The Accidental Running Mate
Today, Donald Trump put Indiana Governor Mike Pence in position to be one heartbeat away from leadership of what we used to call the Free World. Pence is a world-class Conservative. In 2015 he signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which legalized discrimination based on sexual orientation. This was the case of the bakery that claimed that forcing it to bake a same-sex wedding cake amounted to religious persecution. #NoGayCake.
He also tried to start JustIn, a state-run and taxpayer-funded news service. Remember Tass, the Russian State News Service? You get the idea. But the RFR was his masterwork. The LGBT & Co. started in opposing the RFR, and Pence refused to back down. He defended the bill, while Indiana hospitality and convention businesses flatlined. Companies threatened to withdraw expansion into the state, and other state and municipalities organized boycotts of Indiana products and services. He finally tossed his principles overboard before the ship of state sank. After a week, Pence reversed the law, calling it a revision. “However we got here, we are where we are, and it is important that our state take action to address the concerns that have been raised and move forward,” said the embattled Governor. His delivery was more halting and and his expression more glazed than even the words suggest.
His selection as Trump’s running mate was met with interesting reactions. Conservative ideologue Ann Coulter tweeted, “Off the top of my head, the only person who would be a worse VP than Pence is Newt.” Also, there seemed to be some confusion about the candidate. Rev. Kevin Young wrote: “I can’t believe Trump picked Hunter Pence to be his VP. The signs are going to be crazy.” San Francisco Giant Hunter Pence has been on the disabled list this season. I guess he can’t hit but he can run. Indiana Millennials, a burgeoning demographic, showed the love. “Take him, please, ” they said. Indianans love Pence’s conservatism. They don’t think he can govern or get reelected. Citizen Trump was harboring reservations as late as last night. So too was Candidate Pence. But the die was cast when it was learned that the Governor had landed in New York Thursday evening. For someone ambivalent he didn’t leave himself or his new boss any wiggle room. When Pence was formally announced today, his facial expression was something less than enthusiastic. It was more like a studied grimace.
Candidate Pence may not be the lap dog he is presumed to be. Critics already have the knives out, and busybodies have been sifting through the detritus of former campaigns. He knows how to dance the South Bend Hustle. In an early unsuccessful Congressional run, Pence was found to have used campaign funds for personal expenses. Not illegal but slimey enough perhaps to have cost him the election. The GOP offers us Donald Trump, whose qualifications for high office are seriously questioned, and Mike Pence, for whom no doubts remain.