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The Case for Tim Kaine

Once the hottest hotbed of potential vice presidential picks, Virginia has quickly lost its luster in the veepstakes as former governor Mark Warner and Sen. Jim Webb have both removed themselves from consideration over the last month.

And yet, the one Virginian who remains in the vice presidential pool -- Gov. Tim Kaine -- may well have an inside shot at being the ultimate choice of Barack Obama later this summer. (Tune in to The Fix on Friday for our latest Vice Presidential Line to see where Kaine ranks.)

VP Watch

Today we make the case for Kaine as vice president; tomorrow we make the opposite argument.

Victory in Virginia

Talk to any Democratic political operative about the party's chances of winning Virginia in the fall and you will get a far less rosy assessment than is currently floating around among party activists.

There's a reason, they argue, that no Democratic presidential nominee has won the Commonwealth since 1964 and, no matter how much growth has occurred in the northern Virginia suburbs, it doesn't make up for the genuinely conservative bent of voters in the rest of the state.

Even former governor Mark Warner, who won the governorship in 2001 and is a strong favorite to claim an open Senate seat this fall, was careful not to predict victory for Obama in the Commonwealth this fall -- saying only that the contest will be highly competitive. (Of John McCain, Warner said: "[He] will run strong in Virginia with his strong veterans vote."

Many within the party believe that the only way that Virginia and its 11 13 electoral votes are truly up for grabs is if Obama chooses a native son of the Commonwealth as his running mate. With Warner and Webb seemingly out of the picture, that mantle falls to Kaine who, until recently, had lived in the long shadow of the former governor.

While many even within Kaine's inner circle acknowledge that his election as governor in 2005 was due in large part to the enormous popularity of Warner, they believe that Kaine has done plenty since then to prove his political chops.

In 2007, Kaine spearheaded the Democratic takeover of the Virginia state Senate, the first time in more than a decade that Democrats controlled the upper chamber in the legislature.

Then, earlier this year, he activated his political network on behalf of Obama in the Feb. 12 Virginia primary -- a contest the Illinois Senator won by a massive 64 percent to 35 percent margin over Hillary Rodham Clinton.

If Obama truly envisions a new electoral map -- that includes Virginia -- Kaine may the the only person left in the running who has the potential to deliver the Commonwealth to Democrats this fall.

Faith as a Fundamental

The central narrative that emerged during Kaine's successful gubernatorial race in 2005 was that he was a Democrat who spoke freely and regularly about his faith.

In that race, Kaine was seeking to become the first Catholic ever elected governor of the Commonwealth and, rather than run from his religion, he put it front and center.

"I'm a person of faith, and here's who I am, and you're entitled to know who I am because you ought to know about me, what's important to me," Kaine told the Washington Post's Carlyle Murphy in October 2005. "That'll give you a yardstick for judging my actions."

There was action behind Kaine's rhetoric. He has served as a Catholic missionary in Honduras during the early 1980s and in his run for governor had to withstand a withering onslaught from Republicans about his personal opposition to the death penalty -- a fundamental tenet of the Catholic church.

In office too, Kaine has shown an ability to speak forcefully about his personal religious convictions in the political sphere.

The most powerful evidence of that ability was revealed in the aftermath of the school shootings last year at Virginia Tech University. Kaine not only delivered a moving speech at the school's convocation just days after the April 16 shootings but also appeared later that week on Rev. Robert Schuller's "Hour of Power" -- a widely watched program among evangelicals nationwide.

Schuller, a massive figure in the evangelical community, interrupted Kaine in the middle of his remarks to say: "Governor, I want to tell you that I am a specialist in sensing and seeing Christ coming through personalities and lives and voices, and I see Him in your eyes and I thank you that you are allowing, without embarrassment, your faith to come through."

That is EXTREMELY powerful stuff -- especially when you think of the massive edge Republicans have enjoyed among evangelical voters in recent national elections.

That's not to say Kaine's faith would win over evangelicals for Obama but it would show many religious-minded people -- a group Democrats have struggled badly with in recent years -- that they can find a home in the Democratic party just as easily as the Republican party.

And, while no Democrats are likely to acknowledge it publicly, putting someone as closely identified with Christian faith on the ticket could help dampen the persistent rumors of Obama as Muslim.

Hispanic Help

During his primary fight with Clinton, Obama had real trouble winning the Hispanic vote. In the California primary on Feb. 5, Clinton took well more than 60 percent of the vote among Hispanics who made up one in three of all voters; in the Puerto Rico primary in early June, Clinton crushed Obama 62 percent to 38 percent.

Combine those struggles by Obama with McCain's roots in the west -- a hotbed of growth in the Hispanic population -- and the Arizona senator's clear intent to make a play for the Latino vote in the fall and Democrats may well be looking for someone who can speak effectively to that crucial voting bloc.

Enter Kaine. Not only did he serve as a missionary in central America, he also speaks fluent Spanish.

With the Hispanic vote considered crucial in any number of battleground states -- Florida, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado among others -- Kaine would be an attractive ticket mate for Obama

Keep Your Friends Close

People like The Fix often make politics more complicated than it really is. Politics, like nearly everything else in life, is first and foremost about relationships.

So, when thinking about who Obama (or McCain) will ultimately pick, it's important to always remember that relationships matter.

And, by all accounts, Kaine and Obama are as close as two politicians can be. The two men met when Obama, fresh off his speech at the Democratic National Convention and subsequent victory that November, campaigned for Kaine in 2005.

The two men formed an instant bond -- both had roots in small-town Kansas, both had attended Harvard Law School, both spent considerable time in the private sector before entering politics.

Kaine showed what that friendship meant when, in February 2007, he threw his endorsement to Obama -- one of the first major elected officials to do so.

"Senator Obama is just in a completely different category than anybody I've ever stood on a stage with," Kaine said in the late Janaury 2007 interview with Post editors and reporters. "There is just a feeling of, you know, kind of a projection of hope on him from an audience that is just unreal. It's unreal."

Obama, too, has an obvious fondness for Kaine. At an event kicking off his general election campaign in Bristow, Va., Obama said of Kaine: "When you're in the political business, there are a lot of people who are your allies, there are a lot of people who you've got to do business with, but you don't always have a lot of friends. The governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia is my friend."

Friendship alone will not lead Obama to name Kaine as his running mate. But, given the Virginia governor's other strengths, the fact that he and Obama are personal friends certainly doesn't hurt.

As always, this piece is meant to spark conversation, so agree, disagree, condemn or compliment in the comments section below. (Looking for past "case for/case against" pieces? You can find them in the "Veepstakes" category.)

Tomorrow: The case against Kaine.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 9, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Veepstakes  
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Next: AFL-CIO Goes After McCain in Battleground States

Comments

Obama's mistakes were cancelled out by McCain's shortcomings so neither one of them scored a point. The winner was us. Now, if we can keep this score of 0-0 going each week, perhaps we'll be able to redo the nominations.

Posted by: afed27 | July 11, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Obama's mistakes were cancelled out by McCain's shortcomings so neither one of them scored a point. The winner was us. Now, if we can keep this score of 0-0 going each week, perhaps we'll be able to redo the nominations.

Posted by: afed27 | July 11, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

if obama takes do nothing kaine as vp i will vote for MCcain hands down think i will anyway just because of a hint that he might pick kaine.(ILL be VOTEING MCcain)

Posted by: joe | July 10, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

First off, Obama does not have a problem with Latino voters. He will win them handily in every state except Florida (although the Cuban lock on politics there is slipping daily).

Tim Kaine is a fine option for VP for the reasons you have mentioned, but I wonder if he is a strong campaigner? I think that Obama needs someone with the attack dog skills of Webb or Biden (or even Rendell) to do some of the harsher work that will be required to counter the GOP slime machine. With a vigorous and aggressive running mate ready to bare his teeth like that, Obama can maintain his position above the partisan fray. We don't need two Mr. Nice Guys on the ticket.

Posted by: dee | July 10, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Um, "Virginia Tech University"?

Posted by: chris | July 10, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Then again, maybe Obama will follow Bush and name his VP vetter his VP, in this case Caroline Kennedy.

Posted by: MNobserver | July 9, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

I'd like to see you ante up with another Veepstakes Line and show us your cards on who's most likely to get the VP nod.

I don't see Kaine as top tier at this point. I think Obama probably has a good shot at Virginia with or without Kaine. Removing him puts a Republican in power as governor, which could actually tick off Virginia Democrats.

My Final Four picks:

1. Joe Biden--only negatives are his mouth and his sometimes awkward comments about Obama himself (first "clean" Af. American; and feeling like he would NEED to say yes to VP since he's the first black candidate--all somewhat politically incorrect). His negatives in this case may actually help him connect with Joe Sixpack, who Obama doesn't naturally relate to. If Obama can get along with someone who says politically incorrect things like Joe Sixpack does, maybe he's not so bad. Biden of course reassures everyone on nat'l security and experience. Only additional negative is Biden is up for reelection and VP announcement would have to come sooner rather than later for Delaware Democrats to get their act together, unless Biden still runs and governor appoints someone else after the election if Obama-Biden get elected. Either way, Delaware would be a safe bet for another Democrat to get Biden's seat.

2. Evan Bayh--I've wrote elsewhere about some info I found about www.obamabayh08.com taking you to www.democrats.org. That may or may not mean anything. I think the owner of a URL can point their site to another site. But, some reporting shows the same person who purchased Obama's site also purchased this site. Hmmm. Not sure of accuracy, but could probably be checked. But Bayh has a huge resume (more than Richardson ever did). Congressman, governor, senator, intelligence and armed services committee, as well as banking and housing committees for a little economic porfolio--can you say housing crisis? Connects with middle class/working class. Safe pick. Potentially smart pick. Along the lines of a Clinton-Gore ticket. Also in well with the Clintons so could help heal wounds there. Only danger is removing him from the Senate and losing the seat inevitably--a president Obama could rue the loss of a senate seat.

3. Hillary Clinton--I had completely ruled her out, but she probably deserves to make the top 3 if for no other reason than to unite the party. That's not a done deal yet. I still think she doesn't have that much experience, despite the fact that she ran on 30 (or was it 35?) years of experience. I'm 37. Can I run on 37 years of experience in writing this blog entry?

4. Jack Reed--He's a dark horse, but would address the national security stuff. They seem to get along well. He's boring, but Obama doesn't need exciting. Cheney wasn't exciting. The difference is that Reed is a dark horse, not the Dark Lord of the Sith. Finally, Reed comes from a state that could fill his seat with another Democrat. Small chance of a lost seat.

Posted by: MNobserver | July 9, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see Kaine back in the mix. The early dark horse has been ignored of late, but he does seem to have a lot of positives.

Faith
Obama likes to talk about his faith, and McCain doesn't. Picking Kaine will give christians another reason for voting D, and Obama is working hard on outreach in that area.

Friendship
Chris, good work for exploring their friendship in more detail. This is key (ignoring it was a bad mistake by Kerry), and its good to understand why Kaine stuck his neck out so long ago and picked Obama.

State
Virginia hasn't been around at a Presidential level for some time. It used to be the home of Presidents. Will Kaine flip it? If Obama gets close (and he's certainly targetting it) then Kaine could pick up the extra few votes to tip him over the top.

2nd Amendment
Kaine may help reassure voters in states like Montana & the West that Obama won't be taking their guns away from them.

Executive experience
3 years as a governor isn't as much as Sebelius, etc. But it is executive experience, and he's certainly been exposed to prime time more than most governors (e.g. Virginia Tech). He's also been Richmond Mayor & Lt Gov.

Key negatives
The main objections to Kaine are that he's not well versed in foreign affairs. And he hasn't been vetted as well as the likes of Clinton & Richardson.

Posted by: JayPe | July 9, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Chris, Please tell your friends at MSNBC what a JOKE it is that they actually have a program/panel of political "experts" discussing "vetting the veep." This is after NO vetting of the PRESIDENTIAL candidate, Barack Obama, by MSNBC! How interesting that the political "experts" at MSNBC only feel it is necessary that Vice President's of this country have "experience", "qualifications" and vetted "backgrounds"!

Posted by: Dem Now Ind | July 9, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Shaniqua Obama is an affirmative action wannabe. No matter how hard she tries, she will never be like Jackie Kennedy. She lacks the poise, grace, and good breeding required to pull that off.

Posted by: Dianne72 | July 9, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

It's the strongest case for you've made yet.

To me it would seem Richardson and Kaine are the best choices considering Rendell and Strickland are out. Richardson has the best resume in politics and is Hispanic. Kaine comes from a bigger, swingier state and speaks Spanish and Faith.

Posted by: muD | July 9, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

obama is a republican

from his "woman with the blues"
to his religous nuthood

to his lie about his stand on FISA and Iraq

Posted by: Anonymous | July 9, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Tim Kaine is truly a brain surgeon among governors:

http://lonewacko.com/blog/archives/004619.html

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | July 9, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

bsimon:

Last month, Sean at fivethirtyeight.com wrote about the effect of VP selection on winning a state.
http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/06/can-vp-nominee-win-state.html

The money quote (IMO):
"In looking at the vice-presidential selections of the past five decades or so since television has expanded the regionality of presidential elections, it's clear that, in reality, both major parties rarely have nominated VP candidates as a strategic electoral vote collector, and to the extent they have set about deliberately trying to add a state with a VP pick it has almost never worked."

Posted by: mnteng | July 9, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I am an agnostic trending toward atheist, but Governor Kaine's speech at the Virginia Tech memorial was unforgettable because it spoke in terms that had meaning for him. He spoke of the anger and despair people were feeling and quoted not only from the Book of Job but from Christ's words on the cross, "My God, why hast thou forsaken me?". I remember thinking at the time that a Republican couldn't get away with preaching an openly religious sermon but that a Democrat can. Not saying it's fair, but I think that's true. I also remember not envying President Bush having to give a speech to match that one, and indeed Kaine's was the speech of the day.

Also worth noting Kaine was a successful mayor of Richmond, so he has that executive experience as well.

But aside from his Catholic missionary days in Latin America, what does he offer on foreign policy or national security?

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | July 9, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

When is the media idea that Obama has a Latino problem going to die, as it should? Primary behavior is not indicative of general election voting patterns for the most part. This was a meme developed by the Clintonites in part to create the "Obama is unelectable" idea in the media. We could not tell if this was true for sure until the general election, but as others have stated, he is is enjoying a wide lead among Latinos right now, following the trends of 2006 and the general mood of the country. Unless something changes the lay of the land drastically among Latinos, this demographic won't even be close, and continue the drifting of Latinos into the Democratic camp. Even though McCain is a relatively sane Republican on immigration, Latinos are not stupid, you can't put a moderate McCain face on and cover up the racist ugliness of the Tancredos of the party. Latinos know this after the immigration bill of 2006, and unless the nativist wing of the GOP up and collapses spectacularly and publicly in the next few months, Latinos (demographically) will continue to become more Democratic as whole like African-Americans. The media continues to perpetuate these ideas to make this campaign seem closer than it is. It is not shaping up to a blowout yet, but it will not be as close as the past 2, or the Democratic primary, which caused a bump in rates and papers sold and hits on websites for the conglomerated media. McCain's campaign is a mess, and his natural constituency, the press, is keeping the appearance of a close race for him, while the inter-nacine fighting continues unabated.

Posted by: bhirsh26 | July 9, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

"He knows that I'm a Panamanian, White and Jewish, albeit with an American college and grad school education. I guess in Americaland I'm still an "Hispanic". Does that mean that Chris reckons I would personally respond well to Kaine's extreme Catholicism?"

You're an idiot. Of course not. It's simply a generalization.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 9, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

The Fix writes
"Many within the party believe that the only way that Virginia and its 13 electoral votes are truly up for grabs is if Obama chooses a native son of the Commonwealth as his running mate."


This is a common theme in handicapping potential running mates. Here in MN, that is often a stated advantave were McCain to select Pawlenty as a running mate, for example. But are such effects realistic? How much would Kaine as VP really influence Virginians' assessment of the relative merits of Obama and McCain? Here in MN, I've written before that its ridiculous to think that a Pawlenty pick would sway the independent voters to go for McCain over Obama - so I'm inclined to think the same of Virginians. Assuming Dems there will vote O & Repubs will vote M, what will the swing voters do - and would they be influenced by a Kaine pick?

Posted by: bsimon | July 9, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Chris -- when did you become so provincial? 3 Virginia articles in so short a time...

Today's story is clearly the FISA vote. I would urge everyone to read Title VIII of the legislation -- the telecom immunity provision.

It has two parts -- one is public reporting of everything that took place, the other is immunity for those who can prove, *in writing* that they acted at the behest of the Bush Administration.

I'm thinking of Sen. Arlen specter's idea last fall that prosecution of the 40+ pending cases against telecoms should be shifted to Plaintiff v. Fed. gov't.

Could this legislation actually make that a possibility?

2 articles on FISA today at
http://ilfamilypolitics.blogspot.com

Posted by: Julia Kelly | July 9, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

So,only in America,do we have two major political parties picking total losers,
Barack Hussein Obama and John McCain to run
for President and so now idiots like WAPO's
Chris the Fizzle want to find even worse
yet Vice Presidents as well. Why does WAPO
keep this village idiot on the payroll?

Posted by: Sandy5274 | July 9, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

While reading "Your Government failed you" by Richard Clarke it occurred to me that it read like a VP resume wrapped in a terror threat analysis. By picking Clarke Obama could do worse and it would shore up his own thin resume in terrorism, domestic and foreign.

Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Gerald Sutliff, CA, USA | July 9, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Chris knows how much I LOVE that word "Hispanic." Sounds an awful lot like "colored" to me. He knows that I'm a Panamanian, White and Jewish, albeit with an American college and grad school education. I guess in Americaland I'm still an "Hispanic". Does that mean that Chris reckons I would personally respond well to Kaine's extreme Catholicism?

He does, I suppose, but I don't. I'm very hopeful that Obama will choose Clinton or Rendell to help in Florida and the Great Lakes/Poconos/Blue Ridge/Appalachian areas.

Moreover, a guy like Kaine would be exactly wrong for Obama because, being a White Christian, Kaine would be crowned the "real president." Clinton being a woman and Rendell being a Jew and a very urban one at that would hold off any press love and would let it be the Barack Obama show.

I'm probably more Hispanic than your average Spanish-speaking American voter, but I haven't the faintest idea what motivates Spanish-speaking American voters because they are mostly Mexican, Puerto Rican, Domenican and pre-Castro Cubans and their cultures are very different from mine.

Posted by: DexterManley | July 9, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Tim Kaine would be a good fit for Obama. Kaine is a massive liberal who loves to raise taxes. He will do well with Obama, who LOVES to raise taxes.

Vote for Obama and give socialism a chance!

Posted by: LIberal Kaine Good Fit for Obama | July 9, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

The Fix is better than this. Surely he is aware that Obama has a commanding lead among Hispanice voters over McCain and that Obama is running strong in NM, NV, CO right now. What exactly is the evidence of Obama's Hispanic problem?

From the First Read on MSNBC:

"In addition to our recent NBC/WSJ poll, which showed Hispanics breaking for Obama 62%-28%, a new survey of 800 Latino voters from 21 states finds that 60% of them plan to vote for Obama versus 23% for McCain. That is down considerably from the 40%-plus Bush received in 2004. It's no longer fair to say that Obama has a problem with Latino voters; McCain does. This was a case of conventional wisdom that was never based on fact, just semi-informed speculation based on primary exit polling and bad stereotypes of Latinos. "

Posted by: Noah | July 9, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

To paraphrase the old joke, "Take Tim Kaine - Please!" Disclosure: I'm voting McCain, and I'd love to see Kaine get out of Richmond so the GOP Lt. Gov. would become Gov. But as Obama may well win, I want a well-qualified VP candidate, which Kaine ain't. As a Virginian, I have seen how Kaine has failed to work on a bipartisan basis on our transportation crisis; so much for Obama's pledged bipartisanship. Kaine also has no military or foreign policy experience, areas where Obama is already weak. And he's been only a part-time Gov, spending much time campaigning and international junketing rather than making tough executive choices. Surely Dems can do better than Kaine.

Posted by: brian | July 9, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

What is to stop Sen. McCain, that unpredictable fellow, from choosing Governor Tim Kaine in a bi-partisan move?
Just the bumper sticker possibilities are great!

And Kaine does not seem to owe the Democratic Party much.....

Posted by: matthew | July 9, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

For more on the Church's position against the death penalty, here is an important link:

http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/national/deathpenalty/

Posted by: Pro-Life Democrat and Catholic | July 9, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

"Factual" is a little out of date, if he is relying on the Baltimore Catechism. After the jump is the from the recent "Catechism of the Catholic Church"

Briefly: "Today, ... the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.""

Chris: It is odd to bring up the Catholic benefits of the death penalty view without also bringing up the abortion issues. Especially since some Bishops won't give communiion to pro-choice Catholic politicians. With that said, I know many Catholics more concerned with social justice issues that align them with the Democrats. I wonder what Kaine's view is on "Liberation Theology" prevalent in South America at the time of his work in the 80's.

-----

2267 Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."

http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c2a5.htm#2267

Posted by: Peter Zenger | July 9, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

In fact, "Factual Catholicism" has grossly distorted the Church's position on the death penalty.

For decades, the Church has held that there is no longer ANY justification for the death penalty in modern societies, which have alternatives (e.g., life imprisonment) to protect citizens.

Hence, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops years ago launched their "Campaign to Abolish Capital Punishment," and the Vatican has issued numerous statements in opposition to the death penalty.

Perhaps "Factual Catholicism" somehow missed these facts.

Tim Kaine is indeed in alignment with the Church's position. Being truly pro-life means being against the death penalty.

Posted by: Pro-Life Democrat and Catholic | July 9, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

JohnJt - I am waiting in a physician's office for my wife and reading "AARP" mag.
In it, Lee Iococca suggests strongly that both presumptive nominees should tell us early on who they want for VP, SecSt, SecTreas, SecDef, AG,, and NSA. Then we would know their vision for governance far better than we can from their public posturing. I like JB for BHO of course, either as VP or SecSt, and you agree with my earlier post to Capt. Howard, so I have reason to think you are thoughtful [else, what am I?].

Mnteng, Dodd is an excellent example, I think, of bilingual as over-rated as a vote-getter.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | July 9, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Kaine is definitely in the top 5 picks for VP. I would rank him as Obama's top personal choice, but this politics.

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | July 9, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Urgh, my formatting got eaten. Anyway, the "Today [...] nonexistent.'" quote is from the Catechism, which you can see at:

http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c2a5.htm#2267

You can see the quote from Evangelium Vitae at:

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae_en.html#-1B

Posted by: Still 21st Century | July 9, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Please wait until you have lived in Virginia for 40 years, as I have, to even try to pronounce its political profile. Virginia is not Fairfax County. Or Richmond. Or Newp't News. The same way Louisville is not Kentucky. I think the Fix has done his homework, but still subscribes somewhat to the Northern Virgniia/D.C. notion of Virgniia. All the votes are counted here.

Nancy B
Retired to southwest Virginia,
actually part of the Commonwealth

Posted by: bluhvn | July 9, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Please don't refer to an 1885 catechism when citing the Catholic Church's current position on the death penalty. Instead, consult the Catechism of the Catholic Church from 1992, which is the current official exposition of the teachings of the Church.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."

The Catechism cites section 56 of John Paul II's Evangelium Vitae for those seven words of quoted text.

Posted by: 21st Century, Not 19th | July 9, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

David, is your thought that Obama has narrowed to Bayh, Kaine, and Biden based on evidence, or is it just a hunch?

In any case, my hunch is that it makes good sense. I can't think of a Presidential candidate who has announced his Cabinet intentions ahead of time, but I think that strongly tipping his hand that someone like Biden is in line for Secretary of State would be a great move. Biden is tough; no one would accuse him of foreign policy naïveté. But he also thinks carefully about avoiding no-win entanglements.

Kaine has some of the same advantages that I have listed for Sen. Bob Casey and former Rep. Tim Roemer--devout Catholic, leaning toward pro-life while not being dogmatic about how to accomplish that goal. That can be an important balance that will help Obama convey some of the nuances of his own position on abortion in a way that John Kerry never succeeded in doing.

Capt Howard, I actually think that things are improving in terms of choosing vice-presidents who will help govern. If you read back through history, some awful choices have been made just to balance tickets. But building workable coalitions is part of governing well. I believe that the abortion issue has split the natural Democratic coalition and has hindered effective Democratic government. If Obama can find a high quality candidate who will help him creat that governing coalition, he should do it.

Bayh is not a bad candidate, but he will not help build the coalition about which I am talking as much as would Roemer, Casey, or Kaine.

Posted by: JohnJT | July 9, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

MarkInAustin:

Dodd's fluency in Spanish didn't appear to do him much good in the D primary. Of course, he didn't get much of a chance to use it either -- Iowa is like 3% Hispanic (plus, apparently, a significant number of undocumented workers).

Posted by: mnteng | July 9, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I am sure Hillary Soprano will make an offer he can't refuse too. You see in the end only Hillary Soprano will be standing for VP

VJ Machiavelli
Http://www.vjmachiavelli.blogspot.com

Posted by: VJ Machiavelli | July 9, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

In the column you state: "...his personal opposition to the death penalty -- a fundamental tenet of the Catholic church."

This is incorrect. Opposition to the death penalty in NOT a fundamental tenet of the Catholic church.

This perception arose as a response from the church to criticism that it had to be "pro-life" under all circumstances.

In fact this is NOT church teaching.

Part 3 of the Baltimore Catechism is very clear:

Q. 1276. Under what circumstances may human life be lawfully taken?
A. Human life may be lawfully taken:

(1) In self-defense, when we are unjustly attacked and have no other means of saving our own lives;
(2) In a just war, when the safety or rights of the nation require it;
(3) By the lawful execution of a criminal, fairly tried and found guilty of a crime punishable by death when the preservation of law and order and the good of the community require such execution.


Therefore, it is VERY Catholic to believe in the death penalty.

Posted by: Factual Catholicism | July 9, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

In the column you state: "...his personal opposition to the death penalty -- a fundamental tenet of the Catholic church."

This is incorrect. Opposition to the death penalty in NOT a fundamental tenet of the Catholic church.

This perception arose as a response from the church to criticism that it had to be "pro-life" under all circumstances.

In fact this is NOT church teaching.

Part 3 of the Baltimore Catechism is very clear:

Q. 1276. Under what circumstances may human life be lawfully taken?
A. Human life may be lawfully taken:

(1) In self-defense, when we are unjustly attacked and have no other means of saving our own lives;
(2) In a just war, when the safety or rights of the nation require it;
(3) By the lawful execution of a criminal, fairly tried and found guilty of a crime punishable by death when the preservation of law and order and the good of the community require such execution.

It therefore is VERY Catholic to believe in the death penalty.

Posted by: Factual Catholicism | July 9, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

CC writes:

"...he also speaks fluent Spanish."

My earlier post was intended to begin a discussion of whether this was worth a dime among Hispanic-American voters. I suggest that while actually having a Spanish name is worth votes in TX, speaking Spanish during the campaign is not. Anybody have evidence to support the notion that bilingual=votes?

Posted by: MarkInAustin | July 9, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

The reason Warner and Webb have turned down the VP slot is because they know that it's a loser and an also-ran. While liberals, blacks and the MSM love Obama, come November he's toast in the general. Nobody with higher political ambitions wants to be tied to a loser. I heard Wright and Farrakhan are available.
Posted by: tiponeil | July 9, 2008 9:23 AM

Don't be so modest, Tip, go ahead and point out that you have a black friend.

Posted by: aleks | July 9, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

The reason Warner and Webb have turned down the VP slot is because they know that it's a loser and an also-ran. While liberals, blacks and the MSM love Obama, come November he's toast in the general. Nobody with higher political ambitions wants to be tied to a loser. I heard Wright and Farrakhan are available.

Posted by: tiponeil | July 9, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Capt. Howard, You are unnecessarily pessimistic. The quality of VP nominees has generally improved over time, excepting Dan Quayle. And there is nothing in this story to indicate that Kaine is not qualified by background and experience to be President.

I understand the Gov of VA to have true executive functions, unlike, for example, the gov of my state. TX has a textbook "weak gov" constitutional framework. All executive officers except the SecSt are directly elected, not appointed by the gov.
That is one reason that GWB, who I voted for as gov in '98, did not get my vote in 2k. No relevant experience.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | July 9, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

They have identical backgrounds - both are strongly religious, about the same age, from the same area of the country, went to the same law school. Add to that that Kaine speaks fluent spanish (watch the YouTube videos) and is a governor of a key swing state. And one item you forgot to mention, Kaine was a community activist and ultimately mayor of one of the most urban/high crime cities in the country - Richmond Virginia.

I think Obama has narrowed the choices down to Bayh, Kaine and Biden. This is why Warner, Strickland and Webb announced they didn't want the VP slot. Obama is keen enough to know to tip his hand to those not selected so they have the option to make it look like they rejected him rather than the other way around.

I think if not for national security, kaine would be the first choice. If national security becomes the key issue, then he will pick Biden. Otherwise, he should announce Biden will be his secretary of state, and that way get them both to campaign with him.

Posted by: David | July 9, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Virginia has 13 electoral votes, not 11.

Posted by: frb2749 | July 9, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

On Monday, during a town hall in Denver, John McCain proposed a radical "fix" for the way Social Security is funded. Responding to a questioner who claimed Social Security "will not be there" when current workers retire (which is wrong), McCain said this:

'Americans have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers in America today. And that's a disgrace. It's an absolute disgrace, and it's got to be fixed.'

As anyone who knows anything about Social Security understands, "paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers" is pretty much the functional definition of Social Security. Always has been. That's what John McCain is calling an "absolute disgrace."

Posted by: Anonymous | July 9, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Although McCain spent much of the primary campaign assuring Republicans that his priority in immigration policy would center on securing the border with Mexico, he's now singing a different tune. Mindful of the growing importance of the Latino vote in swing states, as well as the fact that Barack Obama has a strong lead with that group of voters, McCain is now espousing "a message that gives equal weight to helping employers and immigrant workers and their families," says the LAT. In new ads, McCain says that dealing with the needs of immigrants is "as important" as securing the border. Although he never comes out and says he wants to create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, "his subtle language matches that of legalization advocates," notes the LAT.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 9, 2008 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Another factor in Kaine's favor is that he's married to the daughter of a former Republican governor of Virginia who endorsed his son in law in 2005 and remains a big supporter. This might enhance the ticket's message of working across party lines.

Posted by: bryan in atlanta | July 9, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Another factor in Kaine's favor is that he's married to the daughter of a former Republican governor of Virginia who endorsed his son in law in 2005 and remains a big supporter. This might enhance the ticket's message of working across party lines.

Posted by: bryan in atlanta | July 9, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes it amazes me as to the motives of politicians in making decisions. A normal person would think of what qualifications an individual has to step into the position of President when choosing a Vice Presidential running mate. Not our politicians!

Today, it is not a matter of how qualified they are, or if they have the same vision as the presidential candidate. The burning issue is what voters they will add to the ticket, and what states will they carry with them. It's a sad state of affairs when the most qualified aren't considered and the most charismatic are.

The quality of our political leaders has certainly dropped over the years, as has the intelligence of our voters.

Posted by: Capt. Howard | July 9, 2008 7:57 AM | Report abuse

I have often heard Hispanic pols in TX say that Spanish language ads do not work and that the Tejanos most likely to vote get their politics in English, even though they remain literate in Spanish as their second language. This may have to do with the fact that the poorest and newest citizens are sporadic voters at best, but American born Texas Hispanics who are generally much better off than newbies and who speak English first, vote with far more regularity. These generalizations pass for political truth in Austin. If Bobby is still reading "The Fix" down in the LRGV, I would like to hear his comment. If Hispanic voters anywhere have thoughts about this, I will be all eyes.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | July 9, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

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