RFRA, Pence and Holcomb

What has been interesting about having Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence on the national ticket  has been the research on Indiana’s Governor being done by national media outlets.

Here in Hoosierland, we know Pence as an avid culture warrior uninterested in the day-to-day administration of state agencies. We know him as an opponent of Planned Parenthood whose disinclination to authorize needle exchanges led to an HIV crisis in southern Indiana, as an adversary of public education responsible for diverting millions of dollars from the state’s public schools in order to provide vouchers for religious schools, and of course as the anti-gay warrior who cost the state economy millions of dollars by championing and signing RFRA.

The national press has investigated Pence’s previous activities, both in Congress and as editor of the Indiana Policy Review, a (very) conservative publication. What they’ve found won’t surprise anyone who has followed Pence, but the research has confirmed that the Governor has certainly been consistent….

For example–and despite his disclaimers of discrimination to George Stephanopolous and others–Out Magazine unearthed an earlier article advising employers not to hire LGBTQ folks, and describing homosexuality as a “pathological” condition:

“Homosexuals are not as a group able-bodied. They are known to carry extremely high rates of disease brought on because of the nature of their sexual practices and the promiscuity which is a hallmark of their lifestyle.”

Another article, from December of 1993, was entitled “The Pink Newsroom” and argued that LGBTQ folks shouldn’t be allowed to work as journalists without being forced to identify themselves as gay publicly, since their LGBTQ status would surely create a conflict of interest when writing about politics.

Other outlets have reported his efforts while in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood, his speeches warning against the use of condoms, his insistence that climate change is a “hoax,” and his longstanding support of creationism and denial of evolution.

It’s highly likely that the Trump-Pence ticket will lose nationally in November, relieving Indiana voters of the task of defeating Pence at the polls. In his place, the GOP is running Eric Holcomb for Governor. Holcomb, it turns out, is pretty much a Pence clone. (The link has video from his meeting with the editorial board of the Indianapolis Star.)

Eric Holcomb had his chance to distance himself from the economic disaster of Mike Pence’s RFRA legacy in Indiana.

Instead, in a painful 4 minute answer to the Indianapolis Star editorial board, Holcomb doubled down on the same discrimination law that risked $250 million for state’s economy, and threw his weight behind Pence’s failed agenda.

Holcomb has previously embraced all of Pence’s agenda.

In November, we’ll see whether Hoosier voters have had enough of incompetence and theocracy, or whether we will vote to endure more of the same.

This is a very strange political year.


  1. Yes, this is a very strange political year. Even more so, it is a very frightening political year. For we are seeing a public, in your face display of the worst this country has to offer. It is the open racism, the bigotry, the violence, the misogyny, the xenophobia. It is the unbridled ignorance, the disdain for knowledge, particularly science. We see and hear everyday a recklessness of speech, unashamedly lying and then a doubling down of those lies. Most frightening of all are the cheering thousands who support all of this while they call themselves “patriots”.

  2. You have defined the political battles well.
    Both the national and state outcomes are too close for me to call.
    I wish I felt your optimism on the national level.

  3. There’s no doubt that we’re following in the tragic footsteps of the French in the mid to late 30’s which eventually led to the death of the French Republic. We can now see the OMINOUS signs as the Seattle Seahawks players talk of protesting over racism during their home opener.

  4. A strange and frightening political year it is; filled with more blatant lies and discrimination directly from a presidential candidate than we have ever seen. Indiana’s homophobic Governor supports the lies and distortions and our dirty laundry is again being aired and further opened to scrutiny on the national level. When I placed my “Pence Must Go” sign in my front yard (it is still standing), I didn’t mean for him to go to Washington, D.C., with more power to discriminate against more groups on the national level.

    Pence has brought his discrimination and theocracy into the presidential campaign; completing the list of those few groups of American citizens Trump had not already set his sights on and openly attacked. He closed the circle. Is Indiana rid of him or will we be dealing with more discriminatory laws with sharper teeth to chew up and spit out any individual or group the Trump/Pence campaign has targeted. Will Indiana find itself with new leadership on January 1, 2017, or will be have Eric Holcomb in the Governor’s seat to continue and add to the Daniels/Pence legacy?

  5. I don’t know about this character that is running in Pence’s place being such a bad thing. You see, those that are voting for Trump are saying the same about Hillary – She’ll be Obama’s third term.

    I’d love to see a landslide election result this year with the country turning their backs on conservatives and turning the entire country blue. Worst Congress Ever! Worst Presidential candidate ever!

    Bernie was so spot on, we need a revolution and I hope that it is a non-violent one.

    Way off topic: I feel bad for my friend celebrating their birthday tomorrow…9/11.

  6. Well said. The Star has stated the abysmal facts where Indiana leads under Pence’s watch: black homicides, drug store robberies, suicides, meth, heroin, poor air quality, guns. Yet you never hear the governor offer counter measures or even express his anguish. He is a form of Christianity I want nothing to do with.

  7. Camile,

    “He(Pence)is a form of Christianity I want nothing to do with.”

    His Christianity is nothing more than a VEIL for his bigotry. I hate to say, at this time and place, it is about as simple as that.

  8. Theresa, I agree totally. I continue to be disappointed in fellow Americans who,enthusiastically, support Trump-Pence. I’ve tried to listen & understand them and found it a dead-end.

  9. Yeah, I’ll take a pass on voting for Holcomb. But speaking of strange political years, didn’t Senators Clinton and Obama both come out opposed to gay marriage in 2008? The President didn’t change his opinion until VP Biden essentially forced his hand in 2012.

    And here’s the kicker: Pence and Holcomb are at least honest about their shameful position. David Axelrod later revealed that Senator Obama actually supported gay marriage in 2008, but pretended to oppose it for (crass) political reasons. The President, when asked to comment, said that Axelrod was wrong. Well, David Axelrod has been one of Mr. Obama’s most fiercely loyal friends and supporters for a long time, so it’s inconceivable that he would lie about this. That makes the President a hypocrite who, when confronted with the facts, responded by doubling down. Which makes him not only a hypocrite but …. Well, you get the idea.

  10. I was looking forward to 2016 in Indiana, the year hat our State would celebrate 200 years of Statehood. I was recalling fifty years ago, when “all we heard” was how great it was to celebrate 150 years. This year has come and gone, and according to Indiana magazine, there are places in the State where the bicentennial is being celebrated, but in Indy, I see no great celebrations outside the latest brewpub.

    The point I wish to make is, “Why didn’t Governor Pence sponsor a great bicentennial festival in the capitol, Indianapolis ?” It could have featured all the great things that Indiana had going for it over the years. It would have been a unifying force, a source of affordable recreation, and possibly a moneymaker. It might even have inspired creative forces here to consider some re-creation of good things past.

  11. When Trump reads something off the wall but on his teleprompter, no matter how dumb, some in attendance stand up, clap and cheer wildly. Someone must hire them to feign enthusiastic support. There are many unemployed hams willing to perform.
    Who writes his stuff?

  12. Republicans have found, I think to their surprise as well as the rest of ours, that there is a suprising percentage of Americans who are only educated enough to be cynical, not skeptical. In the vernacular they are suckers who will follow any enticing promise regardless of the evidence.

    The GOP stumbled onto this discovery sort of accidentally when they were going through a period where they basically had run out of qualified politicians and even more importantly functional platform planks.

    That accident has redefined American politics into an advertising (read lying) media extravaganza which the oligarchs of a the world are only more than happy to fund.

    In my mind the big question is what will happen after Nov. I believe that it will be something fundamental like the replacement of the GOP but with what?

    I think speculating maybe fun but is only guessing. Wait and see is the only option.

  13. While the sentiment is fine, Shelia, I must note there is no evidence I have seen to support your claim that RFRA cost the state economy millions of dollars. Hypothesis sustained does not constitute fact. It’s no different from asserting vaccinations cause autism. There are no supporting facts. Sadly, both liberals and conservatives exercise little restraint in yielding to the temptation to move from an idea to a conclusion without confirmation.

  14. Holcomb, like Pence, is a dud mired in 19th century politics and economics (the Gilded Age). Neither could possibly in their heart of hearts believe the drivel they are parading as truth and are thus phonies. I vote in Florida where we have a Rubio problem. Rubio said he was not going to run for the Senate again when he decided to file for election to the presidency. He lied; he is running, and why? It’s because the Senate was never more than a stepping stone to higher office for him, as it will be in 2020 if he is elected this fall and Trump has come and gone as of 2016. Rubio did not represent the State of Florida or its people well when he did not sponsor or co-sponsor any meaningful legislation while in the Senate; he was too busy feathering his nest for a run for the presidency. He has even gone so far in the last twenty four hours to label Trump a dictator, and this while running for reelection to the Senate! He is feathering his nest for a presidential run even now with such a claim since the worst possible thing that could happen to his presidential aspirations would be a victory by Trump, but by doing so has risked losing Trump voters for his Senate run. I presume his handlers knew that risk and made the choice. I will be voting for the opponents of Rubio and Pence and his know-nothing partner this fall, candidates of the Republican Party scraped up from the bottom of the barrel.

  15. Correction – actually Rubio called Putin a dictator, but by necessary implication called Trump a dictator for his worship of a “strong leader” like Putin. Along with Trump’s criticism of America on Russian television and Putin’s interference in American politics with his attempts to get Trump elected, it is a known fact that Putin is a dictator and it is a fair conclusion that Trump is a would-be dictator if he can keep this charade going long enough to pull a stunner in November. So Rubio is right on both counts, though for the wrong reason.

  16. When candidates say government should be run like a business, that always sends chills up my spine because most businesses are run like dictatorships or nearly so. Especially for those businesses which are privately owned, there is no voting on who runs operations and no elections to impose the essence of a term limit. Checks and balances are mostly limited by what does or doesn’t make money and what the boss is willing to self-impose.

    Federal and state laws do impose some limits against embezzlement, polluting the environment, endangering employees and customers, but day-to-day operations are essentially dictatorships with too many bosses who spend no time on team or consensus building. Even where there is collective bargaining to restrain excesses, there are bad bosses whose power goes to their heads.

    Sheila often comments on our lack of civic literacy. Civic-mindedness is at least as large a concern, and perhaps awareness of it is higher than perceived. At various levels, most of us are aware of the broad ramifications of individual as well as collective acts and omissions. A number of businesses – meaning their bosses – integrate civic and/or charitable activity and involvement into their corporate life. I just wish that commitment was so keen that some corporations did’t feel comfortable polluting the water and air for us all, or leading the economy to collapse, or undermining public education, or causing exponential increases in Oklahoma earthquakes in the search for oil, or price-gouging on medications or health insurance, etc. – all in the prioritizing of short-term profits over the common welfare. Killing the golden goose also kills the golden eggs.

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