Monday, July 11, 2016

Could Tom Perez be the One?

After seeing his interview on Meet the Press a few weeks ago I was very impressed.

I think he checks a lot of boxes-nobody checks everything. So, for instance, he doesn't have the level of history as an elected official you'd ideally like to see.

But he his a nice, photogenic guy with a history in the Labor department-which should appeal to labor.

And he proved in that interview that he can bring the fight to Donald Trump. That he's Latino is an added bonus. It also increases the chances that he gets under Trump's skin and gets him to say something else stupid.

Now there's more that makes him an appealing candidate. It turns out he actually has gotten to know the Clintons personally.

She starts the phone calls with, “Tom, this is Hillary.”

“Hey, how are you?” he responds, consciously working his way around being so formal at this point in their relationship, but also too ingrained in his Dominican upbringing to just start calling her by her first name.

"Hillary Clinton and Tom Perez have had some practice with the routine, according to sources familiar with the conversations. There was the phone call when she called to ask for his endorsement, which became a nerd-out session on prison reform and registering farmworkers. In March, when she asked for his help on Latino engagement ahead of the New York primary, he pushed for her to send him to a politically powerful local union president to ask for his help — and ended up being asked himself to rile up a bundler session the morning after the New York debate."

"Then there was the call in April, when she called to congratulate him about the new conflict of interest rule his Labor Department had just released. Before long, she was grilling him: who on the Hill had helped? What sort of response was he getting?"

"Perez had only met Clinton in passing before last summer, when he happened to get scheduled ahead of her at the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) conference in St. Louis—just a typical day for a Labor secretary, he mock-complained to staff, with all those cameras arrayed to see him. She called over to him, introduced herself, thanked him for the work he was doing. They spent about 15 minutes together, complete with photos and teasing his former press secretary who’s now her director of black, Latino and women’s media.

"But something clicked, between those encounters and the clutches he was pulled into before hitting the spin rooms at the debates he attended."

"That’s how a low-profile Cabinet secretary who’s only ever been elected to the Montgomery, Md.,County Council ended up near the mix of Clinton’s running mate prospects. It’s largely a reflection of the relationship that he’s struck up over the past year with both the former secretary of state—who doesn’t make new friends easily—and former President Bill Clinton, and what they’ve seen him do."

"Unlike the other people being speculated about as running mate picks, Perez has actually gotten to know the Clintons, and they’ve both taken a shine to him after the year he spent putting his own progressive credentials on the line to knock back Bernie Sanders. Arguing forcefully that she’s a change agent—the former president’s made clear he’s particularly sensitive when people say otherwise—appears to have made an impression, too."

"Clinton’s inner circle is debating whether entrenched opinions about both her and Donald Trump leaves them free to pick a running mate without having to worry about moving the needle in a state or a particular demographic or political agenda, wondering if the focus should be fully on the potential partnership of the next eight years."

"It certainly won’t be decided on long personal relationships, since with the exception of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who’s not seen as in deep contention, Clinton doesn’t know well any of the people being talked about as her pick."

Read more:

I like him as a choice very much. I like Warren as well. But his advantage over her is:

1. He's Latino so adds to diversity. I know a lot of people say she's great for liberals. True-but this is predominantly white liberals.

Many people of color would be more excited over a pick that increases diversity.

2. I still question Warren's ability to be loyal. She always took pleasure in calling out Obama when the spirit moved her. She doesn't have that sort of freedom in the White House.

Now, Warren did impress me when she went on the road with Hil and maybe she can make the switch. But that's the question mark with her for now.

As for Perez? The question is whether someone without a ton of name recognition and with little history as an elected official can be the choice.

But if the first objective of a VP pick is to do no harm, it's tough to see what harm he'd do. As he's not a known quantity he won't have a lot of opposition either.

As for Tim Kaine, I think the whole accepting gifts thing might be a problem. After all, the media continues to falsely claim she is corrupt. The last thing she needs from her VP is for the first day of questions to be about Kaine's alleged conflict of interest.

Of course, he broke no laws unlike Bob McDonnell. But the media doesn't let itself get worried over facts.

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