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article imageOp-Ed: The Internet transforms Tim Kaine into countless jokes

By Jack Derricourt     Jul 28, 2016 in Politics
Night three of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia was a doozy. Peaceful protestors collected outside the Wells Fargo Center while some of the biggest characters in American politics took the stage, and the Internet did something strange.
Speakers shared various arguments for the election of Hillary Clinton in 2016. Independent former-mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg made an appeal to his fellow unaffiliated voters and the business community. Vice President Joe Biden came out and delivered possibly the most damning speech against Donald Trump offered by the White House so far. Uncle Joe sure didn't pull any punches.
President Obama, as many anticipated, delivered a speech to rival Bill Clinton’s 2012 Convention speech, passing the baton of influence from one democratic presidency to what many hope is the first female presidency.
The picture painted by these speeches, especially when held up against the Republican National Convention and all of its Ted Cruz fireworks, was one of inclusion. Independents, the current administration, and, in the voice of Tim Kaine, the newly minted 2016 contenders, came together to make the case for a Clinton administration as the common sense choice. Even the rhetoric of Clinton contender Senator Bernie Sanders was adopted and recognized as a crowning part of the current Democratic campaign.
A little more needs to be said on Senator Kaine. The unassuming centre-left politician from Virginia has come under a great deal of scrutiny by voters in recent weeks. Some of his social policies have waived with the winds of changing public opinion, especially in regards to abortion during his time as governor, but most pundits agree that his history inspires them with boredom — which is about as squeaky clean as it gets in established politics.
In a night of big speeches, the Virginia senator’s discussion of his life’s work did not stand out. The man has a good reputation amongst democrats in his home state, he has made himself invaluable to the Obama administration, and Hillary Clinton refers to him as the right kind of boring. But, up against the heavyweights of Biden or Obama, there was never much hope that Kaine, the so-called 'Step-Dad of America', would stand out when it came to his speechifying.
No vice president has ever won an election for a president — though Teddy Roosevelt’s stump speeches must have come pretty close — but they can certainly follow the essential tenet of "do no harm." As if taking that aphorism to the ultimate level, last night the Internet turned Kaine’s speech of political platitudes and general open-hearted acceptance into something weird and wonderful. Almost as soon as it became obvious the speech would rattle on rather predictably, posters on Reddit and Twitter started pouring out jokes. These weren’t simple Trumpisms or heavily-produced late night talk show host skits, but pithy, witty reactions to Tim Kaine’s affable character.
The posts on Twitter were sensational.
The Democratic National Convention thread on Reddit was just as active and imaginative in their posts about the Vigirnia Senator.
Tim Kaine liked and subscribed to your YouTube channel even though you didn't ask him to.
Tim Kaine will never Rick Roll you
Tim Kaine helps navigate his Uber drivers.
Tim Kaine knows the correct way to pronounce "croissant" but doesn't correct people who say it wrong.
Tim Kaine changes his oil every 1000 miles because he likes to help the repair shop stay open.
Tim Kaine wants to Make America Kind Again.
That last one stands out. Really, what we’re witnessing here is a little bit of politics mixed in with a lot of "kindness" — a representation of things people like to see in the world. While the DNC may not have made this stuff rigidly apparent for the viewers at home, the Sanders delegates that feel ignored, or the protestors outside the convention, it exists in the minds of those groups. Completely unintentionally, Senator Kaine unleashed a profusion of goodwill and positivity. Such sentiment is the antithesis of everything the RNC concluded on last week: fear, xenophobia and a very bleak picture of American life. After weeks of the airwaves and the headlines being ruled by hate and division, constructed by too many self-involved parties to name, the people took to the Internet to produce something ephemeral but touching. This is the kind of innocent creativity that the freedom of the Internet allows, even in moments of fear and divisiveness.
While some have covered the onslaught of posts as ‘dad jokes’, I think that sells this outpouring of simple charm short. As Jalopnik says in their headline, though not in their list of Kaine jokes that follow, this may be the kind of positivity and — dare I say it — fun that America needs, entering into this final hurdle of the election cycle. It certainly does no harm. John Adams famously referred to the role of Vice President as “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.” Can't we at least have a little fun with Clinton’s pick for Vice President ‘Step-Dad’ of America?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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