It’s officially Tim Kaine.
Hillary Clinton announced today that Sen. Tim Kaine will be her presidential running-mate, pushing the mild-mannered Virginian into a glaring national spotlight. "I'm thrilled to tell you this first: I've chosen Sen. Tim Kaine as my running mate. Welcome him to our team," the former Secretary of State said in a text to her supporters.
Kaine, a former governor and current senator, was the safe choice for the cautious Democratic nominee—but that doesn't mean he won't have an impact.
Kaine is no Bernie Sanders; the senator’s favorite conversation topic is his conviction that Congress needs to pass an authorization for the use of military force giving Obama the authority to go to war with ISIS. It’s certainly a topic of massive constitutional importance. But still ... not the sexiest issue.
And picking Kaine won’t enchant progressives.
“Tim Kaine would be a perfect addition to the ticket, in that he would add no progressive backbone that might inconvenience Team Hillary when it's time to govern,” People for Bernie co-founder Charles Lenchner told Politico Magazine.
And pro-choice groups stay mum about him, as his view on abortion rights is more moderate than Clinton’s. Kaine himself assured Meet the Press that he is “boring.” He’s also a devout Catholic who was a missionary in Honduras for 9 months and speaks fluent Spanish.
That said, the senator brings an unusual—and heart-wrenching—resume to the ticket. He’s one of a small (though growing) number of national politicians to handle a mass shooting. He was governor of Virginia when the Virginia Tech shooting left 32 victims dead, and drew bipartisan praise for the role he played helping the community recover and heal.
“By any standard, Tim Kaine provided the exact kind of leadership that VA needed during a tremendous crisis and tragedy,” said Tucker Martin, who was press secretary at the time for Virginia’s Republican attorney general, Bob McDonnell. “I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would say he didn’t rise to the moment.”
Kaine’s remarks to the grieving campus community left many deeply moved.
“You can go beyond grief to isolation and feeling despair,” he said at the time, addressing victims’ families. “Those haunting words that were uttered on a hill on Calvary: ‘My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?’ Despair is a natural emotion at a time like this. They’re all natural, they’re all appropriate. But let me ask one thing of you, this community, as you wrestle with your sadness, as you wrestle with your own feelings of anger, of confusion, as you wrestle with the despair—even you family members who have lost people close: You do not let hold of that spirit of community that makes Virginia Tech such a special place.”
All told, the senator is an extremely low-risk pick for Clinton. So while her politics may not be conservative, her politicking certainly is.