I’ve never paid much attention to Tim Kaine (and, really, why would I?). So I was surprised by his conversational deftness as a communicator. It’s rare for a career politician to seem so normal. He has the affect of an earnest suburban Dad. Not that he will be able to do anything to soften or change Hillary’s image, but–assuming no defining gaffes over the next week–he’s not going to do any harm and might help at the margins.
A couple of other observations from this afternoon: I get that his speaking Spanish is an asset given that Democrats want to run up the score among Latinos, but it was over the top today; as someone noted on Twitter, it’s remarkable how many of the attacks on Donald Trump are unique to Donald Trump, i.e. they are attacks that wouldn’t have been possible to lodge against any other Republican; Hillary is going to hammer Trump’s contention that he alone can solve the nation’s problem as 1) patriarchal (one man saying he can fix the country, 2) authoritarian, 3) a symptom of how he can’t work with others; Clinton will also try to make many of his criticisms of the status quo unpatriotic attacks on the country itself; it was a very buttoned-up, polished event compared to the Pence announcement and the same will almost certainly be true of the convention this coming week–an advantage if the usual rules applies, but this year a significant slice of voters may consider this very professionalism a sign of inauthenticity and politics as usual.