|Kanie and me during an impromptu interview when he was governor.|
He has been a Richmond mayor, a governor and a senator from the Old Dominion. He was head of the national Democratic Party, which has remained viable in a potentially red Southern state.
He is not nearly as conservative as many liberal Dems will fear. He is more conservative than I am, but then so are Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
- Though he is personally opposed to abortion, he has made it clear that he is pro-choice in the practical sense. (His Planned Parenthood rating is 100 percent.)
- He strongly favors gun control in a state where the NRA is based and has spent a ton of money opposing him.
- Kaine has raised taxes when necessary.
- He helped pass universal pre-K.
- He made Virginia, a state whose leading farm product used to be tobacco (it's ornamental trees now) the first Southern state to ban smoking in public places.
- He opposes the death penalty.
- Before his political career, he worked professionally fighting housing discrimination.
- He speaks fluent Spanish.
- He is a former missionary.
- He has never lost an election. Remember that he clobbered the popular George Allen for his senate seat--one Allen had held.
- His father-in-law, Linwood Holton is a former (left-leaning) Republican governor of Virginia who sent his children to newly-integrated public schools and whom Richard Nixon considered as vice president to replace the disgraced Spiro Agnew (the one he picked, Gerald Ford, ascended to the presidency). His political career began in Roanoke.
- His wife, Anne (whom I adore), is secretary of education in Virginia.
- His brother-in-law (and my old pal) is Woody Holton, a college professor at VCU and an outstanding historian. Woody served a newspaper internship in Roanoke and he tells me I was his "handler" (I'm old, so I forget things).