Who Thought Letting Him on TV Was a Good Idea?

Dear lord, where were his handlers?

In the firestorm that has erupted over SB 101, and in a ham-handed effort to ameliorate the immense economic damage he and his party have inflicted on the state, Governor Mike Pence took to a Sunday talk show, with disastrous results.

According to Daily Kos (and multiple members of my family who watched):

In the annals of damage control that did more harm than good, Indiana’s Gov. Mike Pence has truly set the new standard. Appearing on today’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” to defend and “clarify” Indiana’s new right to discriminate law that he eagerly signed last week, Pence—and this is putting it kindly—crashed and burned.
Six times Stephanopoulos asked if, under the law, it would be legal to refuse service to gay customers and six times Pence refused to answer. And when asked outright if “you [Pence] think it should be legal in the state of Indiana to discriminate against gays or lesbians … it’s a yes or no question,” Pence’s astonishing (and eye roll-inducing) answer was, “Hoosiers don’t believe in discrimination.” So there you go.

And while Pence continued to peddle the notion that he’d support efforts by the Indiana legislature to “clarify” their new license to discriminate, when asked if making the LGBT community a protected class would be considered, Pence said no, that he wouldn’t push for that, that it’s not on his agenda and that it’s “not an objective of the people of the state of Indiana,” and then flat-out said, “We’re not going to change the law” and that “I stand by this law.”

I was actually looking forward to a Pence bid for higher office, stocking up on popcorn in anticipation of watching our “Not ready for prime time” Governor embarrass himself on the “circuit.” But in this context, his persistent cluelessness is doing incredible economic damage to my city and state.

This, children, is what happens when grownups don’t participate in the political process.


  1. What do you expect when his “handlers” the Indiana American Family Association of Indiana, the Indiana Family Institute, and the Advance America, like all the industrial pig farms in Indiana, have castrated him. Of course he only has himself to blame, he hopped up on the table and spread his legs wide open for them.

  2. If “Hoosiers don’t belive in discrimination” why was this law necessary – or was it to force the issue of discrimination as a higher standard. Face it folks, Gay is the new Black!

  3. The political purpose of RFRA in Indiana at this time was to appease social conservatives who felt aggrieved by the recent gains of the LGBT community. Whether RFRA has any teeth in that respect is almost beside the point. Guys like Miller and Smith could make the claim that it was a victory, and I believe that was the point of the exercise. Symbolism, rather than substance, was the point of the exercise. For them, it’s a zero-sum game. A win for LGBT is a loss for them. So anything that looks symbolically (again, regardless of substance) like an accommodation of LGBT is going to be off the table.

  4. You bring up an excellent question: who thought it was a good idea AND why was he so unprepared? After two plus days of criticism (even if you personally tried to avoid it) from around the country, someone should have prepared him much better to answer questions. Even the simple yes or no questions. They were obvious to predict. Just watching SNL the night before should have been a clue as to what he would be asked. In the end, I still think that these were softball questions and he flubbed, big time.

  5. In all fairness, Pence could have gone on television and explained the missing mass problem, and his opponents’ press releases would be identical, this morning.

    Did the opponents of RFRA put forth any plan to keep a baker from being forced to make a wedding cake objectionable to his beliefs? Do the opponents of RFRA believe all bakers should have to make wedding cakes objectionable to their beliefs?

    This is a zero-sum problem.

  6. George W. Pence was told some of us were terrorized and what did he do? Oops!
    Okay, circle the wagons and bid for the White House to match the coiffure.
    Or, get elected to the U.S. Senate and join that other cacophony.

  7. Governor dumbo displayed his REAL message. He has NO intention of supporting Gay people…..EVER. Boycott Indiana.

  8. Don’t understand why he bothered to go on national tv. He didn’t clarify his position; he didn’t provide any details about the legislation; he didn’t offer any insight about the need for the legislation. He was on ABC in front of millions and all he did was duck and cover. Now he is the face of Indiana to the rest of the nation.

  9. He was simply an embarrassment. If there was a cogent defense to the law he could not seem to express it.

  10. Sheila -It was like right out of Mad Magazine and
    Pence got hit in the face with a baker’s wedding cake on national tv.

  11. So many comments on point, so many reflective of personal regards. It can be shown that each of us inhales oxygen once held in the lungs of millions of our precedents. Somehow we must now invent a filter which restricts molecules once held by Liberace, or Rock Hudson, or your 2nd cousin twice removed. What could you be thinking? Or not!

    To be forced to bake a cake for Gays? TMI. You’re backing a cake for money.

    Gays the new Blacks? Not in 2000 years!

    We have to remember what happens when we take a yokel from Columbus Indiana and put him in front of a person with a brain rather than a heart. You could tells each time Pence would look to the skies and moan; “Now, George…” Same as when a country preacher tries to explain the virgin birth.

    Ignorance in the face of intelligence relies on emotions. ” Now, Mike, don’t most of the leftovers from Klan Central feel about the same as you ’bout dem dejinerite- homi-sexuals?” We’ll soon see.

  12. THIS is what really pissed me off ….when asked if making the LGBT community a protected class would be considered, Pence said no, that he wouldn’t push for that, that it’s not on his agenda and that it’s “not an objective of the people of the state of Indiana,”.

    How dare he speak for the intelligent citizens of Indiana and include us in his group of ignorant religious radicals that he is a member of by saying that it is not an objective of the people of the state of Indiana!

  13. Not sure which was the best comedy show SNL or SML (Sunday Morning Live)
    I’m thinking this maybe the beginning of the end of the Pence political career.

    One last thought before I go, “Qu’ils mangent de la Brioche” (it could have
    started a revolution)

  14. Worst Governor since Klan member (and Republican) Ed Jackson. If we can get a better candidate than John Gregg (and no Ruperts) he is toast next year.

  15. This is the same jackass who wanted to defund planned parenthood. And I sure wish there had been this much objection over his policy of kicking women around. But if I have to wait until it is doing harm to BUSINESS INTERESTS in Indiana, fine. It’s no shock to me that he is just a tool of the New Koch. He’s been a moralizing jerk ever since he was put up for Republican office. And as long as the Republicans (and the democrats in their roll over and play dead policy) keep running these Dan Quayle beef cakes for the (frustrated) Republican women’s vote you’re going to get stupid governance. And don’t forget he only won the governorship against Gregg by a couple percentage points. Plus, Gregg wasn’t exactly out of the gate for women’s issues until his running mate Vi Simpson changed his mind for him. At least somebody is pushing back. BTW–call your senators today and tell them not to vote down Common Wage. Tell them David Koch calling……

  16. @ Former GOP

    It was NOT necessary for the opponents of the religious discrimination bill to do anything. It was NOT necessary for anyone to do anything about the baker that did not want to bake a cake. Other states have differing circumstances. Current laws in Indiana before the religious discrimination bill did not really protect gays from bakers who want to be jerks.

    This legislative bill was drafted as a clarification and meant to send a message, and was unnecessary. Since it was unnecessary, there is NOT anything that opponents had to do about it. Any lawsuits are handled by the courts.

    As for the baker, it is one thing to be choosey in picking customers if doing it as a hobby or on the side. However, there is an underlying promise in choosing to be an LLC and an official business open to the public. Being open to the public means being open to ALL of the public.
    Operating a business is a privilege that not everyone has the privilege to do. It is fair that businesses that serve the public have certain rules and ethical codes that they have to follow. That is part of the privilege of having a business that serves the public. As a business owner that has been granted the privilege to operate a business open to the public, it is fair to expect a baker to bake a cake.

    It is truly frustrating to me personally in that I would love to have my own business, and know other people that would love to have their own businesses, and yet I don’t quite have the means to own my own business. I would be happy to serve everyone and I would love to have the customers that are being discriminated against, while these jerks are not only mistreating people but wasting an opportunity that would be treasured by myself and so many others. That is what is not fair.

    What part of privilege to be open to the public do those that defend discrimination not understand?

  17. I thought it was a nice touch by George S. to quote directly from Eric Miller’s website, which declares that this is all about Christian businesses resisting gays and lesbians. But it was confusing, from what Pence told George, it wasn’t him signing the bill surrounded by nuns, monks, Eric Miller, Curt Smith and Micah Clark, it was Bill Clinton.

    Last Friday’s Indiana Lawmakers on 90.1 was a treat, too, with the Republican mouthpiece insisting that RFRA is not discriminatory because, hey, Mike Pence just would not discriminate. (Never mind that the fundamentalist lobbyists who are pulling his strings seem more than happy to do so.)

  18. Its time for a Woman to occupy the Governors seat in the
    State House. The Men have had it too long and the abuses
    continue to mount up.

  19. As near as I can tell LBGTs just want to live their own lives encumbered by others and evangelicals want to impose their lives and cultures on others. Which of those positions describes freedom or minimal government?

    King Pence has no clothes. That fact was revealed on national TV and that seemed to surprise Indiana conservatives who dressed him in the cloak of righteousness.

    Apparently that cloak turned out to be not “of invisibility” but is invisible.

    Sorry Sir but your, umm, shortcomings are on display for everyone to see.

  20. “Being open to the public means being open to ALL of the public.
    Operating a business is a privilege that not everyone has the privilege to do.”

    So you’d force the baker to bake the objectionable cake? If so, you’ve lost just about all the Republicans and a huge portion of moderates. Is this your biggest issue? If so, then the opposition to the Republicans has problems. If not, if there are much bigger issues than this, then why sacrifice the serious populist issues that truly need addressing by fracturing the base over cakes?

    P.S. It is generally seen that everyone has the right to engage in economic activity, so everyone has the right, not the privilege, to open a shop and ply his trade.

  21. To lighten the mood for a moment: Governor Pence held a private bill-signing so the
    participants could go put on their sheets!

    On the other hand, I have always considered Gov. Pence to be a tea party governor. He
    has followed the tea party line regarding Planned Parenthood, refusing to expand Medicaid, etc…I do what I can. I crossed over to vote for Lugar to try to save him from the tea party…did not work. I don’t seem to find a group to work with…any suggestions?

  22. First off I am a straight male who supports gay rights . But also I am Agnostic there has been a lot of hype as this being a gay issue while this is true let us not forget the others who face discremination on this like other religious groups and athiest and others. I would like to make a couple or so remarks.
    1. the governor and state reps that support this are lieing out there teeth on this one saying people misunderstand this law, this is crap if we misunderstood then why was it written the way it was ohhhh ya because the law means exactly what it says open hunting on non christians. and christian personel views. and they didnt expect the state and national hype they did not figure they would haft to back track any.
    2. For every law there is a loop hole and a back door to this loop hole, you just got to look for it and think outside the box there are 2 loop holes in this law that you can drive a tank through that can be backed up by the constitution and the courts, they are to long to mention here but would be glad to discuss them with any one, the law opens up a can of worms that the courts are gonna haft to deal with sooner or later. All i can say about the loop holes is that the state has put itself in a position where the term religious freedom must be a proven fact that allowing the business and private sector to use their personal belief also allows the people being discreminated against to use that persons belief against them to.

  23. At this point, it doesn’t make any difference what the bill actually says. With Pence’s help and the bungling, the whole project has legs of its own, because in the end, it’s what people THINK it says that is the killer. That classic picture of him surrounded by the KKK, the fact that the legislature turned down (40-10) an amendment to the bill, and his open faced shock at the huge blowback were all priceless. I hope ABC invites him again and again. It’s better than SNL. “Pence” is such an ironic name for this guy.

  24. The supporters of this tragedy believe that “government overreach” should be replaced by citizen overreach. That is any compromise of freedom should not be permitted by the institution the represents all of us, but instead, should be permitted by each of us individually.

    Of course that ignores experience. The only way progress has ever been made is when it becomes the position of the majority and they impose sense and morality on the minority. Democracy. The only alternative being a minority imposing their position on the majority, or some version of oligarchy.

    Democracy represents the only true path to freedom.

  25. Pete, in this morning’s Post-Tribune (Lake County), in the “Quickly” column (reader comments), one contributor said, “This is what you get when you’re No. 1 in the country for failing to vote.” When everyone votes, you have democracy. When 18% vote, you can just have crazy.

  26. Look on the bright side: two good things have happened as a result: 1. Pence has shown himself to be less than candid, both as to the purpose of the law, which Schneider and Miller both explicitly explained, and by comparing it to the federal version. Indiana’s is far broader in scope and applies to matters that don’t involve the government, such as businesses who refuse service to people they don’t like, allegedly based on their “sincere” religious beliefs. Pence came across as not very bright or honest; and 2. we might have gotten rid of that bad-for-taxpayers Angie’s List welfare deal.

  27. I copied and pasted the picture of Pence and his secret signing ceremony to my friend in Santa Clara, CA – the San Francisco area. She just messaged me that they are showing a different picture on news out there; the “monks” are all on the right side and in front and no one is identifed. She also said the Silicon Valley is warning businesses not to go to Indiana. It is strange that people from all walks of life and businesses in all areas read and understood the meaning of this law, whether overt or covert in language, but Pence and company insist we “misunderstood”. Plus the fact that Indiana does NOT have a law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and Pence stated he will NOT pursue such a law; will keep this ugliness in the news – which is exactly where it belongs – till justice is served. Is justice even a possibility in this state?

  28. Pence’s performance reminds of when Quayle was selected VP by Bush the Elder. Quayle left the friendly confines of the Indianapolis Mega-Media and was exposed as Not Ready for Prime Time by the National Press.

    The defenders of Pence and this ill conceived Law are now pointing the finger back to Bill Clinton and the Democrats. Fine finger point all you want. Some how just because Bill Clinton was involved we should remain silent.

    What we need is a Freedom from Religion Law. Practice your religion all you want in your place of worship, home or even demonstrate and picket. I am an Agnostic. I do not expect a Christian Book Store to carry books by Darwin, the Cosmos DVD’s, or any other book about the overwhelming Scientific Validity of Evolution. I do not expect to hear in a Jewish Temple the Jesus was the Messiah. I do not expect to have BBQ Pork in a Jewish Deli, or Mideastern Restaurant. I do not expect an Indiana Restaurant to serve Beef Steak. I do expect that if a Business is open to the Public they not be allowed to discriminate as who they serve. A few years ago I attended a Gay Wedding at a Church. The Church recognized the Marriage but not the State. A reception hall was rented. Could the Owner of the Reception Hall now refuse to rent to the Hall?? Could the Employees refuse to serve, because to do so would violate their Religious Beliefs????

    The Religious Right has tried various ways to impose their Beliefs such as Teaching Creation Science in Public Schools. When that failed they tried to interject Intelligent Design in Public Schools. The Bible Thumping Right opposed same sex marriage. When they failed on that, they went for the consolation prize.

  29. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

    Martin Luther King Jr.

    If MLK was correct, Pence et al will lose over time.

  30. Pence did prepare for Sunday, but not for the way this interview went. He (and his handlers) believed he could finesse the only question people care about by dodging it once or twice during his “clarification.” The usual response of an interviewer is to “get the message” that the interviewee isn’t going to answer the question and thus move on. Stephanopoulos was not backing down or being sidetracked by Pence’s weak parrying. Indeed, he realized that he had Pence on the ropes of substance. This is an important issue and a righteous fight. Hoosiers are rightly pushing back on homophobia and statutory discrimination. Sorry, Governor, but things have changed.

  31. @Former GOPer

    The simple answer is yes.

    No one is forcing the baker to be a baker. The baker has a choice in order to own a bakery or not own a bakery. If a baker cannot perform the basic requirements of what should be expected of a bakery that is open to serve the public, then the baker needs to choose another profession.

    An analogy is that I used to work as a lab technician in academic biological research and animal testing is part of the job requirements of a typical laboratory. If a lab technician has a moral objection to animal testing, then the lab technician is told to find a different job in agreement with his or her own moral beliefs. This is because the lab technician is not able to perform the job required. There are laboratories that do no animal testing, so then that the lab technician could apply to work at those laboratories, similar to there are bakeries that do no wedding cakes, but the standards are still applied equally to everyone.

    Gays have wedding, gays have anniversaries, gays have birthdays, gays have celebrations. Any normal bakery should expect gay customers. It is part of being a normal bakery. Seriously if a bakery is so sensitive that it finds a gay themed cake to be too objectionable to serve, then they do not need to be a bakery. The role of a bakery is to serve baked items, not to serve judgment. Writing two guys names on a cake, or sticking two grooms on top of a cake, does not mean that the person agrees with anything about the customer, it simply means a bakery serves cakes.

    There is confusion between freedom and sense of entitlement. This is something that many entitled people could learn from those in poverty who have to suck it up while doing jobs they hate in order to get a paycheck. An employee who refused to serve a cake while working in a bakery in a grocery store for instance would likely be fired for refusing to serve a customer. I have a cousin who is an employee of a gas station, and she would be fired for refusing to sell cigarettes to an obviously pregnant woman. Those who are employed in customer service do not get to say what they really want to say to people, and by being instead polite, no one is inferring that customer service is agreeing with the client, only that there are certain expectations of a business open to the public. Owning a business only moves those responsibilities of service to the public up a level, and it is a sense of entitlement if owners think they are above those expectations.

  32. Soapbox0916 …

    (The role of a bakery is to serve baked items, not to serve judgment.)

    Great Point, I could not agree with you more.

  33. I wish there was nearly as much conversation about discrimination against women.

  34. Soapbox…RIGHT ON!

    As for WHY Pence did the ABC spot, it seems claer to me that he went on national TV to galvanize evangelical support for his now-doomed run for the Presidency. Well done, Mike!

    Decades ago, the religious zealots lost a culture war that is now being waged again…Reagan gave them a small seat at the table, and they finally got enough people seated to spoil the dinner party. I miss the REAL GOP & being able to vote FOR rather than AGAINST a Republican. Maybe once this battle heats up, people will finally wake the hell up and send the zealots back to their churches…and out of our legislatures. Oh…and then I can go back to praying in a church with a loving God without being criticzed for not being a REAL Christian by these nimrods. One can dream.

  35. Since Indiana is at the receiving end of boycott threats from Private
    Business and the State of Connecticut.

    I see only one course of action left for Governor Pence.

    “Secede from the Union” and form the “Christian Caliphate
    of Indiana”

  36. @Former GOPer

    I made a distinction between someone selling something on Craig’s List or on the side versus someone who files as an official LLC business open to the public. Yes, almost everybody would agree that someone has the right to sell something to Craig’s List. That is not what I was talking about, and I think at some level you realize that.

    Read the legal agreement in order to become an LLC. I have seriously considered starting my own business several times. I am very much pro-business. Any reasonable Republican before the Tea Party took over the GOP would agree that there are certain business ethics expected of being an official business open to the public. Former GOPers have had much to do with how business rules are written.

    It goes both ways depending on the subject, but often it has been the GOPers who talk about things being privileges instead of rights, and how Democrats are wrong to think that “takers” are entitled to stuff for free. Drinking water in California is currently being argued as not a right, therefore a privilege, that if someone in Californian wants drinking water, then they should have to pay for it.

    I will be showing my age, but when I was in high school on a trip to D.C., I attended a lecture of Elizabeth Dole, when she was Secretary of Transportation, and her speech was about how driving a vehicle was a privilege and not a right. She used to represent Republicans.

    Privilege versus rights is a frequent topic in debates. We forget how privileged we truly are at times.

  37. “If a baker cannot perform the basic requirements of what should be expected of a bakery that is open to serve the public, then the baker needs to choose another profession. ”

    Then we have a huge problem. We’re at impasse, and I cannot vote for your party if this is what you plan to do with it.

    If you want to reduce your party to this single issue, you’re going to lose votes.

    Why don’t you just ask the customer to grow up and find another bakery?

  38. It’s significant that some focus on the morality of baking a cake for a gay marriage because they focus on sexual practice they believe is unacceptable–sort of a “top of the heap sin”. How about other, more generally accepted sins, that most everyone finds objectionable, like people in organized crime, known drug dealers, people with abuse records, and the list of felonies goes on. They get married, too, so you lock them out too, right? Go down a notch, make the line a little closer to home (recalling that bad men do what good men dream) and pretty soon nobody will be able to come into their shop. I guess they only refuse to serve sinners who have achieved a certain status they believe is classified as “extra special” bad, while serving others that aren’t so bad, an idea that scripture fails to support. Trying to sort through this problem gets pretty difficult. If people are able to do that, either they are really sophisticated or maybe they just don’t get it. Maybe judgment can go both ways, and “The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”

  39. I have many gay and lesbian friends; the general public focuses on the sex issue, gays and lesbians lives are filled with the same day-to-day issues, good and bad, we all deal with. Survival in this economy tops the list. Sex is relegated to basically the same time and place and matter of importance that heterosexuals work it into their lives.

  40. You know that baker has a point. No freedom at all. Do you realize that if a black person walks into his shop, he has to make a cake for him too? If a guy in a wheelchair comes in, or a woman, or a divorced person or a woman who had an abortion or a person who voted for the Democrats – why, they’ve got to serve them too! Might even have to serve little people. Can you imagine – what oppression! Why how could anyone practice the way of Jesus having to do all that. Next thing you know they’ll have to bake a cake with a monkey evolving into a man on top.

  41. So, who thought letting him back on national TV was a good idea? If you watched his press conference today; what word comes to mind to describe it for you. Trying to be kind to one who humanely deficient, I crossed out the word liar and could only come up with redundant regarding this speech. I hope no one interviews him again to ask exactly what he wants the legislature to have on his desk by the end of this week to state his currently not discriminating law is not discriminating but will definitely NOT pass a law protecting LGBTs from discrimination in the state of Indiana. Did I say that right? It is difficult to comment rationally on irrationality.

  42. Watching and hearing today the George W. Bush clone so often repeating the “we don’t discriminate” mantra (often repeated to insure its injection into the brains of Hoosiers), trying to hoist his pants, and promising that a correction will gush forward from the Assembly by Friday.
    Anticipating more embarrassment………

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