Kaine choice shows Clin­ton val­ues com­pe­tence

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

View­point: Bloomberg News Hil­lary Clin­ton has for­ti­fied a po­lit­i­cal cen­tre that’s been un­der steady as­sault. Just days af­ter Repub­li­cans in Cleve­land nom­i­nated a can­di­date claim­ing that every­thing ev­ery­where is fall­ing to pieces, Clin­ton made her choice for the Demo­cratic vice pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee.

Sen. Tim Kaine of Vir­ginia is no one’s idea of a fire­brand. A for­mer mayor and gov­er­nor, he is even­keeled, ex­pe­ri­enced and mod­er­ate. He lacks Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren’s rhetor­i­cal pas­sion, and the choice doesn’t qual­ify as his­toric. But he brings steady com­pe­tence and an open­ness to com­pro­mise. Both traits will serve Clin­ton well in the months ahead, and in the White House should she win.

Kaine of­fers a lit­tle some­thing for every­one, yet not too much for any­one. Born in the Mid­west, he’s a prod­uct of Har­vard Law School. Like Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, he’s a Catholic with com­pli­cated views on abor­tion, but he’s pro-choice where it mat­ters — on pub­lic pol­icy. He’s op­posed to the death penalty, but fol­lowed the law as gov­er­nor, en­abling ex­e­cu­tions to pro­ceed. Hav­ing served as a mis­sion­ary in Hon­duras in the 1980s, he speaks Span­ish.

Kaine has spo­ken en­cour­ag­ingly of the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship, the pan-Asian trade deal that would ben­e­fit all the sig­na­to­ries, in­clud­ing the U.S., while serv­ing as a check on the re­gional am­bi­tions of China. It seems un­likely he will bol­ster Clin­ton’s fal­ter­ing sup­port of the deal, but he should try.

A sup­porter of Dodd-Frank, he’s called for greater flex­i­bil­ity in reg­u­lat­ing smaller re­gional banks, which are not sys­tem­i­cally risky but face new bur­dens all the same. A mem­ber of the Se­nate Armed Ser­vices and For­eign Re­la­tions com­mit­tees, last year he joined Ari­zona Repub­li­can Jeff Flake in call­ing for a three-year au­tho­riza­tion for mil­i­tary force against Is­lamic State, a nec­es­sary as­ser­tion of con­gres­sional power and ac­count­abil­ity. Though he rep­re­sents the home state of the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion, he sup­ports sen­si­ble gun reg­u­la­tion.

The se­lec­tion of Kaine has dis­ap­pointed many on the left. She went with com­pe­tence — and that’s just fine. Ad­mirable, even.

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