Tim Kaine's Not A Pit Bull & Hillary Clinton Shouldn't Try To Make Him One
The polls are in after Tuesday night's Vice Presidential debate — the event that pitted Mike Pence and Tim Kaine against each other to defend their respective presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton The latest assessments, from surveys to pundits, are coming up with a debate win for Pence. According to a CNN post-debate poll, 48 percent of viewers thought the Indiana governor came out on top, compared to 42 percent who thought Kaine had the better night. Even though it's fondly referred to as an "undercard" event, losing's never good. So what happened, and where did Kaine go wrong?
One major part of Kaine's performance that didn't go over well with the electorate, was how Kaine interrupted Pence more than 70 times, according to Business Insider. Kaine appeared to take an offensive role right out of the gate — an unusual move for the camp that is up in the polls. I would've though that Kaine's display of aggression was a more conventional tactic for the team that has nothing to lose and is desperate, like, say, the Trump campaign in the first presidential debate last Monday night.
More importantly, though, it's not in Kaine's nature to be the bully aggressor. We've heard a lot in this election cycle about how the Trump camp has been careful to pick its battles when trying to manage his status as an "outsider" and flawed candidate: "Let Trump Be Trump." It's maybe the one lesson the Clinton camp can take from Trump's — the theory of taking a step back and letting someone do his or her most authentic "thing."
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, got it exactly right Tuesday night in a tweet that sums up perfectly how Kaine dropped the ball — the Clinton camp tried to make Kaine, who is, in his most natural state, the charming, golden retriever of their campaign, into a pit bull. It didn't work; it didn't fool or impress voters. All it got Team Clinton was a confused puppy-mill pooch no one would want to adopt.
It's too bad, too, because Kaine's problem was more in terms of his rhetorical style than what he actually said. As Kristof himself tweeted:
And now Kristof's getting flak for the comparison:
Maybe if Kaine had been his golden retriever self, he would've come out as top dog Tuesday night. Woof.