- The Washington Times - Monday, October 3, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine flip-flops on the presidential campaign trail have been head-spinning. In order to get in line with Hillary Clinton, Mr. Kaine had to abandon his support for the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership, his position on the Hyde amendment and his support for off-shore drilling.

All of Mr. Kaine’s more moderate positions have been erased — he’s turned as progressive as his running-mate. So, going into Tuesday night’s vice-presidential debate, here are the three whoppers Mr. Kaine has had to pivot on — or talk out of both sides of his face — to concerned constituents.

1.) Position on Hyde Amendment — forcing taxpayers to fund abortion.

Mr. Kaine had five positions in July on forcing voters to fund abortions, and it’s still not clear where he stands. The last time Mr. Kaine spoke about the issue, on July 29 to CNN, he told the cable news outlet that “I have been for the Hyde amendment. I haven’t changed my position on that.”

Except, that’s not true. Three days prior, a spokesperson for the Clinton campaign told the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Kaine is personally opposed to repealing Hyde, but supports Mrs. Clinton in repealing: “The senator is not personally for repeal of the Hyde Amendment. But as he’s made clear, he is committed to carrying out Secretary Clinton’s agenda.”

To be clear: Mrs. Clinton’s agenda is to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which would allow for the taxpayer funding of abortions.

According to a Marist poll, 62 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, including 45 percent of those who say they are “pro-choice,” and 44 percent of Democrats. According to Gallup, one-third of Democrats identify themselves as pro-life. The Clinton/Kaine ticket has given up on these Democrats, pushing their ticket to become one of the most progressive on abortion of all time.

2.) In a miraculous conversion, Mr. Kaine jumped on Mrs. Clinton’s campaign and started to oppose offshore drilling. In 2013, Mr. Kaine co-sponsored a bill in the Senate that called for the opening of waters off the coast of Virginia to oil and gas drilling.

“Virginia is well-positioned to be a national leader in offshore energy exploration. A comprehensive energy strategy — including oil, gas, wind, solar, tidal and other areas — can transition us to a clean energy future while bridging that transition with secure U.S. fuels we don’t have to import,” Mr. Kaine said at the time. He even penned a Washington Post op-ed, calling for the development of offshore energy in the Atlantic.

But, the Obama administration was not on-board — and neither is Mrs. Clinton’s campaign. The Department of Defense said off-shore drilling may interrupt some military operations, so the administration used that report as a reason not to pursue. At the time of the report, Mr. Kaine questioned its findings, and said he looked forward to better understanding its position.

No longer. At a rally in New Hampshire this August, Mr. Kaine was asked if he supported a ban on offshore drilling: “Well, I actually am now in that position, because the Obama administration has decided not to do offshore drilling because the Defense Department objects, and I share those objections,” Mr. Kaine said in a video of his response that was tweeted out by 350 Action, an environmental advocacy group.

3.) Mr. Kaine supported the Trans-Pacific Trade deal up until the point he became Mrs. Clinton’s running mate, where he denounced it. According to a report from Politico, Mr. Kaine was singing the trade-deal’s virtues one day before coming on Mrs. Clinton’s ticket.

“I am having discussions with a lot of groups around Virginia about the treaty itself. I see much in it to like,” Mr. Kaine said during a series of roundtable events in suburban northern Virginia, the day prior to becoming Mrs. Clinton’s running mate, Politico reported. “I think it’s an upgrade of labor standards, I think it’s an upgrade of environmental standards. I think it’s an upgrade of intellectual property protections.”

Mr. Kaine was one of 13 senators who voted to give Mr. Obama fast-track status on the trade bill, and advocated on behalf of the treaty to leaders in Richmond.

“I am in engaged in discussions with Virginians who care about this on both sides,” Mr. Kaine told Politico on July 11. “Kind of every week or two, somebody’s in my office, or I’m with somebody in the state talking about it.”

Then, on July 23, the day after being named to Mrs. Clinton’s ticket, Mr. Kaine when on record saying he couldn’t support TPP in its current form. A Clinton aide confirmed to news outlets that Mr. Kaine had made a private commitment to Clinton that he would now oppose TPP, falling in line with the former secretary of state’s declared view on the trade deal.

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