Tim Kaine

So the hot topic at the moment is Tim Kaine’s VP prospects. Kathy and Dylan Matthews hate him, but (all due), they increasingly seem to hate everyone with a realistic chance at the moment (Sebelius excluded). I’m sort of cool to him myself, but for pretty different reasons.

I should say that I don’t much care for some of the anti-gay rhetoric he has employed at times, but keep in mind that he’s still from Virginia, the state that George Allen represented in the Senate until he was defeated by a really narrow margin. The same goes for his stances on abortion. So, in any event, it’s worth keeping in mind that when taken to the national level, those things could change quickly. I’m also not really concerned about these “experience” arguments either. Virginia doesn’t allow Governors to run for re-election, and Kaine will have completed 3 years heading the state in January. He was also the Lieutainant Governor of Virginia for 4 years, meaning that he has as long of a tenure in public office (and this is not counting his time in Richmond city government), as Hillary Clinton.

I am however skeptical of his value on the ticket. Kaine won a narrow victory in 2005 on the tails of a very popular Democratic Governor in Mark Warner, and at the turning point of the Republican brand as it were. But even then, the race was very tight, and arguably turned on backlash from his Republican opponent’s late attack ad. Subsequently, Kaine holds a 56% approval rating at last count, but his approval is highest in areas Obama would have to expect to do well in anyway to put Virginia into play, and is below 50% in the Shenendoah Valley. So I’m not sure that I really see much benefit locally to adding Kaine to the ticket.

It’s worth noting though that the shortlist seems to have coalesced around Kaine, Sebelius, Evan Bayh, and Joe Biden, to much hating. I’ll have more on that, the hating, later.