Democrats do it right: Obama soars in Philly. Kaine is steady, not shiny

Meet Tim Kaine. He's going to be your next  vice president.

At least I hope he will be.

Kaine is hugely capable with a proven track record of results. But I gotta be fair here so you’ll trust what I’m about to write.

His speech Wednesday night in Philly wasn’t the most thrilling introduction to the American public.

Americans now know that Kaine stands for “faith, family and work.” That he is a man who has spent his life dedicated to public service and giving all Americans a fair shot.

It certainly didn’t feel as electric as Vice President Joe Biden’s emphatic defense of Hillary Clinton’s capabilities, record and love for America. (Note: Biden has never been better and his swan song address was one for the ages). It definitely wasn’t like President Obama’s fiery address that drew chants of “four more years” over and over. And even former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg thrilled the crowd more.

But Virginia Senator Tim Kaine did the job he came to do.

Before he took the stage, upwards of 60 percent of Americans had no idea who Tim Kaine was. Donald Trump was one of them. He confused Kaine with former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean, in a press conference this afternoon.

After his address Wednesday night, Americans now know that Kaine stands for “faith, family and work.”  That he is a man who has spent his life dedicated to public service and giving all Americans a fair shot.

Kaine’s strong record is indisputable. Although currently serving his state as a senator Kaine is also a former governor.

Virginia is doing well: it’s rated one of the best managed states, the best for business and best for raising a child.

He’s been a leader in the fight for common sense gun reform and was the leader Virginia needed after the tragic Virginia Tech shooting that took 32 lives.

He also expanded pre-K and higher education while in office.

In a brilliant stroke Wednesday night Kaine reached out to Republicans who can’t bring themselves to vote for Donald Trump. He discussed his father-in-law, former Republican Governor of Virginia Linwood Holton, who has recently begun voting for Democrats because the GOP isn’t the “party of Lincoln” any more.

In another wise move, he took the time to praise Bernie Sanders for all he’s done for the Democratic Party and progressives. His words drew one of Sanders’s megawatt smiles.

Kaine isn’t an Elizabeth Warren level attack dog, but he took on Donald Trump in his speech pointing out that you “can’t believe one word that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth.”

He added that Americans who believed him in business got ripped off and pointed to former First Lady Barbara’s Bush’s comment that she didn’t know how any woman could vote for him after his offensive comments.

And then there was this winning line: “No major party nominee in our history has ever known less than Donald Trump.”

Still, progressives are not thrilled with Clinton’s choice in picking Kaine. He is personally pro-life, was pro TPP (until recently) and he’s seen as a friend to Wall Street.

Progressives were also hoping that Clinton would put a Latino on the ticket and the fact that Kaine speaks fluent Spanish just isn’t the same thing.

So what is Kaine? He’s a moderate. There, I said it.

And a moderate is just what the Democrats need in an election where upwards of 40 percent of Americans identify as independents and we are seeing record levels of undecideds at this late stage. Independents are also one of the only groups where Trump is leading over Clinton -- along with non-college educated whites.

Most crucially, on Wednesday night Kaine showed us what a big fan of Hillary Clinton he is. He discussed her tested passion for putting kids and families first, her accomplishments as a senator who helped New Yorkers after 9/11 and then as secretary of state in implementing tough sanctions against Iran and forcefully arguing for the mission that took out Usama bin Laden. He also reminded us that she will fight tooth and nail to protect Roe v. Wade and work to get women equal pay.

Those are the values of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Joe and Jill Biden and Barack and Michelle Obama. Kaine told us that on Wednesday night. They’re also his values.

While Kaine might not seem like the most exciting choice for a running mate, he fits Clinton’s candidacy to a T: he has the judgment and experience for the job just like she does. Plus, she really likes him. When the two of them are together you can see an ease and comfort that will bring out the best in Clinton during her time in office.

And that’s what matters most of all.