)
- Opposes death penalty
- Favours a pathway to citizenship for immigrants
- Strong advocate of addressing environmental issues
- Supports at least some measures of gun control
- Opposes Keystone XL Pipeline
- Although personally opposed, he supports women’s right to choose abortion with some restrictions (partial-birth abortion)
- Supports same-sex marriage
- Opposes employment discrimination
Progressive Change Campaign Committee took only a matter of minutes to release their statement: “Unfortunately, since Tim Kaine voted to fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Republicans now have a new opening to attack Democrats on this economic populist issue.” Democracy for America denounced him for his support of loosening banking regulations. On the flip side, however, a number of progressive groups rank him highly, including NAACP, Brady Campaign, Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, and AFL-CIO. Interestingly, Wall Street also seemed pleased with her pick, not for any particular policy stance, but simply because she did not choose Elizabeth Warren.
I will, obviously, need to study his policies and ideology more before I can make a definite call, but my initial reaction is that he is a good, solid choice. So much conflict surrounds Clinton that I think she really needs a running mate who doesn’t, at least as far as I know at this point, have much of an Achilles heel. The opposition has already announced their intent to run the dirtiest, most mud-slinging campaign imaginable for the next three-and-a-half months, so it was wise to choose a candidate to whom, hopefully, the mud will not stick. One lobbyist mirrored my own thoughts when he said Kaine is “certainly more level headed and substantive than others considered.”
I imagine I will have more to say in coming days/weeks. The Democratic National Convention begins Monday in Philadelphia. My prediction? Expect a much calmer, saner atmosphere than was seen this week in Cleveland. I do not think we will see masses of stupidity chanting hate as we did this week. Unlike the Cleveland convention, the Democrats had no trouble getting notable speakers, including Michelle Obama, President Obama, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and former President Bill Clinton (surprised, aren’t you?)
Some 30 groups have planned protests in Philadelphia. Among them are Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, and Bernie-or-Bust. I was pleased that there were no serious incidents in Cleveland this week, so let us hope the same will hold true in Philadelphia. Interestingly, although Pennsylvania, like Ohio, has an open-carry law for guns, Pennsylvania state law prohibits carrying a firearm within Philadelphia city limits without a license to carry firearms, which is only issued by city police. This gives law enforcement personnel one less problem to worry about at the Philadelphia convention. As with the Cleveland convention, the U.S. Secret Service, the FBI, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are in charge of security inside the convention hall, where guns are banned except in the hands of law enforcement.
It is my hope that the convention next week will be peaceful and will showcase both Clinton’s and Kaine’s experience and ideology, rather than turn into a mud-slinging fest as the RNC did. Clinton and Kaine both have more experience and are far more qualified than the Trump/Pence team, and they must prove that to the world, starting now.