News For The Well-Intentioned, Semi-Informed Layperson – a well-intentioned attempt to semi-inform the American citizenry.

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It’s official.

After much hemming and hawing, teasing and Newting, Donald J. Trump has selected his running mate for the 2016 Presidential Election…

Indiana Governor Mike Pence!

TrumpPenceFinger

But who is Mike Pence, you ask?

Good question…

A TABLE OF CONTENTS:

A Summary…

  • Meet Mike Pence
  • What Mike Pence Believes In
  • Why Trump Chose Mike Pence to be His VP
  • What To Make Of All This

A Summary of That Summary…
In One Tweet or Less
A Reasonable Opinion to Have
What You Could Say to Sound Extra Smart
Further Reading

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MikePenceSmile

A Summary…

Meet Mike Pence

A Quick Bio

Mike Pence was born in Columbus, Indiana in 1959; making him 57, for those with bad mental-math skills. He graduated from Hanover College (a small liberal arts school in Indiana) in 1981, earned his law degree from Indiana University in 1986, and if it isn’t already obvious by now, absolutely loves the state of Indiana#.

After graduating from law school in 1986, Mike Pence worked as a private-practice attorney; running unsuccessfully for Congress in both 1988 and 1990 against Democratic incumbent Phil Sharp. He was hired as president of the free-market think-tank the Indiana Policy Review Foundation in 1991, but left the organization only three years later to host The Mike Pence Show – a conservative talk radio show that he described as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf”#.

 

Pence’s Political Career

In 2000 – a full decade after his last unsuccessful run for Congress – Mike Pence was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, with 50.9% of the vote. During his six terms in Congress, he most notably belonged to the Tea Party Caucus# and served on the Foreign Affairs Committee#. In 2009, he was unanimously elected to the GOP’s #3 gig, Republican Conference chairman, where he helped craft the party’s message in such a way that it was able to take back the House in 2010 after its historic shellacking in 2008.

In 2012, Pence decided to run for Governor of Indiana (the incumbent, Republican Mitch Daniels, was term-limited). A very close, three-candidate race saw Pence hold on to defeat Democratic nominee John R. Gregg, with 49.67% of the vote.

*Over the course of his 12-year tenure in the House of Representatives, Mike Pence introduced 90 bills and resolutions – none of which became law.

 

Some Fun Facts to Humanize the Man

Mike Pence…

  • grew up a Kennedy-worshiping, Catholic Democrat# (he is now a devout evangelical Christian)
  • loves Moose Tracks ice cream
  • has a beagle named Maverick and two cats, Pickle and Oreo

 

What Mike Pence Believes In

At the 2010 Value Voter Summit, Pence said:

“I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican – in that order.

If that, somehow, doesn’t satisfy you…

Mike Pence LIKES…

AMERICAN SAFETY!

Mike Pence has called for large increases in military spending and has criticized his Democratic colleagues who do not use the phrase “Islamic extremism” when discussing terrorism. He is a strong supporter of the state of Israel and a proponent of enhanced interrogation measures for prisoners at Guantánamo Bay.

After the terrorist attacks in Paris, Pence suspended the resettlement of Syrian refugees to the state of Indiana “to ensure the safety and security of all Hoosiers.” However, a federal judge ruled Pence’s order was unconstitutional and “clearly discriminate[d] against Syrian refugees based on their national origin.”

*In 2009, Pence opposed birthright citizenship – the legal principle set forth by the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment that maintains all persons born on U.S. soil are citizens.

 

CUTTING TAXES!

Mike Pence has been a proponent of a flat federal tax rate, and in his first State of the State address pitched a ballsy 10% cut to “unleash half a billion dollars” into Indiana’s economy. He did end up getting the income tax cut by 5% and killed the inheritance tax, in what came to be the largest tax cut in Indiana’s history.

To his credit, he has been able to maintain a balanced budget despite all this tax cutting, though this is mostly because he keeps Indiana’s spending growth rate below inflation.

 

“RIGHT-TO-WORK” LAWS!

In 2012, Indiana became the first state in more than a decade to enact a “right-to-work” law, when outgoing Republican Governor Mitch Daniel signed legislation that gave employees the “right to work” without being required or compelled to join a union (effectively, a union-busting law the Economic Policy Institute says isn’t even raising wages like it said it would).

Two different judges in Indiana – one in 2013 and one in 2014 – concluded the legislation “violated the Constitution’s guarantee of compensation for services,” but Mike Pence appealed the ruling the to the state’s Supreme Court and won in an unanimous decision.

*Since Indiana brought this back into fashion, “right-to-work” laws have also been passed in Republican-controlled statehouses like Wisconsin’s and West Virginia’s.

 

Mike Pence DOESN’T LIKE…

OBAMACARE!

Mike Pence wants to repeal Obamacare. Yes, he did sign an agreement with the Obama administration last year to expand Medicaid in Indiana for its residents living in or near poverty (taking advantage of the Affordable Care Act to do so), but only if a few certain, Paul Ryan-approved conditions were met first…

In most states, beneficiaries of Medicaid do not pay premiums or other out-of-pocket expenses. However, in Indiana, most enrollees are required to save money each month in a personal health savings account; even those individuals with no income whatsoever have to save a nominal $1 a month to receive the plan’s full benefits. Those with incomes above the poverty level who fail to make monthly contributions to their accounts lose coverage, and are barred from applying again for 6 months.

 

ABORTIONS!

Pence is a devout evangelical Christian who once had to apologize for comparing the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding of Obamacare to 9/11. He led the first congressional effort to defund Planned Parenthood, and as Governor of Indiana has slashed Planned Parenthood budgets across the state (by 2014, state funding had been cut almost in half from 2005 levels).

As Politico once wrote:

“Nobody hates Planned Parenthood quite as much as Mike Pence.”

 

GAY PEOPLE!

If the name Mike Pence does ring a bell, it’s most likely because he was the guy who signed last year’s infamous Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law (so infamous it has its own News for the Well-Intentioned, Semi-Informed Layperson entry). Pence said it would extend legal protections to Indiana business owners who cited their religious beliefs as the reason for not wanting to participate in same-sex weddings, but after a week of getting absolutely hammered by everyone you can expect he signed an amendment that prohibited the outright discrimination against gay people.

As a congressman, Pence voted against the Employee Non-Discrimination Act and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

 

THE SCIENCE SUPPORTING CLIMATE CHANGE!

MSNBC’s Chuck Todd once asked Pence if he is “convinced that climate change is man-made.”

Pence responded:

“I don’t know that that is a resolved issue in science today…
 
Just a few years ago, we were talking about global warming. We haven’t seen a lot of warming lately. I remember back in the ‘70s we were talking about the coming ice age.”

 

Why Trump Chose Mike Pence to be His VP

TrumpPenceHandshake

Mike Pence isn’t very well known among actual voters – a recent Marist poll said 67% of Americans couldn’t form a favorable or unfavorable opinion of him – but he’s a big hit with both social, Cruz-leaning conservatives and the Republican establishment. Paul Ryan not only endorsed him as a VP pick, he called Pence “a personal friend.”

Trump will also be sure to tout Pence’s economic record as Governor of Indiana. During his selection announcement, Trump brought up the state’s low unemployment rate, uptick in labor force participation, and decrease in the number of its residents on unemployment insurance as a way to show how Pence had steered Indiana out of a recession.

Plus, Pence may have once tweeted that Trump’s ban on Muslim immigration was “offensive and unconstitutional,” but he’s at least willing to go in front of news cameras for the next few months and say things like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LqtDxlv4bo#t=41s

 

What to Make of All This

Ultimately, the selection of Mike Pence was Trump listening to new campaign head Paul Manafort and showing the GOP establishment he can bend on some things.

He’s a good guy, after all, right?

TrumpNicePerson

Pence will alienate pro-choice women and the LGBT community even more, but with a heated Republican National Convention coming up later this week he’ll also serve as an olive branch that quells any possible “Never Trump” whispers from gaining momentum.

 

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A Summary of That Summary…

Meet Mike Pence

A Quick Bio

Mike Pence was born in Columbus, Indiana in 1959, and went to both college and law school in the Hoosier State. After spending a few years as an attorney, he was hired as president of the free-market think-tank the Indiana Policy Review Foundation. He left that position three years later to host his own conservative talk radio show – The Mike Pence Show, which he described as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf” – before being elected to the House of Representatives in 2000.

His Political Career

After two unsuccessful runs for Congress in 1988 and 1990, Mike Pence won a congressional seat in 2000, with 50.9% of the vote. During his six terms in Congress, Pence most notably belonged to the Tea Party Caucus# and served on the Foreign Affairs Committee#. In 2009, he was unanimously elected to the GOP’s #3 gig, Republican Conference chairman, where he helped craft the party’s message in such a way that it was able to take back the House in 2010 after an historic shellacking in 2008.

In 2012, a very close Indiana gubernatorial race saw Pence hold on to defeat Democratic nominee John R. Gregg, with 49.67% of the vote

 

What Mike Pence Believes In

At the 2010 Value Voter Summit, Pence said:

“I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican – in that order.

 

Mike Pence LIKES…
  • American Safety!
  • Cutting Taxes!
  • “Right-to-Work” Laws
Mike Pence DOESN’T LIKE…
  • Obamacare!
  • Abortions!
  • Gay People!
  • The Science Supporting Climate Change!

PenceOnIssuesQuiz

 

Why Trump Chose Mike Pence to be His VP

Mike Pence isn’t very well known among actual voters – a recent Marist poll said 67% of Americans couldn’t form a favorable or unfavorable opinion of him – but he’s a big hit with both social, Cruz-leaning conservatives and the Republican establishment.

What to Make of All This

Ultimately, the selection of Mike Pence was Trump listening to new campaign head Paul Manafort and showing the GOP establishment he can bend on some things. Pence will alienate pro-choice women and the LGBT community even more, but with a heated Republican National Convention coming up later this week he’ll also serve as an olive branch that quells any possible “Never Trump” whispers from gaining momentum.

 

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In One Tweet or Less:

 


A Reasonable Opinion to Have:

Chris Christie put Trump’s son-in-law’s dad in jail, Newt Gingrich has a morally-checkered past and could outshine The Donald, and everyone else Trump really wanted had taken their name out of the Veepstakes running.

Mike Pence is a reasonable opinion to have.

What You Can Say to Sound Extra Smart:

In January of 2015, Mike Pence announced plans for a state-run, taxpayer-funded news outlet called “Just IN” that would have covered breaking news, profiles, and other pieces issued by state communications officials. The governor’s office claimed it would help smaller newspaper with limited resources, but journalists and citizen-rights groups across the state criticized them for effectively competing with independent journalism (not to mention, the government overreach).

Jack Ronald, the publisher of the local Portland Commercial Review, told the Indianapolis Star:

“I have no problem with public information services — the Purdue University agriculture extension service does a great job. But the notion of elected officials presenting material that will inevitably have a pro-administration point of view is antithetical to the idea of an independent press.”

By January 29th, Pence had pulled the proposal due to the negative reactions.

Further Reading:

The Washington Post’s “Four times Donald Trump answered Mike Pence’s questions on 60 Minutes”

 

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