So, Tim Kaine
He wasn't my first choice. I wanted Elizabeth Warren. And my second choice was Tom Perez. Either of those would have sent some electricity through the Democratic coalition and made the convention a lot more exciting. Instead, it seems more like the Obama pick of Joe Biden who was known to progressives at the time as the Senator from MBNA but a safe choice for the first African American president trying to reassure certain folks by putting an experienced white male on the ticket. I'm guessing that after plenty of focus groups the same calculation was involved in this pick. If some of my older male friends are any example, this is especially meaningful to them. They seem to think she needs a lot of help because she's just been a "political wife" in their eyes. With Bill to consult and Kaine to "help" her they feel more confident.
I know. It's maddening. But they've said it to my face. And if older Democratic men feel that way, I'd guess that any hope of skimming a few anti-Trump suburban Republicans depended on it. So, that's my theory about why both of our last presidential candidates chose popular white male Senators to be their running mates.
Kaine himself seems to be very similar to Biden. Biden, also Catholic, was also personally pro-life but voted pro-choice. There are quite a few Catholic Democrats with that belief system including John Kerry, the 2004 nominee, so no special barrier has been broken here. And like Biden Kaine has a somewhat centrist history on banking and trade which is worrisome to progressives for whom these issues are their litmus tests. So, in these particulars Kaine isn't a particularly progressive choice.
But he's very good on war, civil liberties, gun proliferation, criminal justice, healthcare, civil rights, and immigration among other things. The fact that he speaks perfect Spanish, which he learned serving in Honduras, is meaningful to Latinos.
Clinton is trying to run as an experienced, competent, rational, decent mainstream leader of a team of experienced, competent, rational, decent mainstream public servants in contrast to Donald Trump the con artist who wants to blow up the world. I don't know that policy is even the point but to the extent it is they are running under the most progressive platform in history (thank you Bernie) which just shows how far the coalition has come since the day Al Gore chose Joe Lieberman, one of the most depressing days of my life.
I wish it could have been different, but understanding the considerations that impact the first woman nominee, it's fine.