Friday, January 20, 2006

Maybe Not the Best Idea

Tim Kaine will be providing the Democratic response to the SOTU. I have mixed feelings about this. And it isn't the kind of weird lefty mixed feelings Pandagon has when it says this:

Kaine ran an unnecessary gay-baiting campaign against an even-worse homo-bigot Jerry Kilgore in the Virginia governor’s race, and Kaine has pledged to sign off on an onerous marriage amendment that enshrines bigotry into the state’s constitution.

However, I’m willing to take the did-he-really-gay-bait-the-heinous-Kilgore issue off of the table, since it’s noise that will distract some people from the larger issue, which is what Kaine represents as the new face of the party. The gay residents of Virginia were stuck with two pro-marriage amendment choices for governor because it reflects the political lay of the land there. I feel for folks there.

Any gay Dem should be sick to their stomach at this pick. Kaine is just another Republican-lite clone from a Red state, and that’s where the Dem leadership has indicated it wants to move the party. We are on notice — homos are going to be tossed overboard — again — in search of the elusive win. They haven’t figured out that voters need and want to see a party that has values it actually believes in and is willing to defend — and they won’t get a dime from me with this bullsh*t.

HA! First this makes me chuckle profusely because it's wrong on so many levels. Kaine is a bit red on social issues, it's true, but he's never expressed hostility toward a lot of gay issues like gay adoption and only the thinnest against civil unions. That's pretty much mainstream in most of the Democratic party. Sure, he's gone against marriage, but how many Dems in Governor's mansions, Congress, or the Senate have actually come out politically in favor of Gay Marriage to the point of proposing legislation? I think I hear crickets chirping. Let's also not forget that on the issue of the Death Penalty, Kaine is decidedly liberal. And this of course ended up being the issue Jerry Kilgore tried to kill him on and ended up crucifying himself with when he did over-the-top attack ads. But that's neither here nor there.

Kaine is a great choice in a lot of respects. He's a decent speaker, he can think on his feet, and he comes with the whole package of being a former Catholic missionary and such. He'd be superb to blaze against Bush on any domestic issue, having massive experience in state and local government issues like health care, education, and other things that tend to be Democratic strengths. And he's pulled such things off in practice. That said, I highly doubt this SOTU is going to be about domestic issues. If the Dems can continue to think they can be a domestic issue only party, which the selection of Kaine suggests, they are going to get clobbered in 06 and 08. There's a fair chance Bush will talk a lot about Iraq, and he even might bring up the pressing security issue right now: Iran. All of which Kaine will have precisely zero to talk about. Maybe Kaine will be able to pull it off, but I've never seen him talk about Foreign Policy. He's definitely a domestic guy, with all state and local government experience, and a career as a criminal defense attorney. As a missionary he was international in some respects, but not in any security sense. So he has zero credit.

The Dems needed a real jack of all trades to respond to what may be a strong SOTU, especially someone strong on security who will be able to rebut and offer alternatives to those issues on Iraq and Iran. And that's not what Tim Kaine is.