Saturday, July 23, 2016

Why Tim Kaine Pick is Very Good News

If nothing else, it shows that Hillary likes her chances. You can read Kaine as her staying the course on her campaign strategy but a choice for a Warren or a Corey Booker would have been a game changer.

In a Presidential campaign, a game changer is not usually a good sign. It means you think you're losing and am trying a major reboot. And sometimes, the reboot is disastrous.

The classic example of this was McCain-Palin. McCain had run on experience, on the idea that Obama in 2008 didn't have the resume and was not ready for the job.

When he went to Palin this showed he'd given up on running against the Democratic nominee's lack of experience. Now he was trying to match Obama's aspirational appeal.

Worse of all, this was a last minute, Hail Mary pick, so Palin was not vetted. She turned out to be a big drag on the ticket.

In 2012, Romney again went game changer. This was again recognition of the fact he was losing. His campaign was based on his managerial experience and ability to run the economy effectively.

His case against President Obama was 'Nice guy, but not up to the job.' Romney had a tough dance. While Americans were disappointed in the economy and Obama's handling of it-not that it was really fair to blame him for everything but this is what voters do; they always give the President too much blame or credit for the economy-they liked him personally.

That's why Romney had to run on 'Nice guy but-.'

When Romney chose Paul Ryan it totally changed his campaign strategy. Now it was no longer a pure referendum on the Obama economy. Now it was also a referendum on the Ryan budget. That was the problem: while this might have pleased the conservative base, the Ryan budget was not popular with the larger public.

Now it opened up a discussion about privatizing Medicare and deep cuts to the budget.

If Hillary had chosen Warren, a few things would follow:

1. It would show she believes she's losing or at least that she's not winning. Or that at least the road to winning will not be easy.

2. It would also make the election a referendum on Warren's ideology as well. Right now it's a referendum on Trump and the deeply dystopian convention that we just witnessed.

That had chants of 'Lock her up' and 'Yes you will.'

This is the 1964 LBJ playbook. Make it a referendum on someone who scares the country.

"However, Trump is at a potential tactical disadvantage because he’s now committed to a strategy, whereas Democrats get to make the next move at their convention next week. Broadly speaking, Clinton can pick between a 1964 strategy and a 2012 strategy. By a 1964 strategy, I mean that Clinton could seek to portray Trump as unfit for office, as Lyndon Baines Johnson did to Barry Goldwater. Such a strategy might entail making a relatively “safe” vice presidential pick, perhaps one with national security credentials. It wouldn’t necessarily deny that the world had become more chaotic; instead, it would turn the argument around by suggesting that the chaos required Clinton’s steady hand on the tiller."

"The 2012 strategy would emulate Barack Obama’s successful re-election bid, and would operate on the assumption that Democrats have a larger base than Republicans do, provided that they turn out their voters. It would make a more vigorous defense of Obama’s accomplishments and of the condition of the country overall, instead of buying into Trump’s premise that things were going badly. It might involve making a more left-wing VP pick."

Let's face it: it's not tough to argue Trump is unfit for office. She's been running a LBJ strategy until now. No need for a game changer.

Kaine is a smart pick for Clinton. Appeals to the risk averse in a chaotic election. Former Gov, current Sen, from a newish battleground."

"Agree with this. Making a "safe" choice became more obvious as Trump has tilted even more toward demagoguery."

Yes. Trump utterly failed in what he had to do Thursday night. He had to reassure undecided voters that maybe he is up to the job or could be learning.

It's tough to see how anyone who came in thinking he's not qualified-and 60 percent of Americans think he's not qualified would change their minds based on that 80 minute peon to Mussolini.

So why make it a referendum on Elizabeth Warren? The beauty of LBJ in 1964 is that he got a lot of conservatives as well. These were not people who agreed with him ideologically but just those who were terrified of Goldwater.

You don't have to have any particular ideology to think that Trump is a menace to our very constitutional system.

An LBJ strategy won't work every election. But this is one of those where she can pursue a 70-30 strategy rather than 51-49.

UPDATE: Josh Barro had called this in early June:

"The Wall Street Journal has a list of people reportedly being vetted to be Hillary Clinton's running mate. Bernie Sanders is not on it; Elizabeth Warren is."

"But mostly, the list consists of people it would be hard for most voters to form a strong opinion about in either direction: Sen. Tim Kaine, Rep. Tim Ryan, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro."

"This makes sense. Clinton needs a running mate who is like wallpaper: present, but ideally not too noticeable."

"This election is shaping up to be a referendum on Donald Trump. Clinton is not very popular, but Trump is much less popular, and she's going to be depending heavily on votes from people who dislike her but feel they must vote for her over Trump."

"The last thing she wants to do is pick a VP candidate who would become a pet hate for some of those voters, or who would distract from Trump's self-immolation."

Exactly. Why distract from Trump's self-immolation? Speaking of which, Trump plans to run an anti Ted Cruz and John Kasich super PAC if they run again-whether he wins in November or not.

Why on earth would you step on this? Take the layup. 

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