July 31, 2008
Speculation is rampant these days, concerning the identities of the Vice-Presidential selections to be made by Barack Obama and John McCain. The late timing of the Democratic and Republican Conventions, both of which will take place after the Olympics, has apparently resulted in pressure to name VP selections before the Olympics begin on August 8 (lasting until August 24). The Democratic Convention does not begin until the day after the closing ceremony of the Olympics (August 25) and runs until August 28. Almost immediately thereafter, the Republican Convention begins on Labor Day (September 1) running until the 4th. Out of fear that a Vice-Presidential selection could be upstaged by the Olympics, both parties are expected to announce their candidates’ picks before August 8.
Since the Democratic Convention takes place before the Republican conclave, Barack Obama is expected to announce his choice first. Rumor has it that he will pick Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. Speculation has run against Kaine as the VP choice because he has been the Governor of Virginia for only two years and he has no experience in Washington, D.C. politics. These considerations, combined with Obama’s short history in the Senate, have dominated the discussions concerning Kaine’s presence on the ticket.
Nevertheless, as we dig deeper into Kaine’s background, we find plenty of good experience to qualify him for the Vice-Presidency and make him an attractive vote-magnet for the Democratic ticket. For starters, we have the “Southerner” factor. It is imperative for Obama to pick a Southerner as his running mate, if he expects to have a chance in Dixieland. Beyond that, Kaine has a history of being an “activist Christian”. This should have a favorable impact on Southern voters preoccupied with religious issues (i.e. about 95 percent of them). Although Kaine belongs to the “wrong” Christian religion for most Southerners (Roman Catholicism) he did take a year off from Harvard Law School to help the Jesuit order of priests and assist with their missionary work in Honduras. Digging deeper into that fact, we can expect to see some big appeal to Latin-American voters, an important voting bloc in the State of Florida.
On the issue of Kaine’s experience, we need to keep in mind that he is the Governor of Virginia, a state literally “next door” to our nation’s capitol. Although he has been the Governor for only two years, his previous job was that of Lieutenant Governor of his state. The role of a Lieutenant Governor is identical to that of the Vice-President: being the President of the Senate. As President of the Virginia Senate for four years, he had the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to be an effective President of the United States Senate. He previously served as the Mayor of Richmond, the state’s capitol city. He therefore does have some executive experience, although at the municipal level, as in the case of Rudy Giuliani.
As an alumnus of Harvard Law School, he has a bond with Obama and he has the credentials to demonstrate a significantly greater degree of concern for the rule of law, than that of our current VP, who, like his partner-in-crime, George W. Bush, never went to law school.
As Governor of Virginia, he gave the Democratic response to the State of the Union address, given by George W. Bush on January 21, 2006. His role as spokesman for the Democratic Party, to rebut Bush’s speech targeting (among other things) the now-defunct “Axis of Evil”, highlighted his prominence as a national figure in the Democratic Party at that point in his career.
His humble background is similar to that of Barack Obama. Tim Kaine is the son of a welder. The fact that he grew up in Missouri could help draw the interest of that state’s voters. His rise from a modest upbringing to Harvard Law School grad and on to government, makes him a kindred spirit to Obama.
Hillary Clinton’s fanatic supporters are now facing up to the fact that she will not appear in any capacity on the 2008 Democratic ticket. However, we may yet see some outrage when the stake is finally driven through the heart of her candidacy, with the announcement of Tim Kane as Obama’s Vice-Presidential choice.