Sunday, July 17, 2016

Trump picks Mike Pence for VP. One PR consultant calls him: "Sarah Palin without the charisma."

It looks like Donald Trump may really want to win this thing.   Why do I say that?   Because he seems to be listening to his adult children and to experienced political strategists instead of his own gut.   His choice of Mike Pence for his running mate is definitely a political choice that pleases Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and Reince Priebus plus the Tea Party crowd.   Definitely intended to signal that Trump is trying to appear to be a serious candidate.

Here are some advantages, as seen by conservatives.   Pence is a very conservative, devout evangelical Christian, vehemently anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-union, pro-Iraq war.  He opposed equal pay for women, wants to overturn Roe v Wade and defund Planned Parenthood.  He was an architect of Tea Party strategy to shut down the government, and he calls climate change a myth and opposes raising the minimum wage.

He will make wavering Republicans a little more comfortable, having a regular, experienced politician on the ticket with Trump.   To assure the religious right vote, he's a great choice.   And he makes a fair-to-middling attack dog against Hillary Clinton .   In short, he's a pretty good "Not-Trump" who is willing to become a Trump puppet.

The list of negatives is longer.  He is a disaster in confrontational TV interviews trying to defend the indefensible, which he will be called upon to do regularly.  He signed into law the infamous "religious freedom" bill in Indiana that brought such an economic backlash that his Republican legislature quickly did a makeover.   He is politically unpopular in his own state, facing a possible loss in his own re-election bid.   He earlier called Trump "unacceptable" and said his ban on Muslims was "offensive and unconstitutional."    So now he is Trump's  running mate.   He's also been a supporter of NAFTA and TPP trade agreements.   That will have to go.

In addition, Pence appears not very smart and doesn't seem to understand bills he signs into law.   He really didn't get it that the religious freedom law would have allowed anti-gay discrimination.   The same about anti-abortion bills that he pushed when he was in Congress.  As Indiana governor, he championed and signed a bill to get rid of a needle-exchange program, then had to reinstate it when the HIV infection rate soared.

Those were what I thought were negatives from a Republican perspective.    There are dozens more that Democrats can raise during the campaign.    Any running mate Clinton is considering will make mincemeat of him in their debate.   After the George Stephanopolis TV interview, Pence's home state newspaper, the IndyStar, seemed to be questioning his competence, not just his positions, when they wrote this:
When you have to "clarify" a horribly damaging piece of legislation that you raced to sign, when you dodge a question on national TV about whether discrimination is legal in your state, when you deal your state a crushing economic blow, when you seem incapable of understanding the role you have played in creating this mess -- well, that makes clear that you are not in the right job.
The heads of the Human Rights Campaign and NARAL Pro-Choice America have already pointed out his anti-gay and anti-women policies as lacking compassion and fairnessTrump unpopularity with women voters is already huge;  Pence will only make it worse.

Yes, I am bashing Trump's choice (although it's questionable that Pence was really his choice).    But understand that I would have been just as negative about either Gingrich or Christie --  just negative about different things.

The truth is that Pence on the ticket will probably energize Sanders supporters to come out to vote for Clinton, more than either Christie or Gingrich, because of his far right policy positions.   And it gives Clinton greater freedom to choose the person she most wants as her vice president, without regard for what he or she brings to the ticket politically.  And that's very good.


No comments:

Post a Comment