Via the Free Beacon, which notes correctly that this isn’t the first time a “Morning Joe” segment has come up empty when pondering Her Majesty’s qualifications. You’d think that a guy who ostentatiously endorsed her over the weekend and who’s clearly eager to be on her shortlist for VP would come better prepared to discuss the elephant in the room. But then, what could he say, realistically? Asking someone to discuss Hillary’s policy achievements is like asking someone to discuss the dramatic strengths of “The Walking Dead.” You can “prepare” all you want; there’s simply no good answer to be had.
Emphasis on “good answer.” There are no less than three bad answers to the question Mika’s asking about Hillary’s message. Answer one: Her message is that Republicans are racists who hate the poor and must be stopped. That will, in fact, be a core plank of Hillary’s campaign — anyone but the GOP! — but it’s a bad answer when you’re being asked, as Kaine is, why you support one Democrat over another. Answer two: Her message is that it’s about time we had a woman president and she’s the most famous woman in American politics, so QED. That idea accounts for roughly 75 percent of what’s motivating Hillary fans these days, I’d guess, but it never seems so lame and shallow as when it’s offered in reply to a question about qualifications. Kaine did mention it right up front in his op-ed about Hillary this weekend — points for honesty at least — but it would seem ridiculous offered here in response to Mika’s dissatisfaction.
Answer three: She’s running for a third Clinton term (and/or, if Obama’s job approval rebounds before 2016, a third Obama term too). What makes that answer bad is, well, this.
Every election is a “change” election. What Hillary has going for her is that Bill Clinton is sufficiently well liked and fondly remembered for economic growth that she might be able to turn 2016 into a “change back” race, i.e. America should revert to Clintonism. (It’d be especially easy to run on that if the GOP is running its own de facto “change back” campaign by nominating Jeb Bush.) But that too would feel ridiculous if Kaine floated it as a serious qualification: The first woman president will hopefully get elected for something more substantial than the nostalgia she evokes for the administration of her husband. Kaine has no choice but to babble about her experience, even though there’s zero “message” in that.
Exit question: Is it even true on its own terms that Clinton is the most experienced big-name politician that Democrats have? John Kerry spent nearly 30 years in the Senate, managed a presidential campaign that fell one state short, and has already set a far bolder agenda as Secretary of State than Hillary did.