There might be 99 good reasons to choose Tim Kaine as the running mate on a Democratic ticket, but …. is this one of them? Faced with a supposed cornucopia of “historic” choices, Hillary Clinton chose Kaine because of her “responsibility gene,” about which more in a moment. But the New York Times’ political team reports that the real reason for choosing Kaine had most to do with a large polling gap among white males:
Mrs. Clinton had entertained more daring choices. She considered Thomas E. Perez, the secretary of labor, who would have been the first Hispanic on a major party ticket; Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, who would have been the first African-American to seek the vice presidency; and James G. Stavridis, a retired four-star Navy admiral who served as the supreme allied commander at NATO but had never held elected office.
Ultimately, Mrs. Clinton, who told PBS that she was “afflicted with the responsibility gene,” avoided taking a chance with a less experienced vice-presidential candidate and declined to push the historic nature of her candidacy by adding another woman or a minority to the ticket.
Instead, the campaign, which had become concerned about its deficit with white men, focused on Mr. Kaine and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and looked more closely at Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado.
If Hillary has an issue with white males (and polling suggests she does have a large one at the moment), it’s not because of the lack of a Y chromosome at the bottom of the ticket. It would have to do more with the specific woman at the top of it, especially given her astounding negatives in favorability. While one could argue that selecting someone other than a white male might have aggravated that situation, it’s almost certain that selecting Kaine won’t appreciably improve it either, because it does nothing to address the underlying issue that created the problem … Hillary herself.
Besides, if that’s all Hillary wanted to do, she could have chosen Joe Manchin as her running mate. He’s also a former governor and current Senator, one with a lot more credibility both as a moderate and more man’s-man charisma. Manchin once fired a rifle through an Obama administration proposal for a carbon-trading scheme, but has generally been a pretty good surrogate for the White House ever since.
So why did she pick Kaine? She needs to win in Virginia — and as Mark Warner’s near-disaster in 2014 showed, she can’t take it for granted. Virginia’s 13 Electoral College votes outweigh Colorado’s nine, Iowa’s six, or West Virginia’s five. As I wrote in my book Going Red, Virginia is a key battleground and Kaine can help cement it — and perhaps even help a bit in neighboring North Carolina.
As for the “responsibility gene,” that seems rather rich after having been exposed as a serial liar by James Comey at the end of the FBI investigation into her e-mail server. She still hasn’t taken responsibility for a long string of lies on that point, nor for the lies she told about the Benghazi attack four years ago. In fact, Hillary insisted shortly afterward that taking responsibility didn’t really matter much:
Speaking of responsibility, though, the State Department just laid some more on Hillary’s shoulders for mishandling classified information:
Hillary Clinton exchanged nearly two-dozen top secret emails from her private server with three senior aides, the State Department revealed in documents released to VICE News late Friday.
The 22 emails were sent and received by Clinton in 2011 and 2012. Clinton discussed classified information with her deputy chief of staff, Jacob Sullivan, her chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and Deputy Secretary of State William Burns. A majority of the top secret emails are email chains between Sullivan and Clinton.
This is the first time the State Department has revealed the identities of the officials who exchanged classified information with Clinton through her private email server.
The new disclosure by the State Department comes three days before the Democratic National Convention kicks off in Philadelphia, where Clinton will formally accept her party’s nomination for president, and minutes before Clinton announced her vice presidential pick, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia.
Don’t expect this to deflect her path to the nomination. This also came out in the FBI report, and Comey specifically mentioned it in his statement. The news is that the State Department has also been forced to acknowledge it after spending more than a year trying to deflect the question.