“Hey, Dad!” my fourth grader announced one evening. “I heard a joke at school: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were on a boat. The boat sank. Who got saved?”
Without a doubt, this is a difficult election cycle. The party with which I’ve affiliated for years has nominated an unconventional candidate. I can’t decipher some of his positions and I can’t condone some of his behaviors.
There is a bright spot in the race, however. It’s Governor Mike Pence. For all his question marks, Donald Trump picked a bona fide conservative as his running mate. I might not easily vote for Trump, but I can certainly pull the lever for Pence.
A brief rundown of Pence’s fairly innocuous resume shows a regular Joe American. Growing up the son of a gas station operator and the grandson of immigrants, his is a common man story.
Pence took a stab at public service in the late 1980s, losing two bids for Congress to the same opponent. Recognizing it wasn’t his time, he returned to private law practice, staying involved in policy issues through conservative think tanks.
Describing himself as “Limbaugh on decaf,” Pence entered the conservative talk radio scene in the mid-90s. His show aired on about twenty stations across Indiana, giving Pence statewide name ID for a return to competitive politics in 2000.
As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Pence championed many conservative positions during his twelve years on the hill.
On limiting government, Pence opposed expanding Medicaid entitlements and federal encroachment on education (No Child Left Behind). He pushed legislation and a constitutional amendment to reduce government spending across the board.
On national defense, Pence supported President Bush’s efforts in the Middle East as a House subcommittee chairman on the region. After 9/11, he favored the passage of the Patriot Act and sponsored a bill in 2009 to extend several of its provisions.
On economic policy, Pence was a free market defender. He voted against the string of corporate bailouts during the last recession. He consistently advocated for less regulation, a flatter tax structure and sound money.
On social issues, Pence has strongly supported religious freedom as Indiana governor. He unapologetically attributes societal ills to the breakdown of the traditional family, taking stands in a calm and thoughtful way. He is more ration than emotion, even in highly charged debates.
This demeanor makes him most attractive. One gets the sense he’s interested in serving his country, not in political gain. He has no need for a private email server because he believes his official actions will survive scrutiny.
The biggest question of Pence’s judgment comes from his decision to forego re-election as Indiana governor to hitch his wagon to a reality TV star.
After mutedly supporting Senator Ted Cruz in the primary, Pence is fully behind Trump even though Trump’s web site still lacks a Pencebio.
The 2016 Republican primary field was full of Mike Pences – i.e., popular, conservative governors. For some reason, he wasn’t in the field as some thought he would be.
As it stands, Mike Pence could be a heartbeat away from the presidency in a few short months. That’s something to vote for.
Follow Kevin Thompson at http://www.kwt.info.