life of an understudy isn’t glamorous and in
politics, the vice presidency is the ultimate
understudy gig. But
as we political junkies sit here, deep in the
swampy, summer funk, speculating on who will be
given the understudy’s role on both presidential
tickets is just about the only interesting
diversion we have until the fall.
let’s amble over to the shade and spin webs for
Democrat who has generated a steady buzz over the
last few months is our own Gov. Tim Kaine. It’s
no secret to Virginians that Kaine was an early
Obama adopter. He’s campaigned for the guy,
helped him raise money, made the television rounds
– the kind of activity one normally doesn’t
associate with a disinterested pol.
governor says he doesn’t want the job,
preferring instead to wait for VCU president
Eugene Trani to leave the stage and take the top
role at the fast-growing school for himself. It
would be a passable fit – university presidents
spend most of their time fundraising and Kaine is
a pro at that. Plus, it would mean he could stay
in Richmond, his home, and remain a force in local
affairs… perhaps even one day returning to city
hall as mayor (but this time, as one elected by
the people, not the city council).
that would be a fine life.
recently, the winds have been blowing more
strongly in favor of a Kaine candidacy. Jim Webb
pulled his name out of consideration. Mark Warner
has his eyes on a Senate launching pad for bigger
Virginia is in play, the biggest names have bowed out,
leaving Kaine as the one who could turn the purple
Dominion blue and give the Obama campaign the
veneer of executive experience it sorely lacks.
not forget that over the weekend, the New York
Kaine’s name alongside some big leaguers like
Sam Nunn and Joe Biden as a possible VP choice.
The paper reasoned that such a pick would
“present an image of youth and excitement, which
some Democrats have already compared to the
Clinton-Gore ticket of 1992."
like Stevenson-Kefauver, but no matter, the Q
scores would be through the roof!
let’s run with this… after a bit of
arm-twisting, Obama picks Kaine as his running
mate. What would happen to those of us left
one, Obama must somehow convince people that Kaine
is the best choice. He’s young. He’s exciting.
He walloped some guy named Jerry Kilgore. He can
put Virginia and its electoral votes in our
Mark Warner, who owes his political restoration to
a gaggle of weak-kneed Republican legislators,
Kaine has little to show for his time in office.
said he wouldn’t raise taxes. But changed his
mind less than a week into his term.
pummeled Republicans who wouldn’t go along with
his scheme to “rescue” the state’s
transportation system, running what amounted to a
permanent campaign against those who stood in his
of course, only managed to irritate them.
kept swinging on transportation and new taxes,
barnstorming the state to gin-up support for his
even called a special session to focus legislative
attention on the matter.
it might have worked…. except no one championed
his plan in the legislature, until the last moment
(one wonders what Ward Armstrong was promised in
return for undertaking such a thankless task). His
plan was ignored in the Senate and failed
spectacularly in the House. The session ended with
nothing for no one, a waste of time, stipends and
intended legacy issue, universal pre-K funding,
has gone just about nowhere, either.
His attempts to re-shape the legislature to
his liking fell largely flat. And, when given
opportunities to press for reform, be it through
increased budget transparency, protecting the
transportation trust fund or backing an outside
audit of VDOT, His Excellency wasn’t a factor.
for all these for all these failings, and the
others surely to come, he is still young. And
at least he is compared to Sam Nunn and Joe Biden.
Kaine makes the ticket. He’s campaigning in the
places and before the crowds that Obama simply
cannot be bothered with.
Who is minding the store in Richmond?
the vacuum, Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds get busy
acting gubernatorial. If that’s possible.
Meanwhile, Bill Bolling and Bob McDonnell have
more and greater opportunities to do the same.
Across town, Bill Janis shouts himself
hoarse calling for Kaine to step down as governor
because he’s ignoring the people’s business.
The call gains a bit of momentum, but Kaine
ignores it just as he did while running for
governor in 2005 (though Jerry Kilgore did not).
go farther. The Obama-Kaine ticket wins in
some take it as a sure sign of the apocalypse,
others see it as the birth of a new nation –
we’re all going to be young and exciting!
back in Virginia, Bill Bolling finds himself elevated from
understudy to the starring role in Virginia. He’s governor now, and he likes the view from
the top. This
scrambling of the decks throws the McDonnell
campaign into a frenzy.
Surely, Bolling will honor his commitment
to run for lieutenant governor again, won’t he?
chaos results. McDonnell decides to run for
attorney general once again, forcing John Brownlee
and Ken Cuccinelli to drop their races for the
post and consider the
slot. But wait! Is
that Manoli Loupassi I see filing papers to run
for the same post? Could be… he did mention
he’d like to run statewide someday, and what
better time than now?
Chris Saxman, R-Staunton, Ken Stolle, R-Virginia
Beach, Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta, and a host of
others are already getting their petition armies
in line to make the ballot for the same post.
It’s a free-for-all for the ages, resulting in a
brokered Republican convention that nominates a
battered but still defiant Jim Gilmore for the job
because George Allen and Paul Trible were
mysteriously locked in the convention center
men’s room while the votes were being…
massaged (you stay classy, Henrico!).
The heat must be getting to me.
Kaine may not be Sen. Obama’s choice, best or
otherwise, for vice president.
Kaine fills few of the gaps in Obama’s
resume, and brings a load of baggage with him as
well. But it
might just be the escape from
, and a teetering gubernatorial term, that Kaine
where is that lemonade?
July 21, 2008