Boston Globe on Vice President Kaine.

The Boston Globe is pitching Gov. Kaine as a veep contender. I’ll need to write about Virginia’s VP candidates in greater detail, but I just want to call up that I think Kaine would be a terrible political choice for Barack Obama’s running mate. Obviously, I have nothing against Kaine–I think he’s doing a fine job as governor, and I think he’d make a fine vice president (for what that’s worth). But his lack of military service and foreign policy experience add nothing to the ticket that needs adding, while his opposition to abortion would surely be problematic for the base. Kaine is from the south, but he’s not of the south, or at least he’s not perceived as such. Obama simply has better choices than Kaine, Jim Webb chief among them.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

16 replies on “Boston Globe on Vice President Kaine.”

  1. I think Kaine would be a very weak choice in terms of persona, but Kaine has developed a very powerful organization in-state. The Kaine pick would put a cherry on Obama’s surging poll numbers in the Old Dominion.

    But that’s about all I can say in favor. I agree that thematically, politically, and tactically, Webb is a much more audacious and far superior pick.

    Moreover, the prospect of elevating Bill Bolling just has to give every Democrat the heebie jeebies, especially considering the turmoil we’re heading for in 2009. No. If it’s got to be somebody send Webb, fill his seat with Deeds or Moran and let the other face McDonnell.

    Oh, and don’t forget Warner. After Gilmore’s squeaker nomination, the RPV appears in such pitiful disarray that a one-legged penguin with a rainbow colored D on its chest might could have a chance at winning that senate seat.

  2. I really don’t get why people are so gung-ho about Webb. I understand that he’s perceived as new on the scene, he’s got a strong military background, and he’s from Virginia, which we want to go blue this fall. However, he’s reasonably conservative, he wrote that infamous article about women in the military, and he has an approval rating of 49% in Virginia compared to an average of 53% for state senators nationwide [SUSA, as of 2007-11-20]. All of this adds up to not being strong draw for the base (to the point where I think we’d lose people who’re currently on board today), and not being a strong draw in Virginia. Furthermore, it’d mean giving up a senate seat which would most likely go to a Republican (though I’d love to be wrong on that one).

    I wasn’t impressed with Webb during his campaign, his time in office has been a mixed bag (which is still infinitely better than Allen would’ve been), and I think he’d be a disastrous VP pick. If someone can show me why I’m wrong, please do.

  3. Kaine has nothing to run on. I don’t think he’s strong enough to carry Virginia (though the Warner coattails might help) but he doesn’t bring anything to the table that Obama needs.

    Warner is too strong a senate candidate to pull away, so he’s a bad choice.

    Webb might have trouble rectifying his “affirmative actions hurts the Scotch/Irish” stance with Obama’s appeal. There’s a lot of Webb baggage that Virginians were willing to look over that seem to hurt him nationwide.

  4. Waldo,
    Handicap the race for this Georgian. Assuming VP’s do not make a difference, what are the odds Obama carries Virginia? l’m not so much looking for polls and trends, more for a gut instinct from someone in the know.

    As for GA, Bob Barr’s candidacy, along with huge numbers in black voter registration, might make this race close. And the idea of a close race in GA is very exciting.

    And I really like Jim Webb but he seems to have some pretty strong negatives. I’m on the James Jones bandwagon, though all I know about him is from Wiki.

  5. Handicap the race for this Georgian. Assuming VP’s do not make a difference, what are the odds Obama carries Virginia?

    I’m of two very different minds on this race. On the one hand, Gore and Kerry both lost the state soundly, by 7% and 8%, respectively, so no trend has been established. On the other hand, the Democratic Party of Virginia is very much in ascendency while the Republican Party of Virginia is very much in its descent. Virginia Democrats are regaining seats in the General Assembly in every election cycle, have controlled the governor’s seat for two terms now, recently regained the senate, and will almost certainly take the house next year. More helpful still is that Gov. Mark Warner is our nominee for the U.S. Senate. Warner is certain to win the race for the seat (currently held by Sen. John Warner), and he’ll have some pretty serious coattails that are good for at least a few points for Obama.

    I do have to provide the caveat that Virginia is, politically, a strange state — we’ll happily support one party for state offices while simultaneously support another party for federal offices.

    Now, I’m not smart enough to be able to give you actual odds here — if I gave you any numbers, I’d just be making them up. But I can say that the stars are aligning in a way that I think puts Virginia very much in play. Both Obama and McCain’s camps agree, as both of them also believe that Virginia is up for grabs, and intend to act accordingly. Obviously, saying that “it’s in play” is not the same as saying “Obama will carry Virginia.” But I can say that Obama can carry Virginia, and that’s not something that could viably have been said of a Democratic candidate in Virginia for some years.

    And I really like Jim Webb but he seems to have some pretty strong negatives. I’m on the James Jones bandwagon, though all I know about him is from Wiki.

    There are two negatives that I’ve seen lobbed at Jim Webb:

    1. He’s not just from the south, he’s of the south. This is bullshit. This is like people who object to Barack Obama because his skin isn’t just black, but he acts black. (Yes, these people exist — they were on full display during the West Virginia primaries.) If past is prologue, we need a southerner on the ticket, and that means more than just being from the south.

    2. He opposed women in combat roles in the military in the 1970s. Yes, well, that was the 1970s. He maintains still that it was a bad idea then, but it’s not a bad idea now. Much as don’t ask, don’t tell was necessary in the 1990s, but soon enough it will no longer be, and that policy will disappear. If this position of his was going to be a drag on him, it would have been in his drag-out, knock-down election battle with George Allen. (Allen had to win that election to be viable for the presidency, so he put everything into it.) Webb won that battle, and his position on women in the military had no effect on him whatsoever. And we’re a big military state.

    I have never heard the name James Jones in my life, at least not in a political context. Googling him, I find a dead novelist, a 64-year-old military guy with no apparent political experience, and a 69-year-old from Oklahoma who left congress two decades ago. Presumably I’m overlooking someone. :)

  6. Well, the third criticism that has been lobbed (and should receive higher billing in most discussions, I think) is that Webb’s own track record on matters of judgment isn’t as solid as I think we’d like in someone who may well end up occupying the White House. Webb previously supported Allen (who was no less ridiculous in 2000 than he was in 2006), got rolled on FISA just last year, and doesn’t seem to take the laws of DC too seriously (see, e.g., his fun with guns). Obama could do better. We could do better.

  7. Go west. Brian Schweitzer. Bill Richardson (tho’ I’m not a fan). I’d like to see Sebelius in public action a bit more, to see if that SotU response was representative. Also a fan of Clark, but that’s probably moving into the realm of the improbable.

    (The last two Dem tickets had a southern white man with military experience on the ticket. Worked out well, no? I don’t buy into that requirement.)

  8. What southern white man with military experience was on the Dem ticket in ’04?

    BTW, Webb would be a great choice for Obama.

  9. You got me, Publius. I was adding Kerry’s military experience with Edwards’ southern status. I forget how picky y’all can be in how quotas are filled.

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