Saturday, July 02, 2016


The Trump campaign is vetting Indiana governor Mike Pence for the running-mate slot:
Donald Trump met with potential VP pick Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Friday, according to the New York Times.

Pence is believed to be on Trump's vice presidential shortlist, which the presumptive nominee has said is down to four or five people.

Pence and his staff have recently denied communication with the Trump campaign. But another NBC report from Thursday also said Pence is among those being vetted for Trump's running mate.
Now, you've probably run across this argument in the past year: Yes, Trump is awful, but in a lot of ways he's better than most Republicans. He's not really homophobic. He opposed the Iraq War really early. He's not in league with the Koch brothers. And he says he wants to preserve Social Security.

Mike Pence as Trump's running mate would be extremely awful in all of these areas. He'd fill in many of Trump's awfulness gaps.

* Homophobia: Not only did Pence sign a "religious freedom" law that allowed Indiana businesses to discriminate against gay people, he also has a long history of opposition to LGBT rights:
In 2010, Pence signed an open letter by the anti-gay marriage Family Research Council that ran in Politico and the Washington Examiner expressing support for organizations that oppose same-sex marriage and "protect and promote natural marriage and family." (A year earlier, the FRC's Tony Perkins praised Pence for joining a private briefing with local pastors on efforts to pass a traditional "marriage protection amendment." Perkins praised Pence as a "solid ally on this issue in the U.S. House.")

In December 2010, Pence appeared on CNN and argued against repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.... He said that repealing the act would be using the American military "as a backdrop for social experimentation."

... Not surprisingly, during his time in the House, Pence voted "yes" on legislation defining marriage as only between one man and one woman, and he opposed legislation that prohibited workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In 2011, an opinion piece by Wendy Kaminer in The Atlantic quoted Pence arguing that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act "wages war on freedom of religion in the workplace."
A flyer on the website for Pence's 2000 congressional campaign not only denounced the presence of gays in the military but argued for government spending on conversion therapy:
• Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexual’s [sic] as a "discreet [sic] and insular minority" entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.

• Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.

* The Iraq War: Wikipedia notes:
Pence supported the joint resolution authorizing military action against Iraq....

During the Iraq War, he opposed setting a public withdrawal date from Iraq. During an April 2007 visit to Baghdad, Pence and John McCain visited Shorja market, the site of a deadly attack in February, 2007, that claimed the lives of 61 people.... Pence and McCain described the visit as evidence that the security situation in Iraqi markets have improved.... The visit was criticized by the New York Times as giving a false indication of how secure the area was due to the extremely heavy security forces McCain brought with him.
(Sources at the link.)

* The Koch brothers: Politico, August 2014:
If Mike Pence decides to run for president, he could enter the race with a big advantage from a very important place: Koch World.

The Indiana governor is getting a closer look as a potential 2016 presidential candidate, and there’s a growing sense among GOP operatives that he has a leg up over other contenders when it comes to winning the favor of the political network fronted by the billionaire conservative megadonors Charles and David Koch.

A number of Pence’s former staffers from his days in Congress have assumed major roles in the brothers’ corporate and political spheres. And Americans for Prosperity, the Kochs’ top political group, has been holding up Pence’s work in Indiana as emblematic of a conservative reform agenda they’re trying to take nationwide.
(Question: Is the Trump campaign vetting Pence in order to gain access to Koch cash?)

* Social Security: Not only did Pence support the drive to privatize Social Security in the Bush years, he actually tried criticized Bush from the right on this issue. Here's a 2005 story from Human Events:
Conservative Republican congressmen want action from the Bush Administration on Social Security reform. Rep. Mike Pence (R.-Ind.) warned Tuesday that House conservatives are growing increasingly frustrated by the lack of a concrete proposal from President Bush to reform Social Security with personal retirement accounts. “A lot of us House conservatives believe you can’t beat nothing with nothing,” Pence told a gathering of journalists at the Heritage Foundation. “I really believe the time has come for the President of the United States to put a concrete proposal on the front doorstep of Congress and take that proposal in detail to the American people.” Pence, chairman of the conservative House Republican Study Committee, supports a plan known as Ryan-Sununu, named after its sponsors, Rep. Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.) and Sen. John Sununu (R.-N.H.).
Trump is slightly less than horrible on a few issues. He could get to fully horrible with Pence's help.


Victor said...

'...the act would be using the American military "as a backdrop for social experimentation."'

Ya gotta love it!
Mike "The Bigoted and Dense" Pence, used the same argument bigoted conservatives used against Truman's integration of the military in 1948.

The more things change...

tRUMP wants an experienced bigoted conservative asshole who knows DC, and is willing to bring him McDonalds whenever he wants.

Christie is a bloated bigoted conservative asshole who's more than willing to do the latter, but he has little DC experience.
That leaves either Pence or Gingrich, imo.

Maybe Steve King or Louis Gohmert can come into tRUMP Towers, bringing McDonalds "food," and get themselves on the list?

Philo Vaihinger said...

A president's VP is generally his most likely successor.

Trump is vetting several people for the job, none of them genuine Trumpists in their known views and positions, and some very standard conservatives quite at cross purposes with the Big Government and New Deal friendly campaign he has run, like this guy.

A let-down for his rust belt, working class constituency, this is also a signal and a cozying up to the conservative establishment, allaying concerns at the possible Trumpification of the party, should he win.

Ten Bears said...

They're putting a lot of effort into getting Clinton elected.

sdhays said...

He opposed the Iraq War really early.

I've certainly heard this many times now, but I really wish it would never be said again without pointing out it's a bald-faced lie. We have him on tape in 2003 claiming to support the invasion of Iraq and he endorsed George W. Bush in 2004. If by "early", people mean "2015", then sure, he opposed the Iraq War "early", for a Republiklan.

Also, not being "in league with the Koch brothers" doesn't mean that he isn't 100% on board with everything they want. The Koch brothers find Trump distasteful and they don't like it when he says intemperate things about other rich people, but that's all it is - talk. Even the hedge fund managers which Trump fairly consistently takes to task would make out like bandits under Trump's tax proposals (such as they are).

I think it's true that he's not as homophobic as a lot of other Republiklans, but that's a low bar and I think they best you can say is that he doesn't give a shit. He's definitely no friend to the LGBT community and wouldn't hesitate to throw them under the bus as soon as it was expedient.

Social Security - yeah, you can make that argument. He's been consistent on that, although I think all it would take would be for someone to cut him into the grift to make him a privatizer overnight.

I know you know this, Steve, but the Iraq War angle really bugs me because Trump made a huge deal out of opposing the Iraq War since forever and his pathetic opponents and the mainstream media just let him have that one. It's such a blatant lie on the last thing anyone should even think of lying about, and no one seems to care. "Donald Trump opposed the Iraq War" is basically accepted as fact by our servile pundits, and it's just disgusting.

Victor said...

"Servile pundits," just take stenography.
That's what they call "reporting."
YOU decide!

Al in PDX said...

Trump to Pence: "You complete me."

Tom239 said...

sdhays said, "I think it's true that he's not as homophobic as a lot of other Republiklans, but that's a low bar and I think they best you can say is that he doesn't give a shit. He's definitely no friend to the LGBT community and wouldn't hesitate to throw them under the bus as soon as it was expedient."

I think that sums it up pretty well. Bus-underthrowing-willingness has already been observed:

Chris Wallace: "Are you saying that if you become President you might try to appoint justices to overrule the decision on same-sex marriage?"
Trump: "I would strongly consider that, yes."

(as reported by Andy Towle back in January)

Feud Turgidson said...

Is "vetting" a sack of hammers like Squaring a pile of shit?

Sexing a box of bludgeons? Auditing an array of axes? Culling from a collection of cudgels? Pondering bpptheels? Scrutinizing thumbscrew? Scoping shivs?

KenRight said...

On war, yeah if you had a Sanders-Kucinich ticket they could beat Trump-Pence every which way but flower in your front shirt pocket, soldier. Well, except for Sanders okaying drone bombing and the unjust attack on Serbia.

Unfortunately Clinton/Warren don't even make a show of abandoning reckless interventionism.

Maxwell's Demon said...

Doesn't speak well for the level of education in Indiana when the former Congressman now Governor has such basic errors on his website (extra apostrophe and "discreet" instead of "discrete").
Also how ridiculous have things become that upon first glance I read the phrase "Ryan White Care Act" as the "Ryan - White Care Act" instead of the "Ryan White - Care Act"?

AllieG said...

Wasn't it Matt Yglesias years ago who said Pence was the dumbest person he'd ever met in Washington?

Paul W said...

It doesn't matter who Trump vets for his Veep pick, it's still going to be a lousy pick.

There are few current or former Republicans with the appropriate amount of political experience that would impress the general electorate. So many of them are beholden either to the tax-cut anti-government frauds or beholden to the God-and-Guns anti-government radicals that there's going to be a Republican VP with nothing pleasing or acceptable to the rest of us.

And of course, the goddamn mainstream media will gush over the pick as "exciting" or "practical" and "game-changing" because that's the goddamn script anymore.

Pardon my Swedish.

Lucia said...

Bottom line: it doesn't matter who Trump picks, he'll still be Trump.