President Obama will be sitting down with Tim Kaine to talk about a Senate run today or tomorrow, if he has not done so already, according to the RTD.
It sounds to me, however, as if this story is really saying that if the President asks him to do it, Kaine will throw his hat into the proverbial ring. For one thing, Kaine gave the story to the RTD – why do that unless you are setting the stage to explain why you changed you mind?
Also, according to the RTD:
The former governor said he was “flattered” by the interest and support shown for him running for office, but said he needs to have additional discussions on the matter before making a decision.
Again, the words of a man getting ready to publicly explain why he changed his mind.
I have very mixed feelings about this.
(more on the flip)
On the one hand, I don’t have the same hostility toward Kaine that some in the Progressive Netroots seem to have, but the fact is that he not an ideal Progressive from my perspective. He says, for example, that he is pro-life, so NLS raises a good point – how would he vote on an anti-choice nominee to the Supreme Court? Kaine ought to answer this important question.
Then there is Kaine’s spotty record as governor.
Still, he is far superior than any possible Republican nominee – right now, Allen is the favorite — so when push comes to shove I will have no problem getting enthusiastically behind his candidacy. However, this says more about how bad the GOP candidates are than how good a choice Kaine is.
As for a Netroots-fueled Perriello insurgency, I just don’t see Perriello throwing his hat in the ring if Obama and Kaine are on board with a Kaine candidacy. Whether you are happy or sad about that prospect, I think that is reality.
That said, I am not convinced that Kaine is necessarily a better candidate than Perriello for this race. While current polls show Kaine doing better than any other Democrat against Allen, this means only that if the election were being held today, Kaine would be the better candidate.
But as an old basketball coach of mine used to say, if you want to know who the best players are, don’t look at who starts the game, look at who finishes it.
This election will not be held for almost 21 months. As a candidate and Congressman from the 5th District, Perriello has demonstrated that, if nothing else, he is able to exceed, and even confound, electoral expectations.
Last, but not least, I am slightly queasy over the sense that Kaine is being thrust upon us by a combination of conventional wisdom and the power of a group of self-appointed, insider power brokers who really could give a rat’s behind about what I, in particular, or the Netroots, in general, think. Indeed, Warner, Moran, Kaine, et al., are depending upon people like me who will support whoever the Democrat is that they choose because I would inevitably see the Republican as 100 times worse.
As this post shows, of course, they are right, but only up to a point. I hope – for his sake, for the sake of Virginia Democrats and for the sake of Virginia and America – that Tim Kaine takes the opportunity to reach out to the Progressive Netroots in a positive manner that will not only help Kaine’s candidacy, but also acknowledge and further the legitimate institutional interests of the Netroots as a political force in the Commonwealth.
That would be far better and more productive than a relationship based on the old Middle Eastern saying of the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
The former is a long-term strategy for creating a working Democratic and Progressive majority for a generation, so we can really move this Commonwealth and this country forward and fulfill the promise of our founding fathers and the work of their spiritual and philosophical heirs, Lincoln, FDR and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The latter is, at best, a short-term tactic that might work to win a particular election.