More Kaine

Some more good reactions on Tim Kaine I wanted to share.  Larry Sabato:

Vice-presidential candidates can be divided into two categories: political choices selected for what they can deliver on Election Day and governing picks who can do some heavy lifting in the White House.

By choosing Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton will get both.

Clinton has been the favorite to win in Virginia since the Republicans chose Donald Trump, whose backing in heavily populated suburbs such as Northern Virginia should lag behind the previous three Republican presidential candidates. But with Kaine on the ticket, Virginia can probably retire its swing-state jersey for this year. A good-size Democratic victory in this once-reliable GOP state should be expected, likely larger than President Obama’s 3.9 point margin in 2012. Recent studies have suggested that a solid running mate can add two to three percentage points in his or her home state.

Kaine will also add more than home-state votes. Experience matters greatly to success on the campaign trail and in office, and Kaine has experience at every level. He has spent more than two decades learning local, state and federal government through service as a city council member, mayor, lieutenant governor, governor and U.S. senator — all the while never losing an election. Even Republican politicians have acknowledged that Kaine mastered each job, and many have praised Kaine’s savvy and collegiality…

If Clinton wins, Kaine could be an enormously valuable vice president. Moreover, one can easily imagine Kaine as president if it ever should prove necessary. In recent history, this hasn’t always been the case with running mates.

And Greg Sargent:

 2) Kaine is good on other issues important to progressives. Kaine, who is fluent in Spanish after having worked as a Catholic missionary in Honduras, has been a longtime advocate of immigration reform that includes a path to legalization for the undocumented…

Kaine has been a longtime proponent of closing the gun background check loophole, and has brought his personal experiences to bear in advocating for gun reform, having been Governor of Virginia at the time of the Virginia Tech massacre. Kaine would thus be well positioned to act as Clinton’s point man on the issue if she wins the presidency, much as Joe Biden has done for President Obama. It’s true that Kaine is personally anti-abortion, but he has voted for funding Planned Parenthood and against restricting access to abortion.  And as Ed Kilgore recently explained, in one sense his approach to the issue shows off a type of depth that could help politically: Kaine is skilled and experienced at navigating hot-button religious and cultural issues and explaining nuanced positions in that context, even if he isn’t fully aligned with progressives on them…

3) Kaine’s position on trade and Wall Street is nuanced. He is not a class warrior in the Sanders mold, but neither is Clinton…

It’s also worth noting that Kaine supports Dodd-Frank and has voted against efforts to gut the law’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Clinton adviser confirms that Kaine has pledged to support her Wall Street reform agenda, which includes defending Dodd-Frank and boosting oversight of the shadow banking sector. Here again, this is something that we could see confirmed publicly in the near future, and this is something progressives can hold the ticket to later…

Mo Elleithee, a Democratic operative who has advised Kaine for many years, agrees that Kaine does not really share Sanders’s ideological and economic worldview. But he says Kaine views government as having an important role in leveling the economic playing field, noting that Kaine ran a vocational school for poor children in Honduras and later acted as a civil rights attorney on housing cases. “Kaine has never been a class warrior,” Elleithee tells me. “But he believes that government ought to be used to help increase opportunity and boost economic mobility for everyone.” [emphases  mine]…

In a sense, all this makes Kaine a good fit for Clinton, both ideologically and temperamentally. If Kaine does not fully share Bernie Sanders’s worldview, particularly his view of politics through the prism of class struggle and the imperative of breaking the power of the plutocracy, neither does she. But both Kaine and Clinton have been devoted to public service for much of their lives. Both have long been more comfortable talking and thinking about policy than about politics. Both care deeply about government, which they see as an essential agent for improving people’s lives. And both have long been more in the workhorse mold than in the showhorse one.

And Krystal Ball with”the progressive case for Tim Kaine:”

Ahh but perhaps Kaine abandoned all his lofty principles in a quest for political power in a conservative Southern state! If that’s your concern, perhaps you should just ask the NRA how they feel about Tim Kaine. Here’s how his elections in Virginia typically go: the NRA gives him an F rating, fear mongers about how he’s going to take everyone’s guns, spends massively against him, and then Tim goes on to win anyway…

Maybe though, Kaine was able to be bold on guns because he was right of center on everything else. Yeah, not so much. In Virginia, Kaine raised taxes, spearheaded efforts for universal pre-K, made Virginia the first Southern state to ban smoking in public places, and consistently opposed the death penalty. Let me repeat that last one. Tim Kaine consistently opposed the death penalty in a state that trails only Texas in number of executions. As governor, he bucked the prevailing law and order winds and vetoed eight different bills that would have expanded capital punishment. The issue was front and center in his gubernatorial race but he stuck to the Catholic values that have guided his life and never backed down.

Speaking of Catholic values, shouldn’t pro-choice progressives be terrified of Tim Kaine on the ticket? After all, he has said he is personally opposed to abortion. If you didn’t look any further, then a pro-choice feminist like myself might have cause for concern. Continue digging just one inch deeper though and you’ll find that Kaine has consistently supported Roe v Wade. In the Senate, he actually enjoys a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood. Based on Kaine’s record, it seems he would be entirely comfortable backing Hillary Clinton’s strongly pro-choice positions and in the unlikely event he would find himself President and making Supreme Court picks, there is every reason to expect Kaine would seek out Justices who would uphold Roe. He has been quite clear that while he may have his own personal objections to abortion, he has no interest in policing the lives of others. I, for what it’s worth, have no interest in policing the thoughts of others. Kaine doesn’t want to control my body and I don’t want to control his mind, so we’re all good there…

Look, anyone who has served as long and in as many ways as Tim Kaine is going to have taken positions you don’t agree with. I’m not saying the guy is perfect. But having watched a long time and gotten to see the man up close, I can tell you he is courageous, principled, and value driven. I can also tell you that this progressive who begged HRC not to run and drove 12 hours to be able to vote for Bernie would be delighted to see him on the Dem ticket.

And, lastly, the kind of liberal response that so annoys me from Nora Caplan-Bricker:

He’s also, at least in his personal views, opposed to abortion due to his Catholic faith—a symbolic kick in the teeth for the feminist organizations that faithfully championed Hillary over Bernie throughout the long primary season. “Is Clinton a progressive? Not if she chooses Tim Kaine,” Jodi Jacobson of the reproductive rights site Rewirewrote Thursday.

That’s not to say that Kaine is running to be a heartbeat from the presidency while nursing a secret plot to overturn Roe v. Wade. Like Vice President Joe Biden—another Catholic, personally anti-abortion Democrat—he’s said that he supports the Supreme Court ruling that established a woman’s right to choose; also like Biden, Kaine has seemed to drift leftward on the issue of late. But his personal beliefs have sometimes seemed to influence his public policymaking, making his selection an optical, and perhaps actual, move toward the center for Hillary.

Among Kaine’s anti-abortion sins:

Two years later, Kaine incensed local and national women’s rights groups by signing a law that allowed the sale of “Choose Life” license plates whose proceeds went to anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers. “It is unfortunate that, even after receiving thousands of messages from Virginians and pro-choice activists across the country, Gov. Kaine has opted to sign a bill that advances a divisive political ideology at the expense of women’s health,” Nancy Keenan, then-president of NARAL, said at the time.

Well, there goes Roe v. Wade.  In fairness, there’s more:

In 2005, he ran for governor on promises to promote adoption, reduce abortion, and support the farce that is abstinence-only sex education. While in office, he backed a so-called partial birth abortion ban, which prohibits a certain method of mid- and late-term abortion, though he supported exceptions in cases where a woman’s health was endangered. He also supported a parental consent law that requires minors to get a parent’s signoff before obtaining an abortion—and though that law theoretically includes a “judicial bypass” option, teens are often prevented from using it by misinformation, as the HuffingtonPost has reported.

Is this a solidly, 100% pro-choice record?  Nope.  It is actually quite reflective of the real-world compromises even many pro-choice Americans are quite comfortable with?  Yes indeed.  Look, he’d clearly appoint judges who would uphold Roe and it also seems clear that he strongly supports Planned Parenthood and that he would not at all seek to initiate legislation limiting abortion in any meaningful way.  That sounds plenty pro-choice enough for me.  Oh, and lastly, the idea that deviating from the hard-line pro-choice view on the single issue of abortion automatically makes one “moderate” or “centrist” is simply misleading in my book.



About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

3 Responses to More Kaine

  1. Jon K says:

    I don’t get how being personally opposed to abortion makes someone not pro choice. Personally, I think abortion has serious moral questions that anyone has to deal with before getting one. I don’t know of anyone who is excited to be getting an abortion. I do know of people who felt remorse after getting the procedure even in cases where it was medically necessary. That said, I think those moral questions are best left to individuals to deal with themselves free from unnecessary government intrusion.

    I also think late term abortion (post viability) is something that is legitimate for regulation and restrictions. I don’t understand why that upsets some on the extreme end of the issue. The idea that an 80% developed human being should have its brain destroyed on a whim makes me sick.

    • Steve Greene says:

      Yep. Though, to be fair, my understanding is, in practice, late-term abortion is almost exclusively used in cases of serious threat to the mother’s health or serious fetal anomaly, e.g., anencephaly.

  2. Jon K says:

    The official policy of my church on abortion pretty much 100% lines up with my thinking on abortion, and I think it is very much a pro choice stance. Bill Clinton got it right when he called for abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare”.

    We recognize tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion, and in such cases we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures by certified medical providers. We support parental, guardian, or other responsible adult notification and consent before abortions can be performed on girls who have not yet reached the age of legal adulthood. We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control, and we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection or eugenics.

    We oppose the use of late-term abortion known as dilation and extraction (partial-birth abortion) and call for the end of this practice except when the physical life of the mother is in danger and no other medical procedure is available, or in the case of severe fetal anomalies incompatible with life. This procedure shall be performed only by certified medical providers. Before providing their services, abortion providers should be required to offer women the option of anesthesia.

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