Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Raising Kaine

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As the Clinton/Kaine ticket gets under way, much is known of Hillary Clinton on the national scene: Her history as former First Lady, former senator, and former secretary of state — and the scandals which accompanied each of those positions — has been well reported and is well known, if not well accepted. Tim Kaine (shown), on the other hand, is another matter. His political career has been confined to Virginia and so — with rare exception — has his media coverage. Who is Tim Kaine?

Michael Timothy Kaine’s political career began in the 1980s at Harvard when he met, courted, and eventually married Anne Holton, the daughter of Linwood Holton, who served as governor of Virginia from 1970 to 1974. After they were married, they settled in Richmond, Virginia, where they both practiced law. Kaine also taught law at the prestigious — and liberal — University of Richmond School of Law. In 1994, he was elected to the Richmond city council. Four years later, he was elected by the council as mayor of Richmond, and served until 2001.

It was during his time as mayor that the “moderate” Democrat first encountered any real controversy. After the anti-gun Million Mom March in Washington, D.C., in May 2000 — which, of course, had nowhere near a million moms marching — Kaine was called on the carpet for using $6,000 in taxpayer funds to pay for buses to carry marchers from Richmond to the march. In the wake of the controversy, he raised the funds to reimburse the city. It does say something about the man, though, that he lacked a moral check on using taxpayer money to pay for the advancement of his own political agenda.

The kerfuffle was short-lived, and Kaine was elected lieutenant governor of Virginia in 2002 under Governor Mark Warner. Four years later, he was elected governor.

As a state, Virginia has perhaps two political oddities that stand out — one more distinct than the other. The first (and perhaps more common) is a political schizophrenia that compels residents of the Old Dominion to elect a majority of one party to the state legislature and the candidate from the other party to the office of governor. The second (which is unique to Virginia) is that governors are limited to a single term. The combination of these two oddities leads to governors who see the office not as a place to build and grow while looking out for the best interests of Virginia, but as a steppingstone to run for either president or Congress. Kaine was no exception to this rule. As governor, it was clear he was posturing for some higher federal office. He was reported to be on Obama’s short list as a VP running mate, but was edged out by Joe Biden.

During his time in the governor’s mansion, Kaine continued to stoke controversy. He meandered from the hard-left to the middle-left in what appears to be an effort to make himself attractive as a “moderate.”

In his delivery of the Democratic response to the 2006 State of the Union address, Kaine was quick to criticize President George W. Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq, correctly pointing out that Bush had misled Americans about whether Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Of course, Kaine is now standing up beside a candidate who has misled Americans about her arming of Syrian rebels and facilitating the growth of ISIS, not to mention her e-mail scandal.

As governor, Kaine established the Climate Change Commission to promote the fallacy of “global warming,” yet also supported a project for a coal-fired power plant in the state against the wishes of the environmental lobby. By playing both sides against the middle, he was cast as a champion of both business and the environment.

He banned — by executive order — smoking in government buildings in Virginia and later signed into law a bill banning smoking in most restaurants and bars in the state, but resisted a bill passed by the mostly Republican state legislature to require girls to receive the HPV vaccine before they could be admitted to high school. One is left to wonder whether his resistance to the bill forcing girls to receive a vaccine against a sexually transmitted disease would have been the same if it had been passed by a Democrat-controlled legislature.

When his proposed tax increases of $4 billion ran into a wall with the Republican-controlled legislature, he cut spending on things such as highway rest areas, and managed to keep Virginia running. He was celebrated for his wise handling of the financial “crisis,” without much mention in the mainstream media of the fact that he should have cut spending without even trying to increase taxes. In the end, Virginia fared very well with the spending cuts. Forbes ranked Virginia number one in its “Best States For Business” three of Kaine’s four years in office. A large part of the credit for that goes to his failed attempt to raise taxes. In other words, it’s not what Kaine did for Virginia’s businesses; it’s what he was prevented from doing that helped the state through a rough economic period.

Of course, he took the credit, all the while courting greener political pastures. And it worked.

During his last year as governor, Kaine was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) — a position he held until 2011, when he recommended Debbie Wasserman Schultz to succeed him. During his time in that position, he cemented himself as a political force to be reckoned with and — when he resigned the chair — announced he would run for the Senate seat that Democratic Senator Jim Webb would leave vacant upon retiring.

In 2013, when he was sworn in as the new Virginia senator, it became apparent how small a world Virginia politics really is: His Virginian colleague in the Senate was none other than his old friend Mark Warner, under whom he had served as lieutenant governor. Together, they have used Virginia’s voting power in the Senate to move the United States further to the left.

In fact, Tim Kaine has the lowest score in the Freedom Index published by The New American. His cumulative score for his tenure in the Senate is a paltry one percent. The one vote in which he aligned himself with the Constitution — the anomaly — was on January 28, 2015 when he voted against an amendment to remove exemptions for fracking and natural gas storage from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. This one correct vote is conspicuous by its loneliness.

On a range of bills dealing with everything from national security to federal involvement in housing to the environment to immigration to taxes to forcing employers to fund contraception, Kaine has voted the exact opposite of the Constitution 99 percent of the time.

As Kaine has continued to climb the political ladder, he has also continued to move to further and further to the left and progress in his abandonment of whatever principles he may have ever had. He appears to have made some sort of Faustian deal for political power: He has violated his oath of office wherein he swore before God that he would uphold the Constitution, and he has likewise abandoned his faith, though he claims otherwise.

Kaine describes himself as a “faithful” and “traditional Catholic,” even while supporting same-sex “marriage” and abortion. This dichotomy has caused more than one Catholic clergyman to publicly call Kaine out as an example of a bad Catholic. Fr. Thomas Petri, a Catholic priest in Washington, D.C., tweeted, “Senator @timkaine: Do us both a favor. Don’t show up in my communion line. I take Canon 915 seriously. It’d be embarrassing for you & for me.” Canon 915 forbids priests from administering Holy Communion to those who are excommunicated or obstinately persevere in grave sin.

Kaine, though, is obstinate — even recalcitrant — in his position. He will not abide by either his oath or his religion. Oaths and religion often stand or fall together, since they both deal with God and man’s duty before Him. Can such a man be trusted to be vice president under Hil­lary Clinton? Of course, any man who valued either his oath or his religion would not likely be standing up beside Hillary Clinton in the first place, so the question answers itself.

Photo of Sen. Tim Kaine: AP Images

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