Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Does Kaine Measure Up?

According to recent reports, Governor Tim Kaine has been in “very serious” talks with the Obama campaign as of late. Let’s just say they’re not sitting around doing each other’s nails and gossiping about the McCains.

The latest and greatest in the political rumor mill is that Kaine is at the top of Obama’s VP shortlist, along with Senators Evan Bayh and Joe Biden. I’ve been a Kaine fan since 2005 when he ran for Gov’na in Virginia and think he’s certainly worthy of consideration.

So what exactly does Kaine bring to the Obama campaign? I’ve measured him against my very basic VP litmus test. Let’s see how he does against these 5 key criteria. Here goes…

1) White? Check. Lord knows there’s a limit on the amount of “color” that Americans will permit on the presidential ticket. Hahaha. Seriously.
2) Reps swing state? Yes, M’am! Virginia is red with the (slight) potential to go blue in ‘08.
3) Political Centrist? Check. He’s moderate, Catholic and has no problem talking about his moral beliefs.
4) Executive Experience? Yes, but minimal. He’s only been Governor since January 2006. Prior to that, LG for four years and previously the mayor of Richmond. Let’s give a half-check.
5) Foreign Policy Experience? Nada.

So out of a possible 5 points, Kaine scored a 3.5. He passes (C-) but certainly not with flying colors. (Note: I have no doubt that Obama’s vetting process is much more extensive and involves a much more holistic method in determining his best possible political match.)

Although he has no foreign policy background, is a first-term governor and is certainly not a household name, Kaine brings southern white, working class voters to the table. What’s more, his freshness may play to Obama’s advantage in keeping consistent with his change agenda and out-of-the-beltway thinking.

Other Kaine bonuses: Came out for BO early in the game (first governor outside of Illinois to endorse his bid for the Democratic nomination); speaks fluent Spanish

The bottom line is that there is no perfect candidate – even Bayh and Biden fall short. Kaine may not be the best thing since sliced bread but he has a lot going for him.

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