Kaine takes political risk and allows “Choose Life” plates
Governor Tim Kaine is playing on a much different stage than he was a year ago at this time. The Virginia Governor was virtually unknown outside the Commonwealth and the decisions he made as a centrist Democrat could easily be measured by the public opinion polling within the state.
Kaine has quickly become a national figure. It is a position he settled into after being seriously considered as Barack Obama‘s running mate and is ensconced in as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Kaine can no longer ride the moderate fence initially built by Mark Warner and expect there to be no repercussions. He may not be able to, but he is still going to try.
On Monday Kaine announced that he was going to sign into law a controversial proposal that would allow “Choose Life” license plates in Virginia. The plates were strongly pushed by the pro-life community and strongly opposed by the pro-choice lobby. Kaine has had a topsy-turvy relationship with the volatile abortion issue. He claims to be “personally opposed” to the concept, but has committed to accepting it as the law of the land. It is a delicate balance for a man who speaks openly about his Catholic faith. The Roman Catholic church is strictly opposed to abortion.
More about the challenge of being Governor and party chief as well as video of Kaine explaining his support for the bill after the jump..
Kaine gave a reasonable explanation for his support. He cited the Commonwealth’s long standing policy of allowing political statements on license plates and went on to say that if an organization like Planned Parenthood were to submit a request for a plate the state would have to oblige.
That reasonable explanation may not be enough for the party base Kaine is now the leader of. His decision to support the measure became a national story, moving on prominent websites like Politico. He has also become the target of left leaning blogs angry that he made the gesture.
It shows the rocky road the Governor faces over his final few months in office. Navigating perhaps the most challenging year an executive has faced in the Old Dominion at some time, while at the same time meeting the demands of a hungry political party.
Watch Governor Kaine’s explanation for signing the bill below..