‘Believe me!’ Tim Kaine extends an olive branch to the right
‘Does anyone believe Donald Trump has been paying his fair share of taxes?’
PHILADELPHIA — With a tie striped both red and blue, Senator Tim Kaine presented himself, effectively for the first time to the national stage, as the metaphorical olive branch to the Republican Party in his speech at the Democratic National Convention.
In stark contrast to the rest of the DNC, which seemed to ignore the fact that seven in 10 Americans think that the country is going down the wrong path, Kaine began his national address with an expression of gratitude to the military and a feel-good recollection of an all-American upbringing.
“Faith, family and work!” Kaine exclaimed, repeated with the expression in Spanish.
Kaine’s MO did not differ much from Bill Clinton’s strategy last night. Both recalled their progression of adulthood, though to different effect. While Clinton had to restructure a painfully public narrative, Kaine had to grant himself a purpose.
Prior to the last week, Kaine had limited national name recognition. Yet he presented a narrative devoid of the vindication or double-speak plaguing the rest of the DNC.
“Any party who would vote for Donald Trump as president has moved too far from the party of Lincoln,” Kaine said, inviting disaffected Republicans to find “a home in the Democratic Party.”
But this extension of goodwill to Republicans was not met warmly by the Bernie babies. Distinctly audible in the crowd were cries of “Bernie!” and “no TPP!”
The Democratic Party has presented visions of party unity and made no attempt to hide their lack of care for national unity. Yet Kaine made a demonstrated effort to set forth both. Kaine used “service” as an umbrella for democratic socialists and Republicans alike, calling out “si se puede” to throw the progressives a bone.
However, Kaine’s greatest moment of unification was not playing the strident Democrat, but instead doing what Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Kasich desperately needed to do 11 months ago: Kaine got in the mud, hopping off the establishment high horse of “oh, Trump’s racist” and “oh, Trump’s unorthodox” into the only argument capable of penetrating the veneer of the strongman perpetuated by Trump: Trump is false promise, a false messiah, about as reliable as using “trust me” as a sensible condom.
“Trump is a guy who promises a lot…but every time says the same two words: ‘believe me, it’s gonna be great, believe me,'” Kaine told a newly converted crowd.
Quickly the Bernie babies were drowned out by cheers of an audience now introduced to facts instead of feelings.
He attacked Trump’s tax plan on the basis of math, also begging the question: “Does anyone in this auditorium believe that Donald Trump has been paying his fair share of taxes?”
And tragically — or incredibly — both sides of the aisle had to answer a resounding no. After all, Trump has failed to produce his tax returns, exhibit A of reliability (or lack thereof) to fiscal conservatives.
Kaine keenly reserved actual mention of Hillary Clinton until the very end. Unlike every other speech, he did not make apologies or try and sell a lie.
Instead he killed the strawman of Trump, one who could actually be bested by even a candidate as weak as Clinton. Really, you should believe me.