Will Hillary's Choice Of Kaine As Running Mate Push Progressive Voters Towards Jill Stein?
Do you agree with Trump about anything? Even when he gets something right-- TPP for example-- his objections are not credible and invariably for all the wrong reasons. Well, he's wrong about Hillary too-- no matter what he says... and he's said everything! In terms of the election, all anyone really has to know is that however bad she is-- even after filtering out all the GOP/Hate Talk Radio slander and nonsense-- she is in all ways and on any day the far, far lesser evil than he is on his best day. There are some pros and some cons about a Hillary Clinton presidency. The only case to be made for a Trump presidency is apocalyptic... if that's your cup of tea.
She just selected Tim Kaine as her running mate-- this seems like too big a decision for any one person, especially when we're talking about people like Trump, but her too-- which has been a foregone conclusion all week. There was never a moment I thought it would be someone any better than she is. In my mind it would always be someone catering to the worst aspects of the wing of the Democratic Party that has more in common with Eisenhower Republicans than with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Democrats-- the Clinton wing. I was surprised yesterday when Markos wrote at Daily Kos, of late very much a mouthpiece for that wing of the party, that Hillary would lose ground with the base by picking a corporate centrist. He singled out Vilsack and Kaine; I' would have included Cory Booker and Julian Castro. Markos wrote than neither Kaine, who he deems particularly crappy, nor Vilsack is "palatable." Palatable to who? To the base? The base is as low-info as the Republican base... two-digit IQ morons who have saddled us with two miserable candidates the country seems to hate. The base can be persuaded. Or does he mean the activists and progressives who once, quite some time ago, alas, animated his then-revolutionary website? They want impossible dreams like Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown or Bernie. That's never been in the cards, Hillary has less in common with them than she does with Susan Collins or Rob Portman.
The perfect compromise between a candidate springing from her own Republican-lite instincts and those of the progressive wing of the party, would have been Labor Secretary Tom Perez. He's not Elizabeth Warren and he's not Bernie but you don't have to twist the meaning of the word "Democrat" to get that he is one. Tim Kaine should never be president for a wide array of reasons, starting with his fealty to Wall Street, to fracking and to the kinds of trade agreements just about everyone in America short of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell (and Tim Kaine) now understands have been catastrophic. He has all of Clinton's policy flaws-- and more-- and none of her hard to discount saving graces. Kaine may well negate all the positive feelings Democrats who watched Trump's Hate Fest this week have allowed themselves to harbor about her. Markos seemed to be optimistic that Hillary was still going to "make the right call." I hoped he was right and that I was wrong. It's happened before. But not this time.
Jodi Jacobson at Rewire seemed as concerned and disturbed about the prospect of the Clinton's giving the slot to Kaine as we are. "The selection of Kaine," she wrote, "would be the first signal that Clinton intends to seek progressive votes but ignore progressive values and goals, likely at her peril, and ours."
Standing up for progressive principles is not so hard, if you actually believe in them. Senator Elizabeth Warren is a progressive who actually gets shit done, like the creation against all odds in 2011 of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, perhaps the single most important progressive achievement of the past 20 years. Among other things, the CFPB shields consumers from the excesses of mortgage lenders, student loan servicers, and credit card companies that have caused so much economic chaos in the past decade. So unless you are more interested in protecting the status quo than addressing the root causes of the many problems we now face, a progressive politician would want a strong progressive running mate.Of course for those perfectly comfortable with going along with the lesser of two evils scenario that the two Beltway political parties insist defines democracy now... well Tim Kaine is, arguably, far better than that walking freak show from Indiana (no, not Evan Bayh, the one... with the white hair... Mike Pence). As horrified as I was by the Cleveland Hate Fest and Trump's rantings and ravings-- and the overwhelming evil he and his horrid family-- sorry Chris Matthews-- represent, I will never vote based on who the lesser of two evils is. And if my resolve was weakening while I watched the GOP's deranged convention speakers and their hate-filled, ugly white audience, it just took a little focus back on Hillary-- and her announcement of Kaine half an hour ago-- to re-strengthen that resolve once again.
By choosing Tim Kaine as her vice president, Clinton will signal that she values progressives in name and vote only.
As Zach Carter wrote in the Huffington Post, Kaine is setting himself up as a figure willing to do battle with the progressive wing of the party. Kaine is in favor of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement largely negotiated in secret and by corporate lobbyists. Both Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose voters Clinton needs to win over, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren oppose the TPP because, in Warren’s words, it “would tilt the playing field even more in favor of a big multinational corporations and against working families.”
The progressive agenda includes strong emphasis on effective systems of governance and oversight of banks and financial institutions-- the actors responsible, as a result of deregulation, for the major financial crises of the past 16 years, costing the United States trillions of dollars and gutting the financial security of many middle-class and low-income people.
...[A]s governor of Virginia, Kaine supported restrictions on abortion, such as Virginia’s parental consent law and a so-called informed consent law, which in 2008 he claimed gave “women information about a whole series of things, the health consequences, et cetera, and information about adoption.” In truth, the information such laws mandate giving out is often “irrelevant or misleading,” according to the the Guttmacher Institute. In other words, like many others who let ideology rather than public health guide their policy decisions, Kaine put in place policies that are not supported by the evidence and make it more difficult for women to gain access to abortion, steps he has not denounced. This is unacceptable. The very last thing we need is another person in the White House who further stigmatizes abortion, though it must be said Clinton herself seems chronically unable to speak about abortion without euphemism.
While there are many other reasons a Kaine pick would signal a less-than-secure and values-driven Clinton presidency, the fact also stands that he is a white male insider at a time when the rising electorate is decidedly not white and quite clearly looking for strong leadership and meaningful change. Kaine is not the change we seek.