Saturday, July 23, 2016

My Recollections of Tim Kaine

Tim Kaine and his wife Ann Holton, as hosts to Queen Elizabeth in 2007 / AP Photo/Bob Brown, Pool

              This morning I awoke to hear that Hillary Clinton had finally announced her vice presidential running mate. She selected Tim Kaine from Virginia. (She has selected a gun owner who opposes abortion.)

                        Even with the illegal and unethical use of a private server aside for a moment,  Hillary is a particularly unlikable sort to many. Therefore, the selection of someone who is perennially gracious to everyone is a good pick for her side.   Having lived in Virginia now for more than twenty-five years, Tim Kaine is familiar to me. Although I generally identify with Republican objectives, I am friends with a number of Democrats. I consider Governor (Lawrence) Douglas Wilder, for example to be one of the finest people to ever seek political office, and he is a Democrat.

                        For those of you unfamilar with Tim Kaine, those of us who lived for a time in the Richmond area, are very familiar with him.  Tim is a law graduate of Harvard who came to Richmond to work as an attorney.  Tim Kaine is a gun owner and most people who used him felt he served his clients as a fair housing law attorney, well. He is also fluent in Spanish.  He is catholic and he and his wife have attended a catholic church in Richmond which is mostly of African American membership.

                        Tim Kaine is married to the former Ann Holton, who has worked as a juvenile and domestic relations judge. They have three children.  Ann is the daughter of a Virginia governor.   I remember that in the mid nineties, Tim Kaine was elected to the city council of Richmond. This was a bit of a joke to us, since so many of them go on to serve jail time afterward, but Kaine made it work for him.  I remember seeing Kaine one day when I was in the process of parking at the Borders Books store on West Broad Street and Kaine exited walking across my parking space nearly getting hit.  My minivan was full of children and I remember hitting the brakes with all I had.  Tim Kaine turned around, realizing what had happened and was broadly smiling as he mouthed "Sorry !"   I have often wondered what would have happened to him had I not been paying quite such good attention that day.

                    Over time, we raised all four of our biological children and adopted another.  Tim Kaine continued up the political ladder. In 1998, he was elected as Mayor to Richmond.   By all accounts, even those who opposed him, said he was both personable and charismatic.  He speaks easily and gives the impression that he has all sorts of time for you.   In the early 2000s, I remember Kaine being elected as the Lieutenant Governor.  By 2005, two of my kids were in college, and Tim Kaine crossed a parking lot at my eldest son's college, where he was walking alone, simply to shake his hand and ask him for his vote in the upcoming gubernatorial election. Kaine won.

                  A friend of ours had worked for Kaine and done significant work there, and had been promised a position in the new administration, but that position was never offered.

                    I will never forget Kaine and his wife Ann in 2007 as they hosted Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.  Kaine and his wife kept patting the Monarch and Prince Phillip on the shoulder. Each time they did, the Queen and her husband looked shocked, but the Kaines never seemed to catch on.   Seems they did not know that you don't touch the Monarch unless she reaches out to shake your hand.

                    Kaine was the Democratic National Committee chair in 2009, and went on to be a US Senator. All this time, he has taught law part-time at intervals at the University of Richmond.

                    Kaine has done a credible job with whatever the undertaking and even the opposition likes him as a person.  It's unfortunate that his chance to run as a vice-president candidate is marred by running with someone with an overwhelming amount of negative baggage.  Perhaps the Democrats can flip the ticket making Kaine the presidential candidate, as Kaine has no scandals, potential pending indictments, closet skeletons, medical issues which make him unsuitable to run, or impairments to the receipt of a top secret clearance as does his running mate.