We watched two candidates on different missions last night. Kaine was instructed to trash Trump and Pence was told not to take the bait. Kaine failed and Pence succeeded!
Kaine was forced to be a liberal, a rather uncomfortable place for a man who has carefully avoided the liberal corner as governor and now senator from Virginia. After all, he would have never been nominated by that Democrat convention in North Carolina. He was Mrs Clinton’s choice for two reasons: he is a white pro-life male and very low-key person.
Someone must have told the Virginia senator he needed to always be on his front foot in the debate, always be the aggressor. It didn’t work. Kaine started the debate talking so quickly and trying to load so many Trump attacks into every answer that it made it virtually impossible to grasp any one attack. In the middle of the debate, Kaine seemed to relax into it — delivering an effective attack on Trump’s comments on women. But that Kaine was the exception, not the rule. When he wasn’t trying to stuff 10 pounds of attack in a five-pound bag in his answers, he was relentlessly interrupting Pence. Every single time Pence started to level an attack against Hillary Clinton, Kaine immediately began to talk over him. I’m not sure if that was on purpose or not, but it didn’t come across well — at all. One glaring example: As Pence was recounting his personal experience on Sept. 11, 2001, Kaine interrupted to say, “I was in Virginia.” Um, okay. Not a good look.
It did not work because Senator Kaine was awful at being the nasty person that he is not.
On the other hand, Governor Pence was instructed to be smooth and stay away from traps. And he was smooth and did not fall into the traps that his boss keeps falling into.
The numbers won’t change much after last night. If Clinton loses, don’t expect Kaine to have a future as a Democrat presidential candidate. If Trump loses, watch for Pence to get ready for 2020!