…but Kaine has Little Hope for VP

The other day I suggested that Tim Kaine has to get the VP nod to keep his political career on track.  Lack of a strong record and a lack of viable electoral options-both state and federal-vastly limit his options.

There are those who think TheGov hangs the moon.  Comments the other day ranged from “I love Tim” to “shoot the messenger” to pure ad you h attacks. However, I think the facts lean against Brother Tim.

A VP candidate is selected to balance the ticket and/or not to be a drag. VP-nominees have met varied criteria, including:

A) Pull in a critical state or region (LBJ in 1960), OR
B) Experience to cover a lack of federal or international experience (Mondale 1976, Gore 1992, Cheney 2000), OR
C) Ideological balance that makes a party faction happy (Dole 1976, Bush 1980), OR
D) A candidate that does not bring anything to the ticket except they don’t detract from the nominee (Agnew 1968)
E) A surprise selection to rock the boat and hopefully change the election landscape (Ferraro 1984)
F) Solely to tick off the opposition presidential nominee (Miller 1964)
G) A combination (Bentsen 1988-federal experience and geography)

I don’t see where a Kaine selection is the best choice in this regard to elect Obama:

A) Pull in a critical state or region: Kaine has not emerged as a regional leader either in the Mid-Atlantic or in the South. Many believe he will  ensure Obama carries Virginia; I am not convinced that is true, and second if the only state Obama flips from 2004 is Virginia then he still loses. Kaine does not clearly offer the tools to pull other states.  If he is looking for a Virginia Democrat who more surely does this, then I think the name is Webb, not Kaine.
B) Experience to cover a lack of federal or international experience: Does not fill the bill…and Webb pops up again.
C) Ideological balance that makes a party faction happy: Kaine has managed to create a record that is not clearly identified with the liberals, the conservatives, or the progressives…not to mention the netroots. Does nto fill the bill.
D) A candidate that does not bring anything to the ticket except they don’t detract from the nominee: OK, Maybe
E) A surprise selection to rock the boat and hopefully change the election landscape: Does not apply.
F) Solely to tick off the opposition presidential nominee: Does not fill the bill
G) A combination: OK, maybe…geography AND does not rock the boat…maybe.

Then there is that little matter that the Lt.Gov is GOP, and that Kaine’s elevation to VP flips the Virginia governor mansion.  Does Obama want or need Kaine on the ticket so badly as to allow that to happen?

My prediction:

1. Kaine does not get the VP slot, nor does the get a 2008 cabinet slot.  He does not inspire across the board, he does not clearly fit one of the above categories, and Obama will not want to hand the Virginia governor’s mansion to the GOP.

2. Kaine gets DNC Chairman, not unlike Gilmore got the RNC position after the 2000 elections.  Then, if the Dems hold the Virginia governorship in 2009, Kaine goes on the short list to fill a cabinet position as opening occur.

There is lots of time between now and the convention, but right now an objective reading of the tea leaves are not looking good for Tim Kaine getting on the Obama train in 2008.

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6 thoughts on “…but Kaine has Little Hope for VP

  1. Re D): A lot of people forget that, at the time that Nixon picked him, Gov. Agnew had a fairly liberal reputation. He had first endorsed NY Gov. Nelson Rockefeller for president; in 1966, Agnew had defeated a conservative Democrat who made opposition to open housing the centerpiece of his campaign (“Your Home Is Your Castle”).

    The runnerup for Nixon’s VP in ’68, incidentally, was Gov. John Volpe of Massachusetts, who became transportation secretary.

    I searched your blog for commentary on Jim Gilmore barely winning the GOP nomination but found none.

  2. Vershtannen on Agnew, but the stuff I have read suggests that Nixon did not feel that in 1968 any candidate really aided him, so he searched for that VP-candidate that would do him the least damage in the general election.

    As far as the Gilmore-Marshall set to, I left that to others who attended the convention to comment…

  3. I can’t imagine Kaine heading up the DNC. Dean was hand-chosen by the left-wing elements and those online, and has paid off well for them. I can’t imagine Kaine generating the same kind of excitement at all, or receiving popular support within the party.

    There *may* be a Cabinet position open for Kaine in 2010 or beyond, but really, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this is the end of Kaine’s political career, especially since he’s unlikely to leave with any sort of lasting legacy.

  4. There is yet another model for the vice-presidential slot that you missed: the life-insurance policy. This type of nominee could either be a complete total lightweight who is decidely unqualified to be President, or someone whose record and/or ideology so frighten the opposition party that it neutralizes the possibility of an assassination attempt against the President — for fear that his successor would be “worse”. The closest two examples I can think of are Dan Quayle (1988) and Dick Cheney. Quayle more for the former reason (he was a political and intellectual lightweight), Cheney for the latter.

  5. Pingback: Once Again, Bwana Calls It… « Renaissance Ruminations

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