Is Kaine Able to Help Obama in Virginia?

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza has his latest top-five list of vice presidential candidates for each party. Only one Democratic governor makes it, Virginia's Tim ...
by | July 21, 2008

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza has his latest top-five list of vice presidential candidates for each party. Only one Democratic governor makes it, Virginia's Tim Kaine (at #2). Cillizza lists two Republicans governors. Alaska's Sarah Palin is at #5 and Minnesota's Tim Pawlenty is #2  Former governors Evan Bayh and Mitt Romney are #1 on the respective lists.

I have to say, I thought Kaine was an unlikely pick when I wrote about him in February and he strikes me as even less logical today. Sure, I get that he's a Catholic who speaks authentically about his faith. That's a significant asset. But I actually think Kaine might HURT Obama in Virginia.

Virginia state government is in turmoil right now. The biggest issue in the state is transportation funding, but a special session of the General Assembly just ended without any action. The stalemate isn't ending anytime soon.

Virginia's budget situation looks bleak. Kaine just froze state hiring and limited travel by state employees.

None of this is really the governor's fault. Virginia has actually weathered the economic downturn better than most states (Virginia's unemployment rate is only 4%) and the state is one of the nation's best managed. Still, are Virginians really going to react with enthusiasm when their moderately popular governor starts gallivanting around the country running for vice president instead of tending to the state?

I'm not disputing Cillizza's list. He's writing about who will get picked, not who should get picked. And he, unlike me, is doing actual reporting on the subject.

That said, I can't help but think that if Kaine is the pick, he's a risky and perhaps ill-advised one -- that is unless Barack Obama subscribes to the quaint notion that he should pick a running mate based not who can help him win the election, but on who would make a good vice president.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com  | 

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