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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Why It Didn't Take Me Long To Shake Off My Disappointment With The Tim Kaine Pick

Within seconds of the annoucement:

The following is upgraded from an exchange in the Moot with a long-time reader who was hoping for a bit more commiseration before jumping back into the fray in support of the imperfect Clinton/Kaine ticket... 

If you read my twitter feed or check in here periodically you will know already that Kaine was far from my own preference. As I have said repeatedly, I would have preferred a ticket that looked like America's future (the diversifying, secularizing, planetizing Obama coalition, a rainbow coalition of women and people of color and queers that grandmothers in charge like HRC should be a vibrant part of) rather than its dreary past (the same tired old straight white penis parade). Also Kaine is to HRC's right in a party and a nation going left and there is a practical case to be made that the generationally sound tack left for the general common wisdom is giving way to new electoral realities.

I dunno, I for one am spoiling for a fight with the GOP -- I am that paradoxical socialist who considered HRC a better tool among two imperfect available choices for such a fight -- but I think the Kaine choice was not about the election fight (he doesn't bolster her numbers demographically or geographically, except around the edges and with compensatory risks, so the usual calculations don't justify the pick as far as I can see) rather, I think the choice was about governing after the election for HRC and signals that she would rather turn down the heat than play Trump's game in Thunderdome. It's a sound choice, in some ways a rather encouraging one, even if it isn't based on quite my own read of the terrain.

I think the thing that reconciled me to Kaine more quickly than I otherwise would have done was the rather explosive and histrionic repudiation he received among so many of my usually congenial lefty allies (I don't mean you, I just happen to be confiding this to you because you asked the question), filled with silly immoderate misrepresentations and ungenerous omissions but also revealing, yet again -- as happened over and over again throughout what I had originally expected to be an uplifting primary for the organized left -- an embarrassing incapacity among too many who share my righteous indignation and ideal aspirations to understand the necessity of mobilizing a nationally viable partisan vehicle that is a coalition engaging in brutally frustrating social struggle in the service of progressive reforms and real-time problem solving among diverse stakeholders involving many losses and compromises.

Of course Kaine makes perfect sense as a VP choice, which is why I have been seriously steeling myself for HRC to pick him for well over a month. He has his strong points, he is likable and well-liked as a problem-solving mediator, his fluency in Spanish means someone near the top of the ticket can make a direct case to indispensable Spanish-speaking media (NB, this is not even remotely the same thing as claiming a white dude who speaks Spanish is no different from putting Castro or Perez on the ticket, a false and ugly and stupid claim that I am hearing nobody actually make but some people are attributing to the choice), he is a middle-of-the-road Democrat with his heart more or less in the right place and a more progressive voting record than the state he represents would seem to allow and yet he has never lost an election, he is very strong on gun safety politics that are a clear priority for HRC, and he looks to be rather like Biden (who didn't thrill me in '08 either, I'm not going to lie) as a governing partner to HRC, and she means to govern. There is plenty to like in all this, and of course the know-nothing greedhead bigot anti-fact death-cult GOP has picked an explicit authoritarian strongman to represent them so I can't say I have much in the way of sympathy for anybody pretending to the least sense or decency who wants to devote so much as a second to anything but defeating them utterly and decisively at a time like this.

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