Tim Kaine for Vice President

Honestly, I’m less concerned with who Hillary chooses as her running mate than you might expect a politics dork to be. Warren, Kaine and Castro all seem like fine options. I don’t know what Hillary is looking for in a running mate and (fingers crossed) Vice President. Since she rightly ought to have some say in the matter, I’m willing to defer to her judgement based on what campaign and (again, fingers crossed) administration she wants to lead. Nevertheless, I slightly favor the milquetoast moderate white dude from Virginia.

Probably the most important reason why is that Hillary must provide reassurance on foreign, not domestic policy. To be sure, I’m less left-leaning on domestic policy than the standard hippie. But to my view Clinton’s tougher-than-expected campaign against a certain democratic socialist from Vermont has heightened the distinctions between her and the left on domestic issues. In virtually every area Hillary has laid out plans that either maintain or advance the Obama policy baseline, including Wall Street reform. Since, contrary to popular belief, presidents actually try to enact campaign promises, and there’s no reason to think Pres Clinton will have political incentive to suddenly swerve right on domestic policy anyway, there’s little justification for the left to push for a Veep who’ll check Hillary on the domestic front.

Foreign policy is another matter, notwithstanding her current competition’s utter inability to exploit Hillary’s weakness on the issue. Already Republican foreign policy bigwigs are endorsing her over Trump, driven more by Donald’s sheer ineptitude, but also undoubtedly an appreciation for Hillary’s assertiveness. The left should want a VP who will reign in Hillary where it’s needed most, and where there will be countervailing political pressure, especially since Obama has more or less continued the Bush-era executive power grab, thereby enabling the even more hawkish Hillary. Elizabeth Warren has expressed little interest in foreign policy, but Tim Kaine has actively challenged the Obama administration’s war-making ability.

Besides it’s unclear to me why the left would even want Elizabeth Warren to serve as VP given the office’s limited ability to affect domestic policy. Warren would likely be frustrated in the role, having to reflexively defend the administration’s views whether or not she actually agreed. It would be a constant, obnoxious obsession of the D.C. press to speculate whether there is any divergence between Hillary and Warren despite appearances. Vice Presidents don’t get to grill corporate executives during congressional hearings — they’re expected to glad-hand members of Congress, even those on the other side, in a desperate attempt to push the president’s policy initiatives through. Warren is ill-suited to the task, given her reputation as a liberal firebrand. Quite frankly, I think she’d soon be bored.

Kaine is not a veteran of Capitol Hill, but has years of executive experience as popular governor of Virginia, an ideologically and politically mixed state, and also notably an important swing state. That’s reason enough to believe he’d be more adept at schmoozing congressional power brokers than the liberal senator from MA. And it isn’t even clear Kaine is especially moderate or even right-leaning on domestic policy. His main heresy appears to be on abortion — but Hillary’s pro-choice credentials are rock-solid (again, though, I’m less left-leaning on abortion than most liberals).

Oh crap, I forgot to discuss Julian Castro. He’s too young and inexperienced at the national level, undercutting a key advantage Hillary has over Donald, otherwise known as the “Marco Rubio problem”. And no, that’s not an allusion to Castro’s Hispanic heritage. I mostly think that’s a wash — the risks associated with a Hispanic-woman ticket (or woman-woman ticket), given Hillary’s trouble with white men, will probably be made up for by the historic/galvanizing quality of either duo, which could drive more minorities and women to the polls. It doesn’t hurt that Clinton/Castro or Clinton/Warren make ripe targets for racist, misogynist tweeter-in-chief Donald Trump

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