Indiana Gov. Mike Pence was announced as Donald Trump’s VP choice in true Donald Trump manner — on Twitter, in an abrupt flip-flop.
In the wake of the horrific attacks in Nice, Donald Trump said he would postpone the official announcement of his VP pick, originally scheduled for Friday. In a quick turnabout, he decided to announce the pick on Twitter on Friday after all, delaying only the formal photo-op announcement until Saturday. But in a real sense, the Twitter announcement is the official one for a candidate who seems to live to tweet.
One thing is for sure — you won’t get any surprises from Mike Pence, especially if you expect to be disappointed. And that holds true no matter what your political orientation. Liberal and progressive voters detest Pence’s stands on the issues, and conservatives question his commitment and competency.
At least Pence is objectionable in different ways than the mercurial and unorthodox Trump. Pence personifies misguided ultra-conservative approaches in a low-key, non-bombastic way. He’s much more of a traditional GOP bogeyman. Democratic strategists will be relieved to have at least one target who conforms to the traditional playbook.
Pence’s biggest moment in the national spotlight was in spearheading Indiana’s ill-advised and spectacularly mishandled Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The law legalized discrimination against LGBT Americans, sparking a backlash. The business community revolted, forcing Pence into a humiliating retreat.
Mike Pence’s economic policies have been hostile to the middle class and the poor while rewarding the ultra rich. He has consistently opposed increasing the minimum wage and even signed a law that allowed skilled construction workers in Indiana to have their pay rates cut.
He has supported privatizing Social Security and voucherizing Medicare, all the while advocating huge tax cuts for corporations and the rich.
If Pence’s conservative politics alienate progressive voters, his seeming inability to effectively move his agenda forward has the right wing up in arms. Conservative commentator Ann Coulter called Pence a “combo-platter of disaster” and “Trump’s first mistake.”
While I don’t agree that this is Trump’s first mistake, we can find common ground in agreeing it is a mistake.
There is a reason that Gov. Pence was willing to drop his re-election bid to board the Trump crazy train. Even in conservative Indiana, his combination of extremism and incompetence put his prospects of winning reelection very much in doubt.
That this is the best he could do — and the best Donald Trump could do — says a lot about both men on the GOP ticket.