Virginia Senator Tim Kaine was announced as Hillary Clinton's running mate in the 2016 presidential election late Friday evening:
Although many within the Democratic party heralded her choice of the moderate, Spanish-speaking Kaine, a number of liberals aren't exactly thrilled that the former Secretary of State went with the “safe” pick — rather than someone like liberal darling (and fellow Senator) Elizabeth Warren.
A fervent Catholic, the former Virginia governor and head of the Democratic National Committee is personally pro-life. While serving as governor of Virginia, Kaine signed into law a bill requiring parental notification for teenagers wanting to obtain abortions, as well as a “Choose Life” license plate that helps fund pregnancy clinics in the state.
Kaine is also against late-term abortions; however, he does believe that the government shouldn't get in the way of a woman's decision, nor does he believe that Roe v. Wade should be overturned.
The presumptive VP nominee has moderated in his positions while in the Senate. Kaine has consistently voted down anti-abortion legislation, and he has a 100% record with both Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America during his time in Congress:
Although the presumptive VP nominee personally opposes the death penalty, he oversaw the executions of 11 criminals during his tenure as governor.
In justifying the executions, Kaine said that he had an obligation to uphold the state law, which overrode his moral opposition as derived from his Roman Catholic faith:
He has also advocated in the Senate for laws that would overhaul the criminal justice system and give judges more flexibility on sentencing.
Clinton, on the other hand, supports the death penalty in “very limited purposes,” but believes it should be overseen by the federal government.
The presumptive VP nominee has a moderate record when it comes to energy, including a willingness to allow offshore oil drilling off the coast of Virginia and an endorsement of natural gas exports to other nations.
But Kaine also fought against the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and for a reduction in carbon emissions:
He also has a 91% lifetime rating with the League of Conservation Voters.
Much was made of the fact that Clinton tapped Kaine for his strong national security credentials (he sits on both the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees):
Nonetheless, the freshman Virginia senator breaks significantly from both the White House and Clinton on the war on ISIS, as he has:
- Strongly advocated for a new war authorization against ISIS
- Criticized the White House for conducting an illegal war against ISIS; and
- Criticized his Senate colleagues for refusing the debate the war, even teaming up with Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) to push for a vote.
For her part, Clinton said in a November debate that the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force against al-Qaeda also covers the war against ISIS — although she would be willing to see the authorization updated.
Kaine also voted last year for the Iranian nuclear proliferation deal.
Although the presumptive VP nominee is generally pro-union, and has a 96% lifetime voting record in the Senate from the AFL-CIO, he did voice his support for Virginia's “right-to-work” law while serving as governor.
Kaine also breaks with mainstream Democrats when it comes to taxes. While serving as governor, he signed into law a bill that repealed Virginia's estate tax.
He also said during a 2012 debate that he:
“...would be open to a proposal that would have some minimum tax level for everyone.”
Kaine has also objected to the idea of a “millionaire's tax” for high-income earners.
Kaine was among the 13 Democrats last summer who voted to advance President Obama's controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which Obama worked closely to achieve with Republicans. While Kaine has since fluctuated on his position toward the deal, he was still praising parts of it up until he accepted the VP nod:
But just today, he reversed course on that position, finally denouncing the trade deal “in its current form.”
The various positions Kaine holds that are not in lock-step with other, more prominent Democrats — including the one who sits at the top of the ticket — are unlikely to cause Hillary much grief in the general election, but they sure do have some Democrats questioning the move.