Hillary Clinton’s VP pick Tim Kaine made a strong impression in Miami on Saturday, not just on the crowd but also on the journalists covering the event:
Kaine brings down the house in Miami (Politico)
Holy Crap, Tim Kaine Just Killed It In His First Speech With Clinton (TheDailyBeast.com)
Also from the Daily Kos:
Kaine struck me as a very decent, good hearted man. As simplistic as it sounds, this election is shaping up to be a choice between those who make an effort to do good in the world and those who don’t (but are looking for someone to blame for the world’s problems).
To me, that is much more important than campaign issues like the TPP (which Kaine has supposedly been persuaded to oppose in his role as part of the ticket, even though he voted in favor of Obama’s request to negotiate the deal). If you’re a one-issue voter on that trade deal, Hillary’s conversion to opposing it probably didn’t convince you anyway. But this is much more than a one-issue election.
Besides, campaign promises and party platforms only count for so much. What a presidential administration is able to accomplish depends much more on the opportunities and threats that emerge after the election and the number of allies they have in Congress. I think you have to vote on the general direction and goals of the Democratic ticket, compared with the Republican ticket. Many speakers at the event echoed the message that this election will decide whether the next administration builds on the achievements of the Obama administration on issues like accessibility of healthcare or whether the nation will go in the exact opposite direction. Those who were wishing for Elizabeth Warren should remember that she can probably be more effective as an independent voice in the Senate (and probably had her own doubts about giving up that role). She and others like Sherrod Brown can play an important role in this campaign without the VP title. I believe they should, and they will because they recognize how important (and how dicey) this election is.
The day in Miami was more about Kaine than it was about Hillary. She spoke mostly to introduce him and talk about why he is a good choice, someone who could be president if called upon to do so. He in turn spoke about how grateful he was to be selected and about the values they share.
Part of the point of introducing him in Miami was that he speaks fluid Spanish, thanks to having spent a year volunteering with missionaries in Honduras as a young man. My Spanish is poor, so I had to read later about the significance of what he said. But I appreciated his point that the experience also exposed him to the danger of countries being run by dictatorial strongmen who make populist noises but do little practical good for the people. So he knows what he is up against.
Also as someone who has wondered whether Hillary can generate the necessary excitement to win this election, I found it heartening to see the the enthusiasm of the crowd as Clinton and Kaine took the stage.
This election is going to be scary close, but if enough of us take advantage of some of the opportunities to volunteer for the campaign and make a difference, I believe this absolutely should be a winning ticket.