Tuesday, July 29, 2008


So the Washington Post is reporting today that Kaine is on Obama's short list... and Bill Kristol is suggesting it as well. As readers may know, I was strongly behind Mark Warner as a potential VP, but I think Kaine would do good as well. Kaine, like Warner, is a centrist Democrat from Virginia with a strong focus on bread and butter issues: balancing the budget, improving transportation, and investing in education. Neither are afraid to stand up to the Republican rank and file who cannot countenance any taxes (I say "rank and file" because the Republican leadership actually agreed with the Warner administration when they raised taxes). But neither pursue "pie in the sky" Democratic platforms like universal health care or same-sex marriage either. And that's not to say that I like taxes, or that I oppose same sex marriage - it's just to say that Warner and Kaine (and Webb, for that matter) take a "first thing's first" approach that is very refreshing.

As most of you probably know, Warner is set to destroy former Republican Governor Jim Gilmore in the race for John Warner's Senate seat. I eventually came around to the logic that a sure-thing Webb-Warner Senate delegation was probably better for Virginians than a toss-up VP bid. Since I've resigned myself to that logic, I'm like this Kaine idea more and more. I honestly don't think Kaine is the "strongest" VP. In many ways someone like Biden would probably be more appropriate. But he is a good leader who brings an "outside the Beltway" perspective. Moreover, I think he could be a much more forceful, charismatic leader like Warner or Webb if he had the chance - and this may be that chance. The excitment around an all-Democratic Virginia Senate delegation and a Virginian working in the White House would be overwhelming. Virginia is already leaning towards Obama in a way that they haven't for any Democratic presidential candidate for decades. I think an Obama-Kaine ticket would push it over the top.
Kaine also appeared at the Brookings Institution's "Hamilton Project" last Friday, at an event I really wanted to attend, but couldn't. The forum was on investment in infrastructure, from "bridges to broadband". I haven't listened to the recording of Kaine's talk yet, but it's encouraging to see him on a national stage with such luminaries as Larry Summers and Robert Rubin.
So who knows - we may see another Virginia Triumvirate in Washington again! I have no illusions that Kaine would have been as strong of a match as Warner or Webb in electoral terms, but I think he would be a brilliant addition to the Obama administration nonetheless. And if the Democrats take Congress this Fall (which they oughta), I can assure you that Warner and Webb will be front and center, pushing Obama's agenda through the Senate.

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