Here’s the Washington Post’s John Wagner on last night’s debate performance by Tim Kaine:
At the vice-presidential debate here Tuesday. . .Kaine turned in a performance that threatened to undermine the image of authenticity that has been one of his greatest strengths.
The senator from Virginia came across as over-rehearsed, often interrupting his Republican opponent, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, with points Kaine had already made several times earlier in the debate. At times, Kaine simply seemed to be trying too hard.
But what puzzled me was Wagner’s claim that Kaine’s “image of authenticity” has been “one of his greatest strengths.” As a long time observer of Tim Kaine’s forced demeanor and attempts to fake moderation, my question is: What image of authenticity?
Wagner provides an answer late in his piece when he writes:
On the campaign trail, Kaine comes across as more authentic than Clinton, to whom many voters, including those who support her, say seems very distant.
Well, yes, Tim Kaine is authentic compared to Hillary Clinton.
Authenticity is a huge problem for Democrats. In order to impose their left-wing agenda on a centrist country, they have to pretend to uphold, at least to some degree, traditional American goals and values. And they have to hide their contempt for voters who embrace these goals and values.
In short, they have to fake authenticity.
It’s difficult for the person at the top of the ticket to accomplish this these days because he or she must win over the Democratic base during the primary season. Thus, the vice presidential nominee bears a heavy burden.
In 2004, the Democrats shot themselves in the foot by selecting John Edwards. John Kerry hoped that this smooth southerner, who made his name in the courtroom charming juries, would convincingly display the common touch. But, as even Kerry realized, Edwards was a transparent phony.
In 2008, Barack Obama made a brilliant selection in Joe Biden. Say what you want about Talkin’ Joe, and his faults are legion, he seems genuine and, for a politician, probably is.
In Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton hoped she had a Biden with brains. But last night, Kaine was Bidenesque only in the sense that he kept interrupting his opponent.
In 2012, voters seemed mostly okay with “Uncle Joe’s” constant interruptions of Paul Ryan. With shifty Tim Kaine’s interruptions, not so much.
The Clinton-Kaine ticket was made to be defeated. With a decent Republican nominee, it would be.