Election 2020

Official GOP Site's Response to Kaine Choice Is Stunningly Awful

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Getting weirder and weirder.

A Career Spent Taking Cautious Positions Anathema To The Party’s Liberal Base

That’s the headline.

On GOP.com.

It is as if Reince told the interns to “Come up with something that makes Kaine as likable as possible to our people.”

What follows the headline is a litany of facts designed to prove that Kaine is a little too conservative for the progressives that are getting louder and louder in the Democratic Party.

If the target audience is Bernie Sanders voters who are feeling disenfranchised, then let’s give the Grand Old Party a big thumbs up.

I live on a little planet called Earth, however, and Bernie Sanders supporters aren’t frequenting Gop.com here.

The article even props up a narrative that was concurrently running in some MSM circles all weekend that Kaine is rather right-leaning on abortion. Yes, he’s said things in the past that somewhat backed that up. Sadly, Kaine has since “evolved” in the Democrat sense of the word to the point where Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards praises him and her organization gives him a perfect rating.

This may not have any impact on anything, but it illustrates just how much the Republican Party is flailing now. Unlike a lot of disaffected former Republicans, I don’t blame Donald Trump for any of this. This party has been throwing things against the wall just to see what sticks since the wee hours of November 7th, 2012. The 2014 midterm victory was its second gift from the very conservative activists it has been working overtime to shove out the door ever since. To say confusion is reigning at the moment would be redefining understatement.

Sure, some of this is Trump-related, but that doesn’t mean he caused it. The party officials had to make an uncomfortable alliance with a victorious candidate it had spent almost a year disavowing. That course correction probably caused so much whiplash that Reince should have been sporting a neck brace all last week at the convention. He and the rest of the party officials are surely still feeling their way around this relationship. Some may say that Trump probably doesn’t make it easier, but he is more than likely just telling them to get out of his way.

None of that excuses just how rankly amateurish this official response to the Kaine pick is.

There was a at least a good week before where it looked likely that Kaine was going to be Her Imperial Madame’s choice for a running mate. Even though that week happened to coincide with the convention, a few people could have been dedicated to crafting something that didn’t look like a high school assignment that was written on the way to class that morning.

Enough about the composition though. Let’s get back to its premise.

It would seem the aim was to make the point that Hillary Clinton and the party she represents have been pushed far to the progressive left by her lengthier-than-planned primary fight with Bernie Sanders. That was true during the primary season. As most seasoned political observers are aware, that’s the modus operandi of major party candidates when they’re trying to get nominated. They move to the base, then pivot to the center once the nomination is secured. If anything, Dame van der Cankles’ choice of Kaine perfectly epitomizes that approach. She’s not still fleeing leftward in this scenario, she’s using Kaine as an anchor to whatever passes for the center over there with the Democrats.

Had she chosen someone like Sherrod Brown, Cory Booker or (shudder) Elizabeth Warren the progressive fix would definitely have been in.

It isn’t as if there weren’t some more noteworthy aspects of this choice that could be assailed from the right. Kaine is a former DNC chairman, so a “crony old white guard in charge of the Democrats even after Obama” narrative could have been crafted. In about four minutes.

Kaine isn’t really a polarizing figure, so there isn’t much in the way of personality to go after. He’s fairly well liked on both sides of the aisle in the Senate. He even gets along with Ted Cruz, which is more than most upper-echelon Republicans can say.

That being said, there is still no reason for the official Republican response to be one that makes the guy seem like he might have been a good pick for the GOP ticket too. After making Kaine sound like GOP-lite, there were some remarks about his lack of political accomplishments, which may not be the wisest tactic given who the Republican nominee is.

A smarter move may have been some speculation about how quickly he might get pulled to the far left if Hillary is truly going to stay committed to her Sanders-induced ideological shift. He was already talking about being committed to a “progressive agenda” in his first stop on the campaign trail. They should be sounding the alarm over that, rather than trying to make him look like a bad Democrat.

The GOP seems to be as tone deaf as ever. The rough-and-tumble primary season may have actually made them more inept than they were in 2012. If Trump manages to win in November, he’ll have to do it dragging Reince and Co. over the finish line.