Tim Kaine For Vice President? No, I’m Not With Her.
Last night Hillary Clinton announced that she has selected U.S. Senator and former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine to be her vice-presidential running mate.
The choice is a purposeful kick in the teeth to Bernie Sanders supporters. The Sanders campaign advocated, above all else, against the corruption of politics by big banks and Wall Street financial firms. Tim Kaine, as our writer Jim Cook recently noted, has been promoted by big banks and Wall Street financial firms as the vice presidential candidate who best represents their interests. As Governor, Kaine bragged that he had “a proven record of cutting taxes” – with tax cuts that favored the rich.
Last week, Tim Kaine joined Senate Republicans to sign one letter calling for the deregulation of medium-sized banks, claiming that this deregulation would enable competition with big banks. Then, Senator Kaine signed a second letter saying that big banks should be deregulated as well. Tim Kaine is specifically advocating for the kind of financial deregulation that led to the 2008 economic crisis.
It’s not just that Tim Kaine sides with the 1 percent financial elites in protecting the current system of economic injustice. Tim Kaine’s environmental record is weak as well. In 2013, Kaine actually voted against legislation to curb climate change. Kaine also supported the expansion of offshore oil drilling in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Glen Besa of the Virginia Sierra Club warned that Kaine’s pro-drilling policy, “means risking over $2.5 billion and over 100,000 jobs in industries that depend on healthy ocean and Chesapeake Bay waters and clean beaches.”
Tim Kaine has also supported the construction of new coal-burning power plants, despite their contribution to air pollution and global warming. Environmentalists in Virginia pleaded for a cleaner source of energy, but Governor Kaine said no. “We are not going to eliminate coal,” Kaine told environmental activists. The Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards warned that Tim Kaine’s coal burning power plant would result in more mountaintop removal coal mining. “This plant is just going to increase the terrible devastation we are already seeing of our mountains,” they said. Kaine was unmoved.
Tim Kaine had accepted a quarter of a million dollars from the company building and operating the new coal burning power plant. A paragon of ethics Tim Kaine is not.
Tim Kaine has often supported a right wing social agenda. In 2013, Tim Kaine refused to support legislation that would have prohibited discrimination against high school students on the basis of sexual orientation.
In 2005, while campaigning to become Governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine took a hard line against marriage equality, writing that, “I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and that marriage is a uniquely valuable institution that must be preserved. As Lieutenant Governor, I participated with local clergy and civic leaders in the public signing of the Community Marriage Policy in order to document our shared commitment to the institution of marriage.”
Recently, Tim Kaine has said that he opposes abortion, but promises not to impose a ban on abortion because he believes that religion and politics should be separate. That’s not consistent with what he said back in 2008, however, which was that religion and politics are inextricably linked. As Governor of Virginia, Kaine promised to use the power of government to support “restrictions on abortion and passing an enforceable ban on partial birth abortion that protects the life and health of the mother.” The reason Tim Kaine gave for his decision to use the power of government to restrict abortion access: His personal religious beliefs. “I have a faith-based opposition to abortion. As governor, I will work in good faith to reduce abortions,” he wrote.
So much for the separation of church and state.
What’s more, Tim Kaine has campaigned in favor of abstinence-only propaganda campaigns against sex ed by right wing Christians. These programs prohibit teachers from sharing accurate information about sex with high schoolers in health and biology classes, provide inaccurate, religiously-based information instead, and have been correlated with increased rates of teen pregnancy and infection with sexually transmitted diseases.
As a liberal, if you want a politician who will help create new legislation to control gun violence, Tim Kaine isn’t likely to be on your side. As Governor of Virginia, Kaine pledged not to introduce any new regulation of guns.
Do you think Tim Kaine will side with working people trying organize in order to get fair pay for a hard day’s work? Don’t hold your breath. In 2011, the Washington Post wrote, “Kaine has supported Virginia’s right-to-work law since he ran for governor in 2005, and his campaign says that position has not changed.” Right To Work laws are designed to keep wages low and diminish the right of workers to organize.
Donald Trump is a terrible presidential candidate, but by choosing Tim Kaine to be her running mate, Hillary Clinton just confirmed all our worst fears about her. Clinton seems determined to make the Democratic Party a pro-corporate, socially unprogressive, environmentally neglectful organization, more interested in attracting disaffected Republicans than in keeping its promises to liberal activists.
I’m not with Trump, but no, I’m not with her either.