Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Kaine as VP? His Father-in-Law Nearly Was

Holton (left), daughter Tayloe on way to formerly all-black Richmond school.
One of the increasingly solid bets in electoral politics the past few days is the possibility of a Tim Kaine vice presidential run on a ticket with Hillary Clinton, and that would a fascinating development.

Virginia Senator Kaine is the son-in-law of former Virginia Gov. Linwood Holton, the man who was nearly Richard Nixon's second VP. That means Linwood Holton was just this close to becoming president of the free world--instead of Gerald Ford. We would have all been better off it that had happened.

Linwood Holton and Tim Kaine.
Kaine, a former mayor of Richmond, is a highly desirable balance for Clinton, a Southern Democrat and basically a conservative (though Republicans will no doubt consider him wildly liberal, by comparison to them).

He would be a solid choice, much as his father-in-law would have been. Nixon, of course, wound up with Gerald Ford to replace Spiro Agnew, who resigned amid a scandal (before Nixon resigned in the wake of a separate scandal).

It is hard to tell just how seriously Nixon considered Holton, a man with universal support, even though he was Virginia's first Republican governor since the Civil War era. Holton was a liberal and remains a liberal. In recent years he has refused to support people like Oliver North, Republican candidate for governor, and he was outraged by a number of national Republicans (think George Bush). He, of course, endorsed Kaine for the Senate. Kaine's wife, Anne, was Virginia's Secretary of Education.

Linwood and Jinx Holton with Nixon.
Holton is remembered for the then startling decision to send his children to Virginia's newly-integrated schools. His daughter Tayloe was assigned to an all-black school and Linwood cheerfully walked her to school.

Racists (both Democrats and Republicans) were outraged. Linwood was tough. His whole family is tough. Kaine, who married into the family, is tough.

Linwood's son, Woody, who has become a nationally-known historian, was an intern I worked with years ago at The Roanoke Times. Woody reminds me occasionally that I spent a lot of time trying to get him laid but never could. I did, however, manage to get him loaded upon occasion. Woody was a good kid who came under bad influence (me).

As a vice presidential candidate, Kaine--in my opinion--would be an excellent choice to replace Clinton in an emergency, or even after she has run her course.

Linwood Holton, of course, is a bonafide American hero and my guess is that his son-in-law could easily become one.


  1. Holton was duped by a Ron Zeigler impersonator into showing up unannounced at the Nixon White House. He was tricked into thinking Nixon would pick him to replace VP Agnew.

  2. That is incredibly wild speculation. Holton was probably not seriously considered as a VP, but his name was floated because he had such credibility. That, too, is speculation, but it has a better basis than what Anonymous is saying.