Indiana Congressman Mike Pence and I clearly occupy different planets. On May 19th, the Congressman issued a press release in which he answered the election-year question "Are we better off today than we were four years ago?" with a resounding yes.
Indiana Congressman Mike Pence and I clearly occupy different planets.
On May 19th, the Congressman issued a press release in which he answered the election-year question “Are we better off today than we were four years ago?” with a resounding yes.
On my planet, the assertion that America is better off than we were four years ago is at odds with a few pesky statistics: a 3.3% decrease in median income; the loss of 2.4 million jobs (a number that would be much worse but for the growth of federal government jobs); 4 million more people without health insurance; 3.5 million more Americans in poverty; and a 1.47 trillion dollar increase in the national debt, just for starters. On my planet, there is also the little problem of being bogged down in a war that even the Pentagon now concedes has been bungled, and that many believe to have been unnecessary. There’s that nasty little business about abuse of Iraqi prisoners, and the increasing numbers of people around the world who hate us.
On planet Pence, however, all is well. “Four years ago,” says Mr. Pence, “we had a morally disgraced President…Today we have a President of integrity, of virtue, of principle, and of purpose.” Evidently, Congressman Pence considers virtue to be entirely a matter of sexual behavior. Stretching the truth about the reasons for war, leaking Valerie Palme’s name to Robert Novak, using scurrilous tactics against John McCain in South Carolina’s primary—evidently, none of those actions implicate integrity on Mr. Pence’s planet.
We are also better off, according to the Congressman, because four years ago, Saddam Hussein had “amassed weapons of mass destruction, the Taliban was in power and Libya had a WMD program. Today the Taliban is gone, Saddam is in a cell, we have found pieces of his WMDs and Libya has ended its program.” I don’t know where the Congressman gets his information, but reports out of Afghanistan warn that the Taliban is regaining power because we do not have sufficient forces there to stabilize the countryside, and even the White House does not claim that any “pieces” of WMD have been found. (I hope he is right about Libya, but his batting average isn’t too hot.)
Another reason Pence says we should be grateful: Four years ago, the “Clinton recession” began, and “last month we created 300,000 new jobs.” “Clinton recession” or no, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the creation of 23 million jobs during Clinton’s eight years in office. Last month notwithstanding, Bush is still down a couple of million—the first President since Hoover to preside over a net loss of jobs.
Pence’s last “reason” America is better off is that we have outlawed “partial birth abortion.” On planet Pence, that more than outweighs the increased number of living American children who have no health care or basic necessities.On Planet Pence, “better off” is really measured by how closely our laws mirror the Congressman’s religious convictions, not by economic or social indicators.