Wednesday, October 05, 2016

We just saw the Launch of Pence 2020

Last night Indiana Governor Mike Pence did exactly what he needed to do   He showed conservative Republicans that not only was he one them,  but moreover,  he showed them that he was not, Donald Trump.

You see, even before Donald Trump came along, many conservatives inside and outside the Republican Party loved Mike Pence, and they really wanted him to run for President. They saw him as one of the few GOP  Governors who hasn't completely destroyed his own state. A clear social conservative, a strong opponent of women's rights , and   against "the gays",

Not only that, he has a college degree and great Presidential candidate hair!

The far right swooned over Mike Pence  back in 2015 when he,  and his fellow Republicans thought they had found a way to strike back at the advance of LGBT rights, under the banner of "Religious Liberty." It is the claim that If you don't let people discriminate against certain groups  (Gays)  in public accommodation, it is a violation of freedom of religion. Because their religion says those certain groups (Gays),  are icky, and going to hell.

Despite bad press, the move rallied  social conservatives who, were feeling  rather bruised and battered in the wake of recent advances in LGBT rights.  It  made Mike Pence an even bigger  hero in many of their minds and hearts.    Rumblings of a "Draft Mike Pence" movement for  2016 started to be heard in places far outside of Indiana.  

Yet when  the resulting backlash and business boycotts  cost Indiana hundreds of  millions of dollars in lost tourist, convention and business investment revenue,  Pence's  Presidential aspirations fell faster than hotel bookings in Indianapolis.  Many pundits at the time said that Pence's  moment had clearly come and gone.

Then Donald Trump picked him as his running mate.  Which for the past few months seemed to make Pence's  chances even worse,  As  the Trump campaign seemed  to be running some sort of bizarre experiment to see  if they could make each week in the campaign a bigger disaster than the previous one. So heading into Last night's Vice Presidential candidate debate,  Pence, had an impossible task. Defending his running mate, and the unhinged, reality free, racist, sexist, borderline fascist episodes of political Turrets Syndrome,  that have defined his candidacy.

Pence knew that Donald Trump was indefensible, so he did the only thing he could.   He didn't even try.

Faced with facts,  Pence didn't even attempt to spin them, instead he went to the "Conservative Happy Place". That magical land that exists only  in the right wing mind, where negative polling numbers are "rigged", outrageous statements, even when caught on video, simply didn't happen, and "far right" is always right. So any inconvenient facts, no matter how easily proven,  can be denied.

Mike Pence's  debate performance was the political equivalent of  the Shaggy song "It Wasn't Me." Only in this case it was  "It Wasn't Him" (Trump)

Last night's debate was a textbook study of the American political dialogue for the last 8 plus years.   Democrats point out the reality of what is said, proposed and believed by Republicans.  Then in response, Republicans  flat out deny  everything they have said, proposed and done. What is left, is two people having two completely separate conversations, where one side is obsessed with detailing the facts, and the other is equally obsessed with pretending they don't exist. So any chance of finding solutions or common ground becomes pretty much impossible.

It is worth noting that prior to Pence's election as Governor of Indiana he was a conservative talk radio host. Coming from the world of the Rush Limbaughs, Glenn Becks and Sean Hanitys, blissfully bulldozing past facts is pretty much their bread and butter. Any information that doesn't support the established talking points is quickly brushed aside as "liberal bias".

The result? Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate, Governor Tim Kaine looked like a man trying to herd cats. It simply didn't matter what the truth was, Pence was't going to budge an inch. His personal reality was going to remain intact no matter what,    It may not have helped pull Trump out of the electoral hole he is currently in,  but  Pence also didn't  do any damage to his Party or  their ticket.

As a result, Conservatives watching totally ate it up. Mike Pence has once again become their smooth silver haired telegenic champion against all those liberally biased "Facts".   Pence even went out of his way to channel the spirit of the great Conservative patron saint,  Ronald Reagan.

“There they go again,” Pence replied  at one point, in response to Tim Kaine's barrage of facts.  A clear  reference to conservative hero Ronald Reagan’s famous line — “There you go again” — during the 1980 presidential debate against Jimmy Carter. He later went on to quote  Reagan on the subject of  nuclear war.

The Washington Post summed Pence's performance pretty well....

"If Tuesday night’s vice-presidential debate was about Mike Pence helping Donald Trump right the ship in the 2016 presidential race, it was an abject failure. But if it was about making Mike Pence look good — possibly for a future presidential run? — it was a success. By largely parrying Tim Kaine’s many attacks on Trump and avoiding direct, in-depth defenses of Trump’s most controversial policies and provocative statements, Pence did plenty of good for himself, if not his running mate."

So weeks still to go before the 2016 votes are cast, let alone counted, let the posturing for 2020 begin....

No comments: