Tim Kaine, former governor of Virginia and current head of the Democratic National Commitee, has been the target of bitter criticism from liberal members of his own party for the recent string of embarrassing election losses in his own state, New Jersey and Massachusetts. One of candidate Barack Obama's earliest supporters, Kaine's political stock was soaring just a year ago. Now his portfolio has tanked.
But the latest call for Kaine's resignation as DNC chairman from former Virginia governor and Democratic wise man Doug Wilder, who savaged him in a piece in Politico (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0210/32741.html) has got to hurt:
“I am an admirer of Tim Kaine, whom I backed in his current position as one of my successors as Virginia governor and even recommended for the vice presidency. But a spate of recent losses in races that Democrats should have won underscores what has been obvious to me for a long time: The chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee is the wrong job for him,” Wilder wrote.
Wilder also said he warned Obama about the impending landslide defeat of Virginia Democrat Creigh Deeds, who Wilder refused to endorse, and who went on (in Wilder's words) to lose by “more votes and by a higher percentage than had ever happened since we ended one-party government rule 50 years ago.” The first black governor also warned the first black president that the same thing is likely to happen in the “pivotal” congressional mid-terms if Kaine stays at the DNC and Obama does not get rid of his own “admittedly brilliant advisers who helped elect him [and replace them] with others more capable of helping him govern.”
Wilder's frank advice to fire Kaine and shake up the White House staff hit a nerve among Democrats, judging by angry blogger reaction (Democratic Underground's “Doug Wilder needs to shut his pie hole” is one of the tamest responses). But with the president's new budget and the upcoming trials of Gitmo detainees, Wilder's other reasons for dumping Kaine – his $1 billion tax increase as governor of Virginia and his release of a convicted killer – also apply to the Obama administration.