The Republicans: Well, the dumpster fire continues, as Donald Trump has selected Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate, resurrecting some kind of hellish pre-decimalization coin from the UK- the horror of Trumppence descending upon us all now looms.
On the face of it, who cares? I mean, I'm not voting for him, so why cares who he picks? But Mike Pence was a particularly uninspiring choice that makes it seem like he's bending to political consultants instead of thinking outside the box. I thought hell would have frozen over before I typed these words, but I agree with Ann Coulter. Pence was his first mistake. Leaving aside his odious record on reproductive rights (because pretty much any Republican Governor will probably hew close to pro-life- or rather, pro-birth orthodoxy) he pushed this religious liberty crap* that makes me not want to vote Republican ever (which, hint hint Republicans should be considered a major problem if you want to you know, matter, or win elections at all in the coming decades.)
I can sort of understand the rationale. I mean, normally the Veep is something of an attack dog- so the top of the ticket can be, well, Presidential. But Trump is all attack dog. So something of an 'Alabama Quarterback' type (white bread, non-flashy and game managerial) for a Veep choice makes sense. But anyone was better than Pence. And the rumors of buyer's remorse- despite the fact they were quickly denied don't exactly seem like a ringing endorsement either. (I doubt we'll have another Thomas Eagleton situation develop, but still... it's Trump. You never know.)
The Democrats: Well, consider me underwhelmed. And if Bernie fans were hoping that Mrs. Clinton would be bold and pick a Progressive from the left wing of the Democratic Party, well think again. Instead, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine got the nod. He seems like a safe, solid pick. Virginia is a swing state, he's been Governor and now Senator of the Virginia. Surely, we can agree that Kaine helps in Virginia. He's the very image of a vanilla white guy, has a good resume and doesn't bring too much voltage at the bottom of the ticket- and thus, won't overshadow the top of the ticket.
But will it make everyone happy? Doubtful... this delightful story isn't going to make the left wing of the Democratic Party all that happy and Senator Kaine was a fan of the TPP until joining Mrs. Clinton in the shifting, acrobatic dance to now oppose it. (If you're a deeply jaded and cynical Republican, you're also undoubtedly waiting for Clinton Ally, term-limited Governor Terry McAuliffe to appoint himself to the potentially open senate seat. Interestingly, Virginia limits their governors to four years with no immediate re-election- however, Governors can become eligible to run again after four years. So, pretty much, no consecutive terms.)
Yes, Kaine was a solid pick. It sends the message that Mrs. Clinton isn't worried about bringing the party together- she's relying on 'fear of Trump' to get disgruntled Bernie Sanders supporters in line. And no doubt, Kaine probably keeps Virginia on side- but here's where another pick might have been more helpful- the nagging, itching fact that Trump really doesn't have to do all that much to win the Presidency.
Oh, I know- everyone is convinced that there's no way in hell that Trump is going to win, but look at the map from 2012. Serious- go to 270towin and look at the 2012 actual results- assuming that Trump can win everything Romney did (a bet I'm willing to take) then all he needs to do is flip Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania to win. His message on trade is going to resonate throughout the Rust Belt and there's enough crazy people in Florida that who knows which way they're going to go. It's not a tall order and entirely plausible. (Though of the three, Pennsylvania is probably the longest shot.)
Which I why I think a safer pick would have been Tom Vilsack. With roots in both Iowa and Pennsylvania, I think he would have shored up two states instead of one. But, hey, that's just me.
So yeah... Kaine is a safe, solid and thoroughly vanilla pick. That could be all that it takes, so why reinvent the wheel?
*Neither the Left nor the Right please me overly much with the whole 'gay wedding cake controversies.' If you're on the Right, then for God's sake take the damn money. Once you cash the check, it's not their money, it's your money and you can do with it what you will. Including endorsing what you consider to be 'traditional values.' If you're on the Left, well then stop it. You're looking for a lawsuit, not a wedding cake, otherwise why would you be giving your money to people who think the life you lead is immoral or wrong or some other bullshit? Don't give them the money.
The whole pizzeria thing? Stupid as hell and pisses me off still. I was supposed to get on the rage train because a pizzeria in BFE, Indiana has declared it wouldn't cater a gay wedding. It hadn't actually refused to do so by the way- just said that, if asked, they wouldn't because you know, God. But I was supposed to man the barricades over this? Accepting the premise that a. there were a plethora of gay couples in BFE, Indiana, b. they wanted to get married and c. they wanted a pizzeria to cater their wedding. I don't know straight couples that would want a pizzeria to do that. And oh hey, look what happened? They made a shit load of money because the folks on the Right rallied to the cause and the folks in the center just thought it seemed vindictive as hell. Well done, Left. Well done indeed.