Jul. 25, 2016

Kaine and Unable

What difference, at this point, does a VP pick make?

Following Donald Trump’s lead in announcing Mike Pence as his VP pick the Friday before the GOP convention, Hillary Clinton trotted out Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate Friday afternoon, just in time for the Democrat convention to stumble out of the gate today in Philadelphia. Kaine is pro-Second Amendment, pro-life, pro-traditional marriage and supports tax cuts. Wait — scratch that. Kaine ran as a conservative in his 2005 race for governor, but, though he’s still a relative moderate in a far-Left party, he’s since skewed decidedly more “progressive” on every one of those issues.

That’s still not enough to placate Bernie Sanders. “Kaine’s support for fast-track authority for the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership and recent backing of bank deregulation will make our work more difficult,” Sanders said. (No wonder Kaine recently changed his mind on the TPP.) “He’s a very nice guy,” Sanders continued. “His political views are not my political views. Would I have preferred somebody like an Elizabeth Warren selected by Secretary Clinton? Yes, I would have.”

Oh well. Unity!

Arguably, Clinton’s choice betrays her confidence that a win in November is a given. As The Wall Street Journal put it, “[S]he can risk choosing a capable if conventional Senator who can help her govern perhaps more than he can help her win.” Instead of solidifying her left flank with Elizabeth Warren or minorities with Julian Castro, Clinton chose a milquetoast white dude to help lead the Identity Politics Party.

In any case, Clinton accomplished at least this: She’s got a likeable running mate. “He is a genuinely nice person,” her announcement fundraising email said. That is, of course, in striking contrast to Clinton herself.

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