|Also, he plays harmonica. How can you not love that?|
Still, in the cold light of day, or what would be the cold light if it wasn't 99 degrees Fahrenheit in New York today, reading about Kaine has been kind of reassuring. He's been to a great extent a victim of the kind of dumbass stereotyping we once did with Joe Biden—very specifically, people used to worry about whether Biden would be a reliable voice for abortion rights, given his Catholicism, but he's always been very clear that his personal views have no impact on his views of what should be legal, and the same applies to Kaine, who has been maybe even more emphatic:.@HillaryClinton do you hate us hippies or do you just not know we exist? Tim Kaine will not get you any votes you didn't have.— (((Yastreblyansky))) (@Yastreblyansky) July 23, 2016
I strongly support the right of women to make their own health and reproductive decisions and, for that reason, will oppose efforts to weaken or subvert the basic holding of Roe v. Wade. We all share the goal of reducing unwanted pregnancies and abortions. The right way to do this is through education and access to health care and contraception rather than criminalizing women's reproductive decisions.(I recognize that "we all share the goal of reducing... abortions" as an inexpensive pander, but no, it doesn't bother me.)
And while his Senate DW-Nominate score seems pretty low, at -0.2612, compared, say, to Senator Clinton's -0.3912, or Senator Obama's somewhat less liberal -0.3541, it's better than where Biden had descended to by his last term, -0.2473. The point being that at this point we all love Biden like we love our mothers, and his relative conservatism at the end of his Senate career is forgotten.
There's a piece by Daniel Strauss and Zachary Warmbrodt up at Politico reporting some purported anger on the part of "liberal groups" over Kaine's signature on
a one-page letter asking Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray to try to "prevent any unintended consequences that negatively impact community banks and credit unions or unnecessarily limit their ability to serve consumers," although the letter did not call for the rollback of any specific regulation.Together with a second letter asking for easier treatment for "regional" banks, i.e. those larger than the "community" ones but smaller than the giants like Citi and Chase.
Where the Politico piece gets a little disingenuous is here:
Kaine's willingness to back any regulatory changes that benefit large banks stands in stark contrast to liberals' preferred VP pick — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). But Kaine's push to tailor financial regulations based on bank size falls in line with the views of many Senate Democrats, as regulators contemplate loosening some rules for smaller firms after years of cracking down on the industry in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Even Warren has supported targeted regulatory changes that would benefit a narrower group of smaller lenders.That should read, "Especially Warren", since supporting community banks and credit unions is and has always been a huge part of what she does, and the prime reason for her work to control the monsters. She is the acknowledged leader of those "many Senate Democrats", not because she's the leftest (though she is, of course), but because she knows the most.
She and Kaine completely agree on the aim of a two-tier banking regulation system, preserving the small banks and holding the big ones to the most rigorous standards. Where they don't agree is on where you draw the line. (I don't get the impression that Kaine gets much campaign money from the banking industry either, at least not since 2002, when Capital One gave $10,000 to his gubernatorial inauguration.)
And I might add that if you think she's right—which seems like a pretty good position—you should be cheerful about seeing him out of the Senate, where he has some power to push his views on the issue, and into the vice presidency, where he doesn't, but has more opportunity to use some of his more appealing skills, like speaking really good Spanish and being friendly and unassuming and supportive and doing some of this.