[Note: this piece is a sidebar to Move Over—Over and Over: Media’s rightward push for Democrats]
So who do political reporters now expect to close the “cultural gap” that supposedly prevents Democrats from winning at the polls? Many look to Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who represents many of the centrist qualities media insiders prescribe for Democratic electoral success. Newsweek’s Howard Fineman (11/21/05) wrote that Kaine “provided a road map into the cultural mainstream for national Democrats.”
The Washington Post’s Fred Hiatt (2/20/06) described Kaine as an advocate of “pragmatic politics, stressing sound management and moderate bipartisanship over ideology.” Hiatt advised “Democrats nationally looking for ways to climb out of minority status” to emulate Kaine’s desire “to cooperate with Republicans”; Kaine, Hiatt wrote, “flashed a kind of toughness” by appointing Republicans to his cabinet.
U.S. News & World Report columnist Gloria Borger (11/21/05) wrote that Kaine’s “red state” victory happened because he “portrayed himself as a values-driven candidate—not exactly the traditional party mold.” Borger wondered, however, if members of Kaine’s party would choose him as a candidate: “Sad to say,” she wrote, “there is the real question of whether liberal Democratic primary voters would approve of a moderate approach to anything”—bolstering this observation with a soundbite from a Republican congressmember.