I must admit that I wasn’t paying too much attention to the VP selection contest, and so when Clinton announced Tim Kaine as her VP pick, I didn’t know much about him. I know that people say he’s boring, or that he is too moderate. So I took some time today to investigate.
I might get some flak for this, but I have to say I like him and I think he is a very good choice. He is strongly principled without being an ideologue. He’s certainly an extremely likable person and wins the contest of the candidate with whom you would most like to have a beer, or even stretch it out to a long interesting dinner. He’s much more comfortable with himself while speaking than Clinton, which is good. He has humor and humility. I just feel like I can trust him, which is more than I can say for most politicians.
Tommy Vietor, a former Obama foreign-policy aide was also pleasantly surprised, tweeting:
I had no idea Kaine was this good. His bio is relatable but impressive, and he can deliver a tough hit on Trump while still being endearing.
And Michael Tomasky’s article about Kaine’s first campaign speech today starts with “Holy crap. He killed it.” and ends with:
Lots of people are going to like this guy. He’s a happy warrior who is clearly genuine about being of service to others and to community and country. He embodies what we all think is best about this country and what we hope still exists. It exists in Tim Kaine.
But don’t take it from me, watch his speech for yourself.
UPDATE: In the comments, a reader pointed out Jim Wright’s excellent article in Stonekettle Station about Clinton’s choice of Tim Kaine. He talks about Kaine’s achievements as mayor of Richmond:
Kaine turned Richmond around, he renovated schools in poor neighborhoods and built new ones, he gave tax breaks to projects that directly benefited the city and opposed tax increases that didn’t, he brought back business and jobs, and his policies reduced gun crimes by more than 55%. Under Kaine, Richmond went from poverty and crime to being named one of the 10 Best Cities in America to do Business by Forbes – and the key to all of that was Kaine’s commitment to and leadership on racial reconciliation.
Wright gives similar examples about Kaine as governor of and senator for Virginia. Go read it.
UPDATE 2: Electoral Vote has some things to say about Tim Kaine. Not all of them positive, but their usual unflinching hard look, both pro and con.
Also published on Medium.