Friday, February 11, 2011

Kaine for Senate?

Virginia Democrats are putting pressure on former Governor Tim Kaine to run for the US Senate.  Indeed many see Kaine as their only hope in keeping George Allen from reclaiming his former seat.   No doubt the White House is also calling Kaine urging him to run, and if President Obama asks him to do it I am not sure Kaine would be willing to say no.
The Democrat party in Virginia is in sad shape, so this pressure to draft Kaine is not so much a popular uprising in favor of him as it is Kaine by default.  Democrats have a weak bench; there are not many Democrats with statewide name recognition who can mount a credible challenge to Allen.  And in Kaine’s favor is the fact that he has been elected statewide twice, running two impressive campaigns, one for Lt. Governor in 2001 and for Governor in 2005. He has proven that he can get votes in every part of the commonwealth, he is a skilled campaigner, and he knows Virginia and her concerns.
But Kaine is not without baggage.  Since leaving office two years ago he has served as chairman of the Democrat National Committee.  In this position he has had to veer sharply to the left to please and represent Democrats nationwide.  He has also had to act as Obama's chief cheerleader, something that won't endear him to most Virginia voters. And as DNC Chairman, Kaine is on record in favor of every part of Obama's agenda, from the stimulus package to healthcare. While in the Senate Webb may have sided with Obama 80 percent of the time, but Kaine, as DNC Chairman, has sided with Obama 100 percent of the time.  In fairness to Kaine being the head of a party requires totally loyalty to the boss.
Also a Kaine candidacy will reopen questions about his record as Governor.  And it is not very good.  For starters he will have to explain how on his watch VDOT was claiming to be broke while in reality they were sitting on nearly a billion dollars in unspent money.  And while they were sitting on a billion dollars we were sitting in traffic. 
I am not sure if Kaine will run, but I expect a decision in a couple weeks.

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