Obama and citizen Kaine

Jim Geraghty:

It doesn't surprise me that Team Obama is looking at Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, although I think the Washington Post is making a bit too much out of their inquiries to Kaine, putting it on the front page and declaring the talks "serious."

Kaine is that rare selection who may very well help his party's nominee carry his home state and yet simultaneously be a terrible choice.

If the nominee faces questions about experience, having served about three and a half years in statewide office, Kaine has been governor for about two and a half years. It would be the most astonishingly inexperienced pair to hit Washington in modern history. Carter at least had Walter Mondale, who had been a senator for twelve years, and Clinton and Gore look like seasoned old pros by comparison.

We would probably hear about how Kaine's missionary work in Honduras as a younger man was some sort of useful foreign policy experience, much as Obama cites his living abroad from age six to age ten. But I doubt that many Americans look at Kaine and his experience and exclaim, "there's a man who's ready to be commander-in-chief." Kaine would reinforce all of the doubts about Obama, instead of dispelling them.

He's a pleasant enough guy, and his approval rating is relatively high, but his limited record echoes a lot of the conventional wisdom on Obama - some talent, needs seasoning. His one time in the national spotlight was his delivery of the Democratic response to the State of the Union in 2006, and the response was underwhelming.

Gov. Tim Kaine didn't look or sound much like himself during his debut on the national stage after the president's State of the Union address. The governor, usually a confident and graceful speaker who ad libs with impressive control and sweep, seemed nervous and spoke painfully slowly at first... The governor, standing in front of a fireplace in the Executive Mansion in Richmond, kept promising that the Dems have "a better way," but only rarely did he say what that way is, other than a vague utopia in which both sides work together.

(Okay, "vague utopia" rhetoric fits Obama's campaign perfectly.)


Kaine has never struck me as a dynamic candidate. He is pretty much a low key guy who is unlikely to make much of a splash outside his own state. He is certainly not going to generate the buzz of some of the other potential candidates.


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