Pence Postures

Watching Indiana Governor Pence frantically trying to save his political skin may be the best show in town.

We’ve had the announcements spinning Indiana’s lackluster economic performance. We’ve had the new state slogan, proclaiming that Indiana is “a state that works.” (A former student asked the pertinent question: who, exactly, does it work for? Certainly not for ALICE, or for Hoosier working families.)

However, these fairly typical campaign efforts are unlikely to overcome the “Pence Must Go” sentiment that has continued to grow in the wake of the RFRA controversy.

So over the last few days, we’ve also seen determined efforts to pander to his (declining) base.

Pence has been positively salivating over the heavily doctored video attacking Planned Parenthood. (See yesterday’s post.) He immediately ordered Indiana’s Attorney General and its Department of Health to investigate, to “make sure” Planned Parenthood wasn’t “trading” in fetal tissue.

Indiana citizens will recall that the Governor spent most of his time in Congress fighting  the culture wars, and especially trying to defund Planned Parenthood. (Perhaps that’s why he was responsible for passing exactly zero pieces of legislation in his eleven years in Congress.) Planned Parenthood has vehemently denied the allegations, and the Indiana Department of Health recently inspected and recertified Planned Parenthood’s facilities. Attorney General Greg Zoeller, of course, has his own culture war history….In any event, Pence clearly sees the emergence of this phony issue as a gift.

I assume the Governor also sees it as a golden opportunity to mend the rift with his Religious Right supporters, who have been angry about what they view as his “capitulation” on RFRA. (Honest, guys, I’m still the radically theocratic guy you used to love….)

Then there was his ostentatious arming of National Guard troops at recruiting centers in the wake of the tragic shooting in Tennessee. I’m sure he thinks the NRA, not to mention the anti-Muslim and/or anti-immigration members of his base, will respond positively to this display of unnecessary machismo. (He’s probably right about that.) And just in case we missed the symbolism, there was Tuesday’s order to fly flags at half-staff in Indiana, and the declaration of a period of mourning for those killed in Tennessee (a gesture of respect not accorded to the many Hoosier soldiers who died in Iraq).

Will any of this work? Will Pence be able to eke out an electoral victory now that more Hoosiers have seen the real Mike Pence? Or will Indiana’s often-feckless Democrats fail to take advantage of the political opening they’ve been handed?

Pass the popcorn. The show’s starting.


  1. All true. But in IN, it seems one can elect a Ham Sandwich if it has an “R” next to its name.

  2. You might want to get a little extra popcorn …

    In addition to Pence, the City appears to have a fiasco with Electric Cars.

  3. And then there is the continued destruction of public school funding. Indiana has a serious shortage of teachers. Why go into a profession that is constantly being attacked and downgraded by the governors and the legislature. This is going to haunt us for decades.

  4. “However, these fairly typical campaign efforts are unlikely to overcome the “Pence Must Go” sentiment that has continued to grow in the wake of the RFRA controversy.”

    What controversy? What sentiment?

    I didn’t see a single one of these signs in Bedford, in Plainfield, in Greenwood, in Terre Haute or in North Vernon.

    I do see the occasional such sign in Lockerbie and up the few blocks east or west of Central Avenue up to 86th St., but those are just shrill Democrats who vote their own narrow special interests and not the good of the state.

    All Pence is seeing is that the people who never liked him still don’t like him. That’s politics. I doubt Mike Pence worries much about mythical figures such as unicorns or swing voters in Lockerbie.

  5. Pence is vulnerable, but the Democrats need to find someone other than Gregg. Gregg lost once to Pence why play the same card again. Rely on Pence to try to double down on getting support from the Bible Thumpers, the Dooms Day Preppers and those in the Survivalist Mentality.

  6. Red, Ballard is gone, and Hogsett is going to win the Mayor’s race.

    Ballard declared war on Pence, and the same machine that put up Ballard put up Brewer, so I wouldn’t look for Pence to step in to save the Marion County GOP bunch in this electric car fiasco.

  7. Bravo to Nancy for pointing out that almost everything in today’s article is just a distraction from what actually matters. We all know that the RFRA and Planned Parenthood things are base-baiting political garbage. While we lose our minds about them, the real political players get what they want: turning public money into private profits. I’m pro-choice and pro-gay rights, but what keeps me up at night is knowing that we are turning a generation of children into fungible assets viewed only as a test score with a dollar sign next to it. Or that every player in the crash of 2008 is preparing to do (or doing) THE EXACT SAME THING in the next five years. The pizza hillbillies from six months ago are fun to debate, but the real monsters are hiding in plain site and doing more damage in a day then 1,000 small-town pizza places could do in a lifetime.

  8. Pence didn’t even read the party line convincingly in his sound bite. He’s toast and he knows it.

  9. Gopper has a point. . .

    Republicans hope that the electorate will have enough amnesia to get Pence re-elected. There’s a very good chance that that could happen.

    Gopper wasn’t here in Plainfield where there were a few signs but he does have a point that “folks” often overlook past transgressions, misjudgments, bad behavior, etc. when the election cycle comes back.

    Pence likes to talk “jobs” and the “economy” but he’s much more comfortable fighting the culture wars.

    Democrats who want to unseat him — and I agree that John Gregg has the Thomas Dewey factor working against him (including the mustache) –need only replay the George Stephanopolos interview featuring Mike whining, “But George” over and over and over and over. . .

  10. John,

    They can’t replay Steph’s attack interview, because it was subsequently revealed that Steph was donating to Hillary at the same time he was interviewing her and covering her. Steph is a Democratic operative.

    Steph’s credibility is shot. If ABC had half the integrity of NBC, they would have canned him.

  11. Sorry, I missed yesterday’s article. “Heavily doctored video?” Sheila, you leave out the part that the ENTIRE 2 hour and 45 minute luncheon meeting was also posted on YouTube which I watched, though I doubt you did. Yes, there is an eight minute version of that. So what? The fact you produce an edited version of a longer piece doesn’t make it “doctored.” Do TV stations”doctor” their stories when they show only a bit of what is actually filmed? Of course not. We can dispute whether the edited version is accurate which is fair. But, again, you ignore the fact that the entire luncheon meeting is available on line for anyone who might have questions about the edited version.

    Personally I, like most Americans, have a problem with people profiting off the selling of fetal body parts. The PP’s doctors (actually there has been a subsequent video) are clearly shown haggling over the price of those fetal body parts. You don’t haggle when the law only allows you to recover costs. You state what those costs are and the vendor can take it or leave it.

    In the first video, the Dr. Nucotala also talks about changing her medical procedure to produce an “intact specimen” including “changing the presentation” of the unborn child to make the child a breech during the abortion. She said could “crush above” or “crush below” depending on what organ or body party is wanted. And you have no problem with that? Even the PP President said that was wrong. Her defense was instead a claim Dr. Nucatola got her facts wrong, although Nucatola is senior director of medical services for PP.

    As far as only 3% of PP’s activities including abortion so what? PP is still the largest producer of abortion services in the country.

    I’m surprised Sheila you’re defending what was discussed on the video. Even the PP President says what is shown is indefensible.

  12. “I’m surprised Sheila you’re defending what was discussed on the video. ”

    Truly, are you, Paul? At your word, I suspect you’re then a decent person who more or less believes most people are at bottom decent. This makes you a good man, but naive. You truly need to educate yourself on what comprises the other side. It will shock you.

    Core Anglo-Saxon beliefs that you think are universally held are simply not. To some, life does not have the intrinsic value you ascribe to it. In certain ideologies and cultures, some are simply not given full moral respect as equal humans. The consequences of diminished recognition are abhorrent.

  13. Gopper:
    Do those consequences include the wealthiest in our nation, enjoying their lowest tax rates in history, living ultra-comfortably and wanting to pay even less in taxes while 1 in 6 children do not have adequate nutrition ? Or are you blathering again about the conservative ideology and how precious life is only to conservatives? Conservatives think that life is only precious before birth, when it can be used as a political wedge; after they’re born conservatives are happy to let them starve and live the substandard life they deserve for being born poor.

  14. Pence postures, but is so insincere about it that he looks like the buffoon he is. The worst example that comes to mind is the campaign ad showing him and his wife, wearing plaid shirts and denim jeans, standing in front of a big red barn with a pick up truck parked next to it. Who does he think he’s kidding anyway? This ad screams: “we think you’re stupid enough to believe that we’re just ordinary farmers.” Every time this ad cam on TV, my blood pressure went up.

    Speaking of posturing, I was infuriated last night while watching real-time coverage of the tragedy in Louisiana. The screen kept flashing messages that Jindal was on his way, then he arrived, etc.. Why? The bodies hadn’t even been removed yet, and he’s there, in front of the camera, pretending to be a sincere leader in charge of handling the situation, which is pure bull. He had nothing to offer, and the police were more than capable of gathering evidence, processing the scene and knowing when and how to announce information. Jindal is not a first-responder, crime-scene investigator or even a trained police officer. Taking over this tragedy for free publicity is an insult to those who were killed and injured.

  15. Gopper:

    “They can’t replay Steph’s attack interview, because it was subsequently revealed that Steph was donating to Hillary at the same time he was interviewing her and covering her. Steph is a Democratic operative.”

    I’d like to sell you some Florida swampland!

    Of course it can be used . . . few will remember the issue you raised but EVERYONE who saw that video remembers Mike’s desperation and fumbled response, and as much as his campaign may try to convince voters that Stephanopolos was merely an “operative,” the question was not a difficult one to answer with an honest response which Pence’s clearly was not. . .

  16. Just a great chance for a photo, op, Natacha. Jindal is no better nor worse than the others in that wacko camp of 2016-ers. They are republican bumper cars like at the state fair of our youth, aimlessly running into each other and having no real purpose for being out there.

  17. Exciting day here in the blogosphere. Paul and Gopper are hanging tight to Fox News coverage that says PP is in the business of selling body parts so by implication enticing women to get abortions for fun and profit. And with just a little entrapment they have admitted so.

    I’m thinking that the video shows how effective entrapment is when combined with selective interpretation which is really Fox New’s strong point. They will continue to manufacture news until something, anything, sticks, all of the while saying nothing about the dismal actual performance of who’s paying their bills.

    Oh well, same ol’, same ‘ol.

    I believe that their manufactured news is up to about one crises a week so with a year left they might someday stumble across a real one randomly some time before Election Day.

    Of course when they do they’ll be greatly perturbed that they don’t have an alternative to offer. And that their base is swirling the drain.

    One thing that I will give them though is that there is no telling how far behind Indiana is from the rest of the country. It could be that fighting for last place is a permanent fate.

  18. Paul and Gopper both using “out of context” comments to prove their point but the abreviated video of this issue was all out of context – guess they thought we wouldn’t notice they were merely continuing the PP misreporting…again.

  19. Right on, Natasha, about your description of Pence. He looked so uncomfortable with that truck, I had the feeling he took a bath right afterwards to get the cooties off. A true empty suit. Too bad they didn’t show him shoveling manure. It could have been on America’s Funniest Videos.

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