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May 28th, 2017

Insight

A sad tale of disposable veeps

Wesley Pruden

By Wesley Pruden

Published July 26, 2016

A governor is always a good choice for a vice president. He (or she) has learned how to run an administration, how to work with a cranky legislature, and understands staying close to the people who elected him. There's no Praetorian guard to separate a governor from the people.

There's no excess of pomp and circumstance at a governor's mansion, and learning to know his place and stay in it is easily learned by a governor who becomes a vice president.

The two prospective veeps this year could have been delivered by Central Casting. Mike Pence and Tim Kaine look and sound like vice presidents, standing in the shadows of prospec­tive presidents who have demonstrated they neither need nor want help to cripple themselves. The two veeps look like they can swallow their instincts to say something when they see something wrongheaded at hand.

They both have legislative experience, Mr. Pence as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives before he became governor of Indiana, Sen. Kaine as governor of Virginia before he was elected to the U.S. Senate. Donald Trump, who most needs experience in playing the politics game, is likely to appreciate it least. Hillary can envy the Donald's experience in business, since collecting money, like Bubba's collecting women, is her main interest in the job she and the Donald seek. If she could collect $200 million in boodle as a former first lady selling only promises, the sky will be the limit as a president with more than mere promises to sell.

Sen. Kaine is already paying the price of running for higher office. He'll have to further hide his convictions as Hillary's running mate. There's no room in the Democratic Party for a man with the convictions he first took to politics.

Here's Tim Kaine in a transcript of a radio commercial in his successful race for governor: "I'm Tim Kaine, I'm running for governor and I'm not afraid to tell you where I stand. My opponent . . . has just come out with even more negative ads . . . I'm conservative on issues of personal responsibility. As a former Christian missionary, faith is central to my life. I oppose gay marriage, I support restrictions on abor­tion - no public funding and parental consent - and I've worked to pass a state law banning partial-birth abortion . . . [My opponent] played politics with abortion and as a result Virginia still has no ban. As governor, I'll always put principle over politics and you'll always know where I stand. That's who I am and what I believe. I'm Tim Kaine, candidate for governor and this ad was paid for by Kaine for Governor."

Eloquent words, right to the point and words to warm a patriot's heart. But that, alas, was then, and Hillary and her relentless crusade for cash is now.

Mr. Kaine was an unusual governor for Virginia, a yankee from Minnesota by way of Kansas City. He, like Mike Pence, is a born-again Roman Catholic who has lived his faith in unusual places. He demonstrated how "faith is central to my life." He joined a Jesuit mission to Honduras and returned to the United States with a deepened compassion for the wretched of the earth. He attends a mostly black Roman Catholic church in Richmond.

He got into Virginia politics at the top, with his marriage to Anne Holton, the daughter of Linwood Holton, who served as the Republican governor of Virginia in the early 1970s, and when he became the governor he and Mrs. Kaine, the second daughter of a governor to become a first lady (the first was Martha Jefferson Randolph) sent their children to newly desegregated schools near the governor's man­sion in Richmond.

Convictions were easier to keep as a gover­nor. As the mayor of Richmond before he became the governor, he supported the construction of a coal-fired electricity-generating plant in Wise County, and stood up to the history illit­erates to preserve the likeness of Robert E. Lee in a series of murals of distinguished Virginians on panels of floodwalls. He once even owned a gun. He's against capital punishment, but, as a governor upholding the law he presided over several executions. In all, not a man to please the fanatics who have made the Democratic Party impossible for even the yellow dogs to love.

Hillary, looking over the details of her internal polling, concluded that like it or not she needed help with working-class white men, who would be superfluous in the new feminist universe. But he would have to be housebroken. It's sad, but Tim Kaine was good while he lasted. He may one day wonder how a nice boy like himself wound up in a joint like this.

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

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