Why Tim Kaine Makes Sense. | Gradient

Why Tim Kaine makes sense.

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 3.11.12 PM

On Friday, Hillary Clinton surprised virtually no one by selecting former Virginia governor Tim Kaine as her running mate. He’d been the rumored frontrunner for Clinton’s selection for at least a month, and despite buzzier names like Elizabeth Warren and Julian Castro being in the mix, the general sense in Washington was that the position was Kaine’s to lose. Those predictions were accurate. It makes sense.

In 2009, A.V. Culvahouse — the attorney in charge of vetting John McCain’s VP picks — famously (and prophetically) described Sarah Palin as “high risk, high reward”. Kaine is almost the complete inverse of that assessment. He may not be the firebrand some disaffected progressives would like on a ticket, but Clinton has never been the revolutionary type that’s become so faddish on political tickets. She’s a cautious woman, Hillary Clinton; a policy nerd who seems most out of her element when she’s trying to appeal to voters from behind a podium. That’s a trait she shares with Kaine, who’s been described by many people — himself included — as “boring”.

Unlike Clinton however, Kaine’s name does not immediately raise the ire of huge portions of the country. Indeed, upon the official announcement, Republican Senator Jeff Flake tweeted his congratulations.

“I don’t want to say anything bad about him, because he’s a very nice guy, but I don’t want to say anything good about him because I’m a Republican,” Speaker William J. Howell of the Virginia House of Delegates told The New York Times. “The one thing I will say for him is, unlike some other governors we’ve had, he didn’t seem to waver or waffle.”

That’s probably just the reaction the Clinton campaign was hoping for. They’ve been trying to push back against accusations that Kaine is too “centrist”, but they shouldn’t. Kaine’s centrism is a welcome trait in a bitter election. As Mother Jones put it, “Kaine is a devout Catholic driven by the gospel of social justice and less concerned with the social issues that have become political wedges. Over the course of his career, he has dedicated himself to incremental progress in a red-turned-purple state.”

In the wake of the GOP’s nomination of the most loathed presidential candidate in the modern era, millions of Republican votes are up for grabs. If the second most loathed presidential candidate in the modern era wants to win those votes instead of having them vanish into the Libertarian ether, she’s going to have appeal to the middle. On the same day Donald Trump was doubling down on allegations that Ted Cruz’s father was somehow involved in JFK’s assassination, Republican leaders were struggling to come up with a bad thing to say about Tim Kaine. That’s why Kaine is the sensible choice. Even the smart one.

He provides an immediate counter to a number of pro-Trump arguments. Are Republicans worried that Clinton will crack down on religious freedom? Her running mate is a former missionary and a faithful Catholic. Are they thinking Donald Trump will tighten restrictions on abortions? Tim Kaine fought against tax payer-funded abortions. Does Trump’s history of racial housing discrimination make some Republicans nervous? Tim Kaine is one of America’s champions of fair housing. Does Trump seem too volatile or inexperienced? Tim Kaine is very experienced, and perhaps the least volatile person in the race, if not all of Washington D.C. A little boring? Sure. But in this election, boring doesn’t sound so bad.

If you enjoy ‘Reactions’, subscribe to our podcast, In Case You Missed It.  


New Pod Flow: Sounds Good With Branden Harvey “Jason Russell”


Jason is the cofounder of the iconic non-profit Invisible Children which was founded to increase awareness of the horrendous activities of the LRA in Central Africa. Jason was also the director of the iconic Kony 2012 film that took the world by storm. In this two-part interview Jason and Branden talk about what it means to create a movement, what Jason experienced during his breakdown and subsequent recovery, and Jason’s experience in the world of theater.

New Pod Flow: Animalators, “ Aharon Rabinowitz”


Aharon Rabinowitz is the head of marketing for Red Giant based in New York City. During our conversation, we discussed the importance of work life balance, his start as a production intern at Sesame Street and why artist’s feel personally offended when you reject their work.

New Pod Flow: In Case You Missed It, Episode 040


United gets their cheap on, fake news, and Trump hired who?

New Pod Flow: Scribble & Jam, “Artist Matthew Perryman Jones”


Welcome to Episode IV. This week, Dan spends some time with his favorite singer/songwriter, Matthew Perryman Jones. Matthew and Dan talk about panic attacks, growing up in Atlanta, the way music is informed by pain and suffering and the way music gives freedom.

If you have spent any time watching television in the last decade you have most likely heard one of Mattew’s songs on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill and many others. His insightful writing and voice have drawn comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley, and he is on the short list of songwriters who skillfully weave the deeply philosophical and the vivid utterly human without ever losing sight of either.

To get his new album Cold Answer, (which features the three songs from him you heard on this episode), visit MPJmusic.com.

Subscribe on iTunes.

New Pod Flow: Sounds Good With Branden Harvey “Next Steps After the Presidential Election”


Branden sits down with writer and speaker Tyler Huckabee days after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States to talk about empathy, justice, listening, and where we go from here.

New Pod Flow: In Case You Missed It, Episode 039


Special Election Edition, President Trump to legalized weed and everything in between.

This week we reflect on the election and discuss our strategies for staying sane.

New Pod Flow: Animalators, “Illo


Luca and Ilenia are the founders of Illo, a studio based in Turin, Italy.  During our conversation, we discussed their self-driving video bot named Algo, how Illo was formed and how they’ve crafted a unique office culture.

New Pod Flow: In Case You Missed It, Episode 038


This week we discuss Beyonce’s night at the CMAs, last minute election plans and how SNL might save us all.

Subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher.

New Pod Flow: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Podcast: Doctor Strange


We appreciate everyone sticking with us through this long hiatus but are planning our return even as we speak, with a bunch of new goodies and an updated format. In the meantime, here’s a brief primer on Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange — just so you can go into the movie knowing what you’re getting yourself into.