No, All Attention Isn’t Good…

There’s an old political saying to the effect that publicity is always good, as long as they spell your name right.

Not so much.

There’s been a lot of attention focused upon Indiana Governor Mike Pence as a result of his RFRA signing and his obvious inability to understand the blowback or handle the subsequent fallout. But aside from generating increasingly serious concern about the damage done to Indiana, the weighing in by pundits and the skewering by late-night talk show hosts, the controversy has also encouraged media exploration of the Governor’s past performance and policy positions–and that exploration has underscored Pence’s deeply-rooted animus to LGBT folks, his contempt for women’s rights, and…how to say this?…his less than adequate analytical skills.

In the wake of the eruption over RFRA, I’ve seen the following:

A 2008 article about Pence’s bizarre 2005 proposal to advance Social Security privatization.  Here’s the first paragraph:

There are very few members of congress with whom I’ve ever had the opportunity to discuss a substantive matter of public policy. But as it happens, one of them — the one with whom I’ve had the second-longest exchange — is Mike Pence (R-IN) who I’ve seen on television today repeatedly discussing the Republican Study Group’s “plan” for the financial crisis. And I can tell you this about Mike Pence: he has no idea what he’s talking about. The man is a fool, who deserves to be laughed at.

The remainder of the article explains how the author came to that conclusion–and explains a lot about the “growth” policies the Governor has been pursuing in Indiana.

Then there was “Smoking Doesn’t Kill and Other Great OpEd’s from Mike Pence, which I originally thought was a joke, but apparently isn’t. It reproduces several op-eds penned by Governor Pence over the years; my favorite was on climate change, where Pence wrote that CO2 from burning fuels can’t cause increased global temperatures because they are a “naturally occurring phenomenon in nature.” (He also mixed up India with Indonesia.)

Perhaps the most telling–given the Governor’s protestations to the effect that he doesn’t believe in discrimination– was this article, detailing his long history of anti-gay bias. From Business Insider, no less. That one begins:

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) apparently previously advocated far more controversial positions on gay rights than his state’s controversial new “religious freedom” law.

One thing about the Internet. Nothing ever disappears. But they did spell his name right.


  1. Pence stated on national television that he has many LGBT friends while explaining again that the law does not discriminate against LGBTs; I have not yet seen one of them come to his defense – has anyone else? Pence is a prime example of that old reference to the “Peter principle”; someone who has been promoted beyond their level of ability.

    He stood staunchly (he is Republican) behind the RFRA as written; then demanded problems be resolved by the end of this week. He obviously does not stand behind the law or that old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This adage was reworded by Goldsmith and given to City/County employees early in his administration, “If it aint broke, break it.” We were told to ignore laws and ordinances because they can be changed – but no one bothered to change them which caused problems.

    How many Goldsmith workers are now working for Pence? I really couldn’t understand another old adage, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” I now fully understand that here in Indiana only the names and faces change. We can only hope that the “unnecessary changes” to Pence’s RFRA law will protect all LGBTs – including all those espoused friends of his.

  2. This comment was posted on this morning:

    Statehouse Reporter Kevin Rader thinks we will see protections, but not a protected class, not a civil rights statute.

    Inside sources at the Statehouse say the new bill will look something like this:

    “This chapter does not authorize a provider to refuse to offer or provide its services, facilities, use of public accommodations, housing, employment or goods to any member or members of the general public,” inside sources say. “This chapter does not establish a defense to a civil action or criminal prosecution for refusal by provider to offer or provide its services, facilities, use of public accommodations or goods to any member or members of the general public.”

    Rader was told it will exclude churches, religious groups, schools, etc.

    If it contains lanquage that protects churches, religious groups, etc., then it is not enough of a change to the language in this law and this week has been a waste of time – just as we all thought it would be.

  3. The only thing missing from Pences signing ceremony was a Grand Wizard in White Sheets. These people are just NUTS. PLEASE Boycott Indiana.

  4. Pence at the Law’s signing blanketed and corseted himself with “Religious Personnel.” This is usually a safe move in the cloistered politics of Indiana with The Republican Super Majority. Then we had the Political Big Bang. Usually in Indiana Politics controversy can be tamped down, not this time. Pence certainly managed to step into a bear trap. Pence’s interview with George Stephanopoulos was Control-Alt-Delete he tried to reboot the interview several times with his script. It was not entirely Pence’s fault, he had a lot of help from his Bible Thumping allies in the General Assembly who laid the bill on his desk. Pence mentioned the Titanic in one of your links. Pence like the Titanic Captain left the safe harbor of Indiana Politics, went full speed ahead and struck an iceberg.

    The Mega-Media here in Indianapolis was as usual asleep at the wheel, or simply did not have the resources to realize the full implications of this bill becoming Law as it wound it’s way through the General Assembly. Pence is taking all the heat, but I would like to see our TV Media and The Star start asking some hard questions to Bosma, and David Long, like what were you thinking. Now there is desperate back tracking, however the message was sent out, and now no matter how the Politicians try to fix it or alibi Indiana Republicans regret will be that they got caught.

  5. My friend who lives in the San Francisco area said they showed a different picture of the secret signing ceremony on the news out there. The “monks” were all on the right side and in front of the group. Wonder what that means in the broader sense of this entire fiasco?

  6. This is a perfect picture of politics in IN. The original RFRA was developed in mostly closed sessions; I won’t say debated. Then the legislature passed it, as anticipated. So far, so good. Then when it published, the uproar began. Deer-in-the-headlights Pence was not capable of defending their masterpiece. As a fix, a “committee” held closed sessions to “fix” the masterpiece, but they couldn’t divulge any specifics until this morning. It never occurred to the repubs that an open debate and public discussion might have gone a long way toward avoiding the firestorm they created and gathering some support from all who “don’t understand” the bill. It’s just not the way we do things in Indiana.

  7. AND as a barrista pointed out to me yesterday about Pence while I was foaming at the mouth about his anti-woman positions and attempts to defund planned parenthood which had some effect, because the one servicing Scott County was forced to close due to funding cuts–Pence didn’t mind kids going hungry–he has made sure fewer kids families qualify for food stamps. What kind of a bitter, petty, constituency does he appeal to? I can’t find anyone who admits to having voted for him. PLUS while this discussion is going on, Brandt Hershman is busy cutting construction wages for public works. Since he’s never had a real job (he works for his mother) he doesn’t understand working for a living. He’s also the author of the original ‘no gay marriage’ language to be inserted into the Indiana constitution. But he’ sure does understand what’s best for him–making repeal of inheritance taxes retroactive in case his memaw died before other legislation became effective in July. Advice to Republicans– don’t get old.

  8. One of the more hilarious things here is that The other teabagger presidential hopefuls have been able to endorse Pence’s law and score point with the base while Mike has been left holding the bag and backtrack, losing credibility with the very people he panders to.

    And, Jeb Bush has apparently also started waffling. Amazing that he couldn’t see, after watching Pence’s debacle this week, that endorsing the Indiana law was not a good idea and would cost him with voters in the real world.

  9. Perhaps the “Fix” will be signed into law in a private ceremony
    with the Governor surrounded by a delegation from the Gay Community

  10. I don’t know, Red George, per a Facebook posting a short time ago, with all state employees working hard at this “fix” – Pence has been nowhere in sight.

  11. JoAnn, Pence probably has trouble walking after shooting himself in both feet, so he may have trouble getting around. And “running” in any sense may be difficult. He’s toast in the presidential running. It’s an ill wind that blows no good.

  12. The latest Indystar post on Facebook regarding the RFRA action at the State House included “Breaking News” by Tony Cook and Tom LoBianco

    “Democrats booted from panel to allow vote on RFRA fix”

    “….. As of 1 p.m., Democrats were meeting privately to decide whether to sign off on the clarifying measure which they said doesn’t go far enough to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination. By 2:30, Republicans removed the Democrat committee members so they could move the bill without Democrat support to the full House and Senate for a final vote today.”


    The “fix” appears to support communities that already have laws/ordinances preveenting discriminating against gays and lesbians – doesn’t protect all LGBTs in the state of Indiana. No wonder Pence is in hiding!

  13. Matt Tully’s Indy Star column this morning was spot on. He said that not only is Mike not cut out for the job of being governor but he is in over his head, something that I knew long ago.

    I remember that Greg Garrison had Mike as a replacement on his radio show and listening to him was always good for a eye widening “What the x#^&(*” followed by the realization that he lived within an ideological bubble resulting in babble that defied logic.

    One of my student’s parent who went to school with him in Columbus would roll her eyes and issue a deep sign whenever his name was mentioned.

    And how can I get the image of him trying to answer George Stephanoupolos’ “yes or no” questions?

    Our national image of being the “Mississippi of the North” can hardly be improved by events this past week.

  14. We need to remember that the groups who have pushed for this RFRA have also resisted state regulations for faith-based day care centers. I am concerned that this is a hidden agenda with this bill. It has been sold to the members of these groups as a protect -small- businesses-from -the -evil -gay- community but it would also provide faith -based business with a defense to government regulations. It could endanger children, which is a hard sell, so this was not mentioned. On another note, Eric Miller states on the Advance america website that is an educational organization. If it has status as a 505(c)(3), it cannot be involved in political activities like lobbying yet I see Eric Miller descrobed in the press as a lobbyist. Some thing smells ….

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