So, it's Tim Kaine.
You know, that's a fascinating choice.
Hillary Clinton announced today that her running mate will be Virginia senator Tim Kaine.
That is a fantastic choice.
More, it’s a testament to her character and it says a great deal about how Hillary Clinton not only sees the world, but Americans in general.
In particular the choice of Tim Kaine tells you what Hillary Clinton thinks of her supporters.
And it’s a hell of a compliment.
You see, Donald Trump picked Mike Pence specifically because Pence appeals viscerally to the worst elements of the Republican base.
There's nothing even vaguely complicated or nuanced about Mike Pence at all.
There's no risk whatsoever for Trump in Pence.
Pence was the safe choice.
Pence is anti-everything. He's Anti-immigrant (including birthright citizenship), Anti-Federal Reserve (and all the Glenn Beck conspiracy nuts cheered), Anti-tax (he's a flat-tax guy and the conservative libertarians just wet themselves in glee), Anti-Education, Anti-EPA and a climate change denier, Anti-renewable energy (fossil fuels all the way and drill baby drill), Anti-Iran Deal, Anti-healthcare, Anti-abortion, Anti-stem cell research, Anti-evolution, Anti-Science, Anti-sex education, Anti-LGBT.
About the only thing Mike Pence is for is God, Guns, and War and not necessarily in that order.
Mike Pence wasn't a complicated decision, there’s nothing subtle or nuanced about his selection. Which figures, given that Trump is about as subtle and nuanced as a drunk at a frat party dancing on the table with a bra on his head.
Mike Pence is the clanking mechanical heart of the Party of No.
Trump picked Pence specifically because when he looks out at the chanting crowd Trump sees a simple, uncomplicated black and white world, us and them.
There are Stormtrumpers and there are enemies and there ain’t nothing else.
He picked Pence specifically because he doesn't think very much of his supporters' ability to grasp complex issues.
They're the howling mob, they’re the people who think Celebrity Apprentice is highbrow entertainment. Trump knows it’s not. He knows what kind of people watch his TV shows and visit his casinos and golf clubs. Those people are cash cows, marks, not his friends.
Trump’s base understands one thing: no. No. No. No. No immigrants. No abortion. No evolution. No big government. No Taxes. No deals with Iran or Russia. No liberals. No compromise.
They understand single syllable words, wall, war, gun, God and not necessarily in that order.
And Mike Pence is that guy.
Donald Trump picked Mike Pence specifically because he is that guy.
He is that guy. No. No. And no.
He's a more dignified (if that word has any meaning here) and well spoken version of Sarah Palin and he was picked for the same reason, because he appeals viscerally and emotionally to the very worst and most extreme elements of the Republican Party.
Trump isn't stupid, he just plays stupid on TV because that's the demographic he's aiming for. That’s who he thinks his supporters are.
And Tim Kaine?
Kaine is the anti-Pence.
Tim Kaine is why you should vote for Hillary Clinton – even if you hate her. Even if you hate everything about her.
You see, the Presidency is about choice.
The Office of the President, more than anything else, is about decisions.
George W. Bush was right, he was The Decider.
He just made shitty decisions.
The President is the decider.
And choice of running mate is a potential president’s very first major decision.
Who a candidate chooses tells you a lot of what you need to know right up front.
Trump’s selection of Mike Pence shows you exactly how his future decisions will go. They’ll be simple. Us and them. Black and white. You’re either with us or you’re against us. And made specifically because they appeal to the people keeping President Trump in power and for no other reason. There’s nothing else behind his decision. Nothing. He’s a guy who rose to fame on popularity and he doesn’t have any other move. None.
Now, take a minute and extrapolate…
…to the Supreme Court
…to foreign relations
…to the economy
…to healthcare, education, religion
…to war and peace.
You are unlikely in the extreme to see the reasoned and careful decisions of the last eight years under a Trump Administration.
Which brings us to Tim Kaine.
Unlike Pence, Tim Kaine is many shades of grey.
His choice as running mate shows careful, in-depth, strategic analysis on Clinton's part.
The kind of careful, deliberate, in-depth, strategic analysis you want from a president.
Kaine is a democratic Senator from Virginia. A state of military bases and conservative ideals. Think about that, think about what it takes to get elected as a democrat in Virginia. Kaine has a reputation as a decent forthright honest upstanding guy, bi-partisan, willing to work with conservatives and liberals with equal enthusiasm – those traits make Kaine well liked by his colleagues in the Senate, on both sides of the aisle.
And that is a damned rare thing nowadays.
Imagine a Senate, a Congress made up of guys like Kaine. Imagine how different our world would be today. How much better.
Strategically, Kaine is from Virginia. If Clinton wins the White House, Virginia’s democratic governor will appoint Kaine’s replacement in the Senate. If Clinton had chosen Elizabeth Warren or Sherrod Brown, their replacements would have been Republicans – in a Senate with a Republican majority. Did you think about that? It’s not enough to win the White House, not if you really want to do all those things Bernie talked about. You have to win back Congress too and starting out another point down isn’t the smartest way to go about that.
Clinton and her team are playing the long game, making strategic decisions that will win the war, not just the current dust up. She could have picked Warren or Sherrod or even Bernie Sanders. But she didn’t. Leadership isn’t about giving people what they want, it’s about doing the right thing for the right reasons.
Tim Kaine is the right thing. For all the right reasons.
This morning I’m seeing Bernie supporters saying things like, “Guess Hillary doesn’t want our votes after all, screw her.”
I’m seeing progressives saying the same thing. They’re telling me, hey, look at this, see? Tim Kaine is pro-bank deregulation and supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership and, holy shit, he’s a Catholic and therefore he’s obviously anti-abortion!
And I can see their point of view. I can.
But Tim Kaine is not Mike Pence.
And you have to look beyond the surface.
Kaine has spent his entire professional and political life fighting for civil rights.
In a lot of ways he’s done the things Bernie Sanders has only talked about.
Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not bashing Sanders. I’m not. I’m asking you to look a little deeper, hell, a lot deeper.
What I’m saying is if you actually look at Kaine in depth, as Clinton obviously did, you’ll see that she is very much listening. Perhaps that’s why Bernie Sanders himself endorsed her.
Maybe, if you look at Tim Kaine, you’ll see Bernie didn’t sell you out after all. Maybe, just maybe, you were right about him all along.
Look here, as a lawyer, Kaine spent two decades representing poor people who had been discriminated against in housing and employment based on race and disability. He won landmark cases and changed the law regarding fair housing, employment, and representation for minorities – and a lot of that was pro bono.
That’s the kind of thing Sanders talks about regularly, isn’t it? Kaine didn’t just talk about it, he did it.
He changed the world for the better.
He made the world a better place for a hell of a lot of people. Down in the trenches and the tenements where it counts.
Kaine took that experience and taught others. Literally. He taught legal ethics at the University of Richmond School of Law for six years. He was a founding member of the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness. Again, these are very things Bernie talks about. Kaine is out there doing them.
As Mayor of Richmond Kaine was the first white man in that position in more than ten years, chosen by the majority black city council in no small part for his record fighting for equality and civil rights. Because Kaine didn’t just talk about civil rights and equality and race, he leads on all fronts by example – as Bernie does. Kaine turned Richmond around, he renovated schools in poor neighborhoods and built new ones, he gave tax breaks to projects that directly benefited the city and opposed tax increases that didn’t, he brought back business and jobs, and his policies reduced gun crimes by more than 55%. Under Kaine, Richmond went from poverty and crime to being named one of the 10 Best Cities in America to do Business by Forbes – and the key to all of that was Kaine’s commitment to and leadership on racial reconciliation.
Tell me, is that not something Bernie Sanders would enthusiastically support?
You know what the biggest controversy of Kaine’s tenure as Mayor of Richmond was?
He spent $6,000 in public funds on buses to send citizens to the Million Mom March against Gun Violence in Washington D.C.
When pro-gun elements funded by the National Rifle Association tried to make something of it, Kaine raised money privately and paid the city back with interest for use of the buses and took the wind right out of the NRA’s sails. That’s right, Kaine himself paid to send citizens concerned about gun violence to Washington so their voices would be heard. Sounds like something Bernie would do, doesn’t it? And for all the right reasons.
As governor of Virginia, one of the largest and oldest tobacco producing states, Kaine banned smoking in public venues – Making Virginia the first Southern state to do so.
Now you think about that.
This guy faced down the NRA and the Tobacco Lobby on their own home turf and won.
Kaine isn’t a guy who does a thing because it’s popular, he does it because it’s the right thing to do. Who’s that remind you of?
And then Kaine went to the Senate.
And one of his very first acts on Capitol Hill was to deliver a speech on the Senate floor in support of the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" immigration bill. Kaine gave the speech entirely in Spanish. The first time in the history of the United States that a speech was given by a Senator on the Floor in any language other than English.
As a senator Kaine has spoken out strongly against Citizen’s United. He supports strong regulation of the financial industry and he supports Dodd-Frank – while at the same time acknowledging banking industry concerns and suggesting that a vibrant economy requires balance. He’s a vocal supporter of immigration and has been one of President Obama’s biggest supporters in this area.
And then there’s abortion:
"I have a traditional Catholic personal position, but I am very strongly supportive that women should make these decisions and government shouldn't intrude. I'm a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade and women being able to make these decisions. In government, we have enough things to worry about. We don't need to make people's reproductive decisions for them."
Here’s a man who, for religious reasons, cannot himself support abortion, but who believes – and openly says so – that his beliefs should not be forced upon others. This is a man who believes in actual liberty, the actual right to choose, and actual freedom of religion.
This is an example for every American to aspire to.
On nearly every topic near and dear to liberal and progressive hearts, and many moderate conservative ones as well, Tim Kaine sets the example. Gay rights, war, the economy, the environment, energy, climate, education, civil rights, gun violence and gun rights, crime, taxes, this guy leads the way in every case.
Yes, Kaine has expressed pro-business and pro-trade ideas. Business and trade are part of America and as an American you should want both to be strong and vibrant. But if you look at Kaine’s statements in detail you’ll see that the difference between Kaine’s pro-business stance and that of Trump/Pence is that he doesn’t believe business should come at the expense of people and his record in every detail proves that all the way back to Richmond. Liberals, Progressives, Conservatives, and Libertarians can all find something to agree on in there.
Hell, if Tim Kaine was running for President instead of Clinton or Trump, I’d vote for him.
Kaine is the anti-Pence.
Tim Kaine is a brilliant choice by Hillary Clinton.
Tim Kaine shows you that she is listening to your concerns.
She is listening to Bernie supporters and taking them seriously, but she’s also the kind of leader who is going to make the right choice for the right reasons and not because it panders to popularity. And that matters.
She’s also listening to conservatives who hate and despise Trump and Pence and she’s going to have to win over those people not only to win the White House but because it’s the only way to move the country forward again.
And she’s listening to herself. To reason. To strategy. To long term goals. To doing what’s right instead of what’s popular.
Trump listens only to the cheers of the mob.
The Supreme Court.
The economy, healthcare, education, religion, civil rights, war and peace, the role of government, the role of religion, race, gender, identity, climate, science, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Those are the things in play here.
With the Supreme Court alone, the next president will decide the nature of America for decades to come.
With Kaine, Clinton has shown you what kind of Decider she’ll be.
With Pence, Trump has shown you the very same thing.
The choices – and the consequences – could not be more clear.
It is now time for you to decide for yourself what kind of Decider you are.