Sunday, January 4, 2009

Good Governor News, For Once

Tim Kaine, the former Governor of Virginia, is tapped by Obama to run the DNC (one governor out, one governor in, I suppose). I like Tim Kaine, although I wouldn't call him 'charismatic' by any means (his eyebrow is certainly worth a few laughs).

What does this mean? Not too much, as Matthew Yglesias points out--the President is the head of the party.

The importance of the appointment, however, seems to me to be the fact that Virginia is a success story for the Democrats. First Tim Kaine wins governor; then Mark Warner goes on to be a popular governor, then Jim Webb becomes senator. Each of these three are Democrats, but they're Democrats in a different mold than coastal dems like Pelosi or Reid. The utter disdain that Republicans can address Red State voters when saying "Pelosi" or "Reid" doesn't seem to have the same traction if you toss it against Kaine, Warner, or Webb. Each of these men have grasped a balance of toughness and compassion that will do well for the Democrats; how to cast the Democratic message and make it popular in a state which, a decade ago, was firmly red.

We'll see if this mindset works out. Saxby Chambliss, for instance, had a much tougher race in Georgia than most other Southern congressmen. Do I think this means Democrats will eventually dominate the nation? No. But I think we may be entering a less regionalized era of politics. For a short period, we're gonna have more swing states to go round, more swing districts. And Tim Kaine might be the man to put some states back into play that weren't in play before

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