A curious thing has happened to Mike Pence, governor of Indiana and Donald Trump’s doomed running mate. For some reason he eagerly jumped onto the Trump Train after an empty-hearted endorsement of Texas Senator Ted Cruz in the primaries, despite the fact that he disliked Cruz and loathed Trump. Of course Pence loyalists will dispute that, but news reports quoting Indiana insiders all said Pence did not like the phony billionaire.
But like a good pol, Pence didn’t burn any bridges because he knew there was this grass roots movement that fuels the GOP base supporting Donald Trump all the way to the Republican nomination for president. As a dutiful Republican insider, Pence knew what he needed to be re-elected governor and, just maybe, he could catch a ride on that Trump Train if the stars align just right — which they did.
One of the odd aspects of this union between Trump and Pence was the number of pundits and GOP insiders that claimed Pence was a principled conservative who was soft-spoken when it came to his principles.
Mike Pence is a friend to the Ricketts Family, the people who own the Chicago Cubs. Besides fielding the best team in baseball this season, the Ricketts are also heavily involved in extremely right wing politics. They funded an anti-Trump Super Pac. Before the Indiana primary the Ricketts held an anti-Trump fundraiser at Wrigley Field that Pence attended. His principles extended as far as his friends could pay for them.
Then, after nearly locking up the Republican nomination, Trump acquiesced to the pressure from those in his campaign to pick a running mate that would appeal to the other part of the GOP base that wanted an actual Republican — in good standing without any whiff of scandal — on the ticket. The big rumor was Trump wanted his good buddy, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has just been subpoenaed by a federal court, as his Veep choice. But he chose Mike Pence instead and ever since the Indiana governor has been a leading surrogate for the racist, misogynistic xenophobe.
Pence has been on board with Trump ever since. After first brushing off Trump’s admission that he commits sexual assault because he’s a celebrity, Pence did say, “As a husband and a father I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the eleven-year old video released yesterday. I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them.”
Since then the governor has been parroting or approving every nutty thing Trump’s alt right advisors tell him to say. Governor Mike Pence is now part of the cabal of conspiracy nuts. He would be right at home on Alex Jones’ InfoWars and Breitbart.com. Which is no stretch since Trump’s campaign CEO is Breitbart publisher Stephen Bannon.
Last week First Lady Michelle Obama gave an impassioned speech in New Hampshire about what electing Donald Trump would mean to America, especially the young boys and girls. “This is disgraceful. It is intolerable. And it doesn’t matter what party you belong to — Democrat, Republican, independent — no woman deserves to be treated this way. None of us deserves this kind of abuse.”
How did Governor Pence react? “I have a lot of respect for the first lady and the job that she’s done for the American people over the last seven and a half years. But I don’t understand the basis of her claim. I already spoke about my concerns about the language that he used in that 11-year-old video. What he’s made clear is that was talk — regrettable talk — on his part but that there were no actions and he’s categorically denied these latest unsubstantiated allegations.”
Really? He doesn’t understand why the First Lady of the United States spoke out against a candidate who bragged about sexually assaulting women, who let a radio host refer to his daughter as a “piece of ass,” who, during the GOP primary campaign called women “pigs,” “fat,” “ugly,” and “Pocahontas,” to name a few of his insults. For a large majority of Americans that is a no-brainer.
It’s funny because Trump threatened to sue the Gray Lady over the articles written about Trump’s alleged transgressions against women — after Trump dared people to accuse him of doing the things he bragged about to Billy Bush and Howard Stern.
Their response: “The essence of a libel claim, of course, is the protection of one’s reputation. Mr. Trump has bragged about his non-consensual sexual touching of women. He has bragged about intruding on beauty pageant contestants in their dressing rooms. He acquiesced to a radio host’s request to discuss Mr. Trump’s own daughter as a ‘piece of ass.’ Multiple women not mentioned in our article have publicly come forward to report on Mr. Trump’s unwanted advances. Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself.”
The media can’t debase the candidate any more than he has debased himself. And this is who Mike Pence has tied his reputation to for the next 22 days.
It isn’t curious at all really. Mike Pence has been anti-woman for as long as he’s been on the public stage. As governor he signed one of those repugnant anti women’s health care bills that, among other things, require doctors to have admitting privileges to hospitals, or to have an agreement with a doctor who does have those privileges. It has many other restrictions, like requiring the doctors to offer the woman the “remains” of the abortion; require ultrasounds, forcing the women to get informed consents, Draconian reporting requirements, it’s a doozy of a bill.
Thankfully a federal judge blocked it from going into effect, but it says everything women need to know about Governor Pence’s level of respect for women.
Now, he wants to insinuate Michelle Obama has no business calling out a misogynistic, xenophobic, racist and fascist pig like Donald Trump. That’s rich.
“… if we have a President who routinely degrades women, who brags about sexually assaulting women, then how can we maintain our moral authority in the world? How can we continue to be a beacon of freedom and justice and human dignity?” Good question.
And just for your entertainment, Jeff Daniels goes Will McAvoy on Trump.
Top photo: Indiana Governor Mike Pence at the Republican National Convention (YouTube)
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the elected government officials and business were so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that.