The focus groups must have indicated that with her electoral college advantage, Hillary Clinton just needed a generic Democrat to be her running mate. And the good news is, she found the generic Democrat.
Painfully generic. Clinton’s selection of Tim Kaine as her running mate won’t raise her poll numbers much, or Democratic spirits. Ordinarily I would say the pick would “raise some eyebrows,” but maybe I should avoid that metaphor in references to Tim Kaine.
Kaine’s bland, risk-averse political persona means he’s a fascinating measuring stick of the leftward shift in Democratic politics over the past decade. The 2005 era Tim Kaine sounded downright Republican: “I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and that marriage is a uniquely valuable institution that must be preserved.” “I supported reducing Virginia’s sales tax on food and prescription drugs. I supported tax reform that eliminated the marriage penalty, reduced everyone’s income tax, and took over 140,000 Virginians off the tax rolls entirely.” He believed in enforcing “the current Virginia restrictions on abortion and passing an enforceable ban on partial birth abortion that protects the life and health of the mother” and “fighting teen pregnancy through abstinence-focused education.”
His campaign literature promised, “Tim Kaine strongly supports the Second Amendment. As the next Governor of Virginia, he will not propose any new gun laws.”
Once he was elected governor, Kaine pushed for tax increases again and again. He began by pitching $1 billion tax increase, as well as increasing car registration fees and imposing steeper fines on drivers who got tickets. Two years later, he proposed a $1.1 billion plan to hike the titling tax and vehicle registration fees. In his final year in office, Kaine proposed increasing the state’s income tax another percentage point to 6.75 percent. Republican state legislators blocked all these proposals.
In 2009, Kaine’s dedication to the party started getting in the way of his day job; he spent “about 30 percent of the workweek, on average” as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Of course, that was his final year as governor.
Once elected to the Senate in 2012, Kaine “tried to cultivate an image as an abortion-rights champion. He’s pleased reproductive rights’ groups with a perfect voting record.” He discovered that he believed in gay marriage in 2013.
By 2011, Kaine, who once ran ads falsely implying NRA President Charleton Heston praised his record, said he supported measures to restrict the number of bullets that can be fired from a single magazine. Recently he declared that the Orlando nightclub terror attack was “just an additional wake up call that we need to find solutions to reduce this scourge of gun violence.”
Maybe Kaine and Hillary bonded over how lucrative life in elected office can be. While he was governor, Kaine received $186,899 in gifts and travel – Redskins tickets, cases of wine, etecetra. He didn’t get in legal trouble the way Bob McDonnell did because he disclosed all of the gifts on the proper forms.