Now that we can put all that email nonsense behind us, it’s on to other important events that will shape the course of our country for decades to come. Yes, I’m talking about Donald Trump’s choice for vice president. While it won’t make a bit of difference to me regarding my vote for the presidency, it could make a huge difference in my gubernatorial vote because my governor, Mike Pence, is bobbing around the top of Trump’s list of contenders.
DJT will be fundraising in a wealthy suburb north of Indianapolis tomorrow night, and if he decides on Pence, that would be the night to announce it. Pence, up for reelection this year, is reportedly tied—if Indiana polls count for anything—with challenger John Gregg and has until Friday to remove his name from the ballot.
In a *shocking* piece of news, the Republican Governors Association says that they don’t have a strategy to replace Pence should he remove his name and run nationally. Way to play the long game, guys. I keep seeing “Republican Strategist” under people’s names on TV, but I never see much of it happening in a meaningful way.
The only surprise anyone should feel in DJT’s consideration of Pence is that it makes sense in a republican strategist sort of way. In the fractured state of the GOP, the consensus seems to be that Pence could bring some ever-coveted unity and bridge the gap between “insiders” and “outsiders” citing his twelve years in the Senate. With DJT as the presumptive (I hate this word now) nominee, he doesn’t need to ride that outsider rail as hard—compared to Hillary Clinton’s establishment brand, he is on the other side of the planet unless you take his cronyism into account, but I digress.
In addition to unity, the GOP and DJT’s anemic campaign see dollar signs in a Pence staffer who was a top political advisor in DC to the Koch brothers who have yet to support DJT in any way. If Jeb Bush’s campaign was an indication, the person with the most money is not necessarily the sure bet. Oh, Jeb. How I long for those days last summer when you were the presumptive nominee.
Where else has DJT been lacking? Ah, yes! Conservatism. A Pence VP would offer a strongly rooted faith, experience on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and his former professional life as lawyer and conservative radio talk show host—which would imply coherent verbal expression—to balance some well documented and outwardly ignorant statements from he who would be atop the ticket (I’m hard-pressed to decide which is less watchable: off-the-cuff Trump or TelePrompTer Trump). Pence’s record in the Senate includes opposing No child Left Behind, bank bailouts, and Medicare Part D. He was also in a small minority of Senators who spoke at a DC Tea Party Rally in 2009.
As governor of Indiana, my favorite action taken was that he vetoed a bill that would have allowed the governments of my home county and a neighboring county to keep tax money they had been over-collecting for several years instead of returning it. That veto was overridden by the republican-led legislature. That was possibly the last time he and state democrats were on the same page.
A couple of years into his term, a couple of questionable actions brought Pence under fire from both sides. The Indianapolis Star broke the story of a proposed program called Just IN that it dubbbed “state-run media” which snapped conservatives to attention and fueled the argument of reporters that had complained about lack of access to state government. Everything about Just IN seemed, in my considerable experience with the state government, like a press release site albeit with ill-advised job titles and salaries.
Not long after putting the kibosh on that site, Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed and gained national attention as anti-LGBT. After receiving backlash from several large businesses and organizations in the state, Pence signed a second bill protecting those in the LGBT community. That second bill was widely viewed as a capitulation.
But all of this is moot if you are #NeverTrump. I was disappointed in Pence’s diplomatic praise of DJT while softly endorsing Ted Cruz before Indiana’s primary. A headline from Fox59 in Indianapolis recently claimed Pence, on the campaign trail, praised DJT, but the actual quote is: “I think it’s important for every Republican to get on board for Donald Trump,” which sounds more #NeverHillary.
Pence’s acceptance would just add insult to injury for me after Indiana’s deflating primary sealed the delegate lead for DJT (May we not speak of it again). And I like Mike Pence. I made the man a pie for goodness sakes when he stayed at a cabin in the state park where I live. It was a beautiful pie, too. Fresh-picked black raspberries, homemade butter crust, Indiana-shaped cutout—delicious—you should all be jealous. Anyways—
I think he’ll accept if asked, but who knows what DJT will decide—he has shirked Republican strategery (fav Bushism) heretofore. And it’s too bad because they’ll most likely have an insurmountable struggle to win against the lawless Clinton Machine, and I don’t think an establishment bridge, from Pence or otherwise, will span the gap enough. What a crazy, ridiculous election cycle.