Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tim Kaine and the Absurdity of Punditry

A lot of the VP speculation is now centering on Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. I have no particular problem with the man, though I don't know very much about him. I guess he has the advantage of being a young fresh face from a state that Obama has a very good chance of winning. I probably would be OK with the pick, though I'd really rather he pick a qualified woman like Janet Napolitano or Claire McCaskill.

But I find it laughable that every Democratic politician from the state of Virginia has to be a potential VP candidate. Hey pundits, I hear there is a city councilman from Richmond who hasn't been considered yet! Better get on it!

While Kaine, Warner, and Webb all have some advantages, the real reason they are being pushed by the punditry is that Virginia is the only conservative state any of them ever spend any time in. They think Obama needs a moderate to conservative state running mate. They know absolutely nothing about the South or the Mountain West. So they reflexively turn to Virginia. They can read about Virginia politicians in the Washington Post. They see their campaign ads on TV. And that's good enough for them.

Let's face it, pundits are lazy people. They go for cliche over analysis. They repeat the same themes ad nauseum. They make overaching claims for small events. They don't want to have to work to come up with their talking points. That might take time away from their dinner parties. So they turn to what's easy. For VP speculation, the easy way out is Virginia politicians. And thus we have the attention on Tim Kaine.

In other news, Trapper John over at Kos is guessing that Obama will pick Tom Daschle. This is, um, strange, but I guess plausible enough. It would solve the supposed experience problem. Trapper John is right that the VP selection here isn't going to make much difference since the election is all about Obama. He calls Daschle a Cheney-like selection, which I guess is true. But if Daschle is as inspiring as he was when he was the Democratic leader in the Senate, I guess the VP debates will be a good time for a nap.