Opinion

SCOT LEHIGH

Warren for VP? Nope. Bet on Tim Kaine

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 21: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) questions U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen during Yellen's testimony before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee June 21, 2016 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from Yellen on "The Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress." (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Elizabeth Warren for VP?

Not gonna happen, folks. Not if either Hillary Clinton or Warren has half a brain — and both are fully equipped in the smarts department.

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Why not? Let me count the reasons.

Clinton is a consider-all-the-angles control freak. Er, candidate. Warren is an untamed, think-something-tweet-something force of nature.

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Clinton likes (nonrogue) Wall Street, and relies on the big-bonus boys for campaign contributions. Warren loathes them — and the feeling is mutual.

Warren is a lefty true believer, one who wants sweeping change. No, she’s not a Sandersesque socialist, but in her heart of hearts, she is probably closer to Feeling the Bern than she is to “I’m with Her” ideologically.

Clinton is a progressive pragmatist focused on the politics of the possible. Her plans, crafted with affordability in mind, qualify as solid steps, not big leaps.

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That’s not to say the two are polar opposites. One thing they share is a skittishness about the press. Clinton’s discomfort with the media is apparent in her cautious, constrained approach. Warren, who picks her interview spots carefully, is less obvious in her aversion, but she regularly hot-foots it away from the Capitol Hill press hoping to catch her on the issues of the day.

Clinton can no doubt survive a presidential campaign that way, particularly given that she’s up against the press-banning-and-berating Donald Trump. But a VP nominee has to be out there mixing it up — and not just on Twitter. And that would take Warren way outside her comfort zone.

Finally, this is Clinton’s time, and her political play. She is not looking for a costar, but rather an able understudy. Warren, Queen of the Left, has shown little inclination to play such a role. She’s political royalty — and she and her staff know it and show it.

As VP nominee, she’d be miserable. It would be worse than the clipped-wings syndrome that former Bill Clinton Rhodes Scholar pal Robert Reich suffered — and detailed in “Locked in the Cabinet,” his memoirs of his days as a liberal secretary of labor urging bolder action on his more cautious and centrist boss.

So why is Clinton vetting Warren? Simple. Because she isn’t vetting Bernie, and she knows she has to at least look at someone from his wing of the party, lest they feel spurned.

Nor does it hurt Warren. She, after all, benefits by the added publicity, the stories, the speculation — though her fans may feel let down when the real choice finally emerges.

And who will that be? If I were a betting man, I’d put my chips on Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia. As a former mayor (Richmond) and governor, he has executive experience, and thus would be seen as an eminently plausible potential president. As a former chairman of the Democratic Party, he scores well on political experience and acumen. A member of both the Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, he’s got highly relevant range. Nor does it hurt that he speaks fluent Spanish.

Clinton is not looking for a costar, but an understudy. Warren, Queen of the Left, has shown little inclination to play such a role.

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Further, electorally, he would aid Clinton in a way Warren wouldn’t. For starters, he would help keep the battleground state of Virginia in the Democratic column. If Trump makes serious Rust Belt inroads, those 13 electoral votes could be an important insurance policy. Further, as a Catholic, he might win Clinton a closer look from white Catholics, who have been trending Republican.

And as for Warren? She already has more visibility and a bigger megaphone than most vice presidents ever obtain. Even in the unlikely event that Clinton offered her a bucket of, um, warm grits, she’d be a fool to take it.

Scot Lehigh can be reached at lehigh@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GlobeScotLehigh.
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