I’ve known for days I was going to write this article. I was in a fill in the blank situation. Friday Donald Trump (it seems with some regret) filled in the blank. What surprises me is the spin I’m taking in penning this.
A long time ago I wrote that one of the easiest jobs in America was being Rush Limbaugh’s fact checker. Basically you had to show up and do nothing. Rush, like most right wingers throughout history, never lets the facts get in the way of the point he is trying to make. Well, if you are really desperate and have no self-respect I may have found an easier one – being Trump’s Veep pick.
Late last week Trump had the entire media world prepared for the unveiling of his choice in Manhattan at 11am Friday. Then the terrorist attack in Nice, France took place on Thursday and Trump announced that he would not hold the press event out of respect to the victims. Just slightly before 11am on Friday Trump tweeted, (his favorite form of communication – I guess he can handle 140 characters), that Indiana Governor Mike Pence was his choice; so much for respect of the victims.
If the rumor mill is to be believed the other two “finalists” were New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Let’s be as kind as possible and say it wasn’t a field awash in talent.
The “unveiling” was rescheduled for 11am Saturday in the same New York City Borough. Trump took the stage and spoke primarily about his favorite subject – how great Donald Trump is. About 28 minutes into the speech he finally introduced Pence, shook his hand, gave a thumbs-up and exited the stage. Some time later the campaign issued an obviously staged photo of the families posing together.
Pence for his part spent a good deal of his time on stage praising, guess who, Trump. Pence did use one of his “patented” lines to describe himself. He said, “I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.” I didn’t realize there was a religious test for office in America. Pence was actually one of the first politicians in America to embrace the Tea Party movement which likes to hide behind the labels Christian and conservative, along with patriot. Their actions seldom match their rhetoric.
There was much speculation early on that Pence would run for the presidency. That all died when in a very public ceremony flanked by all sorts of religious people he signed a “religious freedom bill” that was nothing short of legalizing discrimination against homosexuals in Indiana. Under massive pressure, the bill was severely watered down and Pence signed it in the privacy of his office sans cameras. When he later faced the press he totally lost composure and was unable to speak for much more than a pause for effect. Those incidents effectively took him out of the race. In other words Trump picked a guy who wasn’t strong enough to make the very weak starting field of 17 in the 2016 Republican primary race.
One of Trump’s problems is with women voters. Considering Pence has been involved in some of the most restrictive abortion legislation in the country I don’t see where he is going to help.
Pence (if he becomes a factor) could actually hurt Trump in Indiana. He is upside-down in his approval ratings in the Hoosier State and was in jeopardy of losing his bid for reelection this fall. Trump bailed him, and possibly the GOP, out by tapping him for the number 2 slot.
I could go on but my readers have something else to do today. They want to watch the opening act of what promises to be the best comedy show of the summer – the Republican National Convention starts in Cleveland today.
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