Monday, August 25, 2008

Sen. Obama, Why Not Gov. Tim Kaine?

I understand Sen. Obama's purpose in picking Sen. Biden as his running mate: shore up some foreign policy "gravitas" (to the extent the sometimes bufoonish Sen. Biden and "gravitas" aren't mutually exclusive) by adding an experienced member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to the ticket. But, in picking a "pro-choice" Catholic, Obama has placed the abortion issue front and center, as noted by Deacon Keith Fournier in the editorial that I blogged about here.

That wouldn't have happened with Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. In fact, I believe Gov. Kaine could have helped Obama win the election for 3 reasons:

(1) Gov. Kaine would have actually HELPED Obama with the Catholic vote. In fact, he might have helped Obama WIN the Catholic vote. Gov. Kaine doesn't have the same problem that many other Catholic Democrats do because he doesn't have a "pro-choice" voting record for people like me to point to, and is arguably fairly pro-life. And, as far as that goes, unlike my decision to get involved in the "Catholics Against Rudy" and "Catholics Against Joe Biden" efforts, I would've declined the invitation to join a blog called "Catholics Against Tim Kaine". I just really don't find that much objectionable about him from a Catholic standpoint.

(2) Gov. Kaine could have helped Obama win Virginia. Many pundits are claiming that Virginia is "in play" this year, a contention about which I have my doubts. The Commonwealth was supposedly in play in 2004 (recall that the networks wouldn't even call Virginia until much later in the evening than they called states that Kerry won by only a few points), despite the fact that Bush won it by 8 points. However, I do believe Virginia will be closer than that this year, and Kaine may have been able to tip the scales toward Obama. At the very least, McCain would've had to expend major resources in a state that has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1952, with the exception of LBJ's landslide in 1964.

(3) An Obama-Kaine ticket would have retained Obama's biggest selling points: fresh faces; faith-oriented; new; different; change. Sure, McCain could have tried to beat them up on the experience issue with more "Not ready to lead" stuff. But deft politicians know how to turn that to their advantage, especially in a year in which voters are in a "throw the bums out" mood. Obama-Kaine REALLY would have had a claim to being a "new kind of politics" (not so much, Sen. Obama, but definitely, Gov. Kaine). With Sen. Biden, however, we get another tired, old Washington insider who offers little more than rhetoric (a propensity to "shoot from the lip") and ego ... and a "pro-choice" voting record that will get LOTS of play and keep the issue front and center.

Sen. Biden was a "safe" choice, unlikely to do any real damage (although the abortion issue could bite them), but also unlikely to light any fires. Sen. Obama could have really shaken things up by picking Gov. Kaine. Considering that the ONLY downside of lack of experience could be turned to his advantage by spinning it as a "fresh face" from outside the Beltway, coupled with the advantages of picking a "moderate" Southerner from a potential "swing" state who can make some claims to being a pro-life Catholic (and really meaning it), I believe Sen. Obama lost out on a big opportunity by not taking Gov. Kaine as his running mate.

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At 8/25/2008 11:41 AM, Blogger Jeff Miller said...

"Kaine told the Washington Post, during his 2001 campaign for Lt. Governor, that he "opposes efforts to restrict abortions" and that he "opposes efforts to require a parent's consent before a minor gets an abortion."

He sings a different song now, but probably because it helped him in Virginia. Democrats like some Republicans go wherever the wind blows. But Kaine is really untested on this issue.

At 8/25/2008 1:59 PM, Blogger James H said...

I guess I am having a hard time seeing why Governor Ridge is bad and Gov Kaine is alright on the issue of abortion

At 8/25/2008 2:12 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

You might want to read up on Ridge's Congressional record with respect to abortion. He was, in the House, what Sen. Specter is in the Senate - one of the most dependable Republican votes in favor of abortion.

Here's what John J. Miller wrote about him in 2000 when Bush was considering Ridge as a running mate:

The 54-year-old Republican governor of Pennsylvania has been unambiguously in favor of abortion rights throughout his political career, despite the fact that he’s Catholic (he attends weekly Mass) and that his views put him out of sync with most of his party, including Bush. He hasn’t always gone overboard to make amends, either. When a group of pro-lifers visited his congressional office in 1984, Ridge asked them starkly, “Does the government have a right to force a woman to be an incubator for nine months for another individual?” More recently, in 1998, the bishop in Ridge’s hometown of Erie, Pa., announced that pro-choice Catholic pols aren’t welcome at church-sponsored events. Bishop Donald Trautman didn’t specifically name Ridge, but everybody knew whom he was talking about. “It pains me to disagree with my faith community,” says the governor, whose kids go to Catholic school. “But it’s a very difficult, personal decision that belongs ultimately to the woman.”

The highlighted portion of that excerpt, alone, makes him a detestable individual unworthy of receiving any Catholic's vote. I cannot imagine Gov. Kaine EVER voicing a similar sentiment.

At 8/25/2008 2:49 PM, Blogger James H said...

Well Jay yes that statement is not great but I have a hard time seeing the difference between What Kaine what do and what Ridge would do

This was pointed out by Catholic Online the other day

EDITORIAL: Governor Kaine, On Abortion 'A Crime Can Never Be Turned into a Right

So Kaine might say it it more pleasing fashion it appears to me we are at the same place.

I have heard that Ridge is for a lot of restrictions on abortion. I have no idea if this site is correct but here is his views

Again I need to research each of those. I guess where does Kaine differ from the above views either pro- or con


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