Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ben Smith on Tim Kaine: "Nice guy in a nasty time"

Ben Smith:
Kaine was handicapped, particularly at the beginning of his term, by the pressure to keep his focus on Virginia and by rules that forbade him from fundraising while the state Legislature was in session. That local focus, however, didn't prevent an embarrassing defeat for Democrats in the race to replace him.

But Kaine seemed to grow into the post in the substantial aspects of his job; where being a nice guy means a lot, he has triumphed. He seems universally liked, even by people with good reason not to like him. Dean, his predecessor, was not even invited to the announcement of his appointment, but Dean’s supporters blame former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel for the snub, and Kaine draws warm words even from Dean’s circle.

He’s also managed to avoid a conflagration over altering Dean’s “50-state strategy,” which guaranteed that the party would finance staffers for every state party. The new regime has shifted some of that funding to Organizing for America employees, who don’t report to state party chairmen, but when state leaders threatened revolt, Kaine gave a little, involved OfA staff in state campaigns and smoothed the waters, winning friends across the often-feuding Democratic family. MORE...

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