Be careful what you wish for

Hungry for an alternative to the mad king Donald, Republicans on the Hill now begin to eye the quiet midwesterner who follows him around, smiling and saying little. Wouldn’t he make a great president? Calm, level-headed, such a relief. Before we get too excited, perhaps a closer look at the vice president, Mike Pence, would benefit us all. What kind of president would he be? Where does he stand on the important issues? Let his record  speak to us.

Mike Pence is a devout evangelical Christian who likes to talk about his faith. He accepted Jesus as his personal savior as a college student. He describes himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.” A former Democrat and admirer of John F. Kennedy, he crossed the aisle, so to speak, since those days.

As governor of Indiana, he guided through the state legislature a bill that permits discrimination against LGBT people by private businesses. No one hates abortions more than Pence. He pushed Indiana’s new law that bans abortion for disabled fetuses and requires women who’ve had abortions or miscarriages, no matter how early, to arrange for either burial or cremation of the remains. As governor, he cut $1 million from domestic violence legislation and slashed higher-education funding while cutting corporate taxes.

According to The Nation, he led the fight in 2011 to shut down the government over funding for Planned Parenthood, and as governor cut Planned Parenthood funding in half from 2005 levels.

Pence served 12 years in Congress, where he was one of the most conservative members. In addition to his crusade against reproductive rights, he voted for the Iraq War, for prayer in the schools, and for barring the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases; co-sponsored a bill repealing the Affordable Care Act. In 1992, as executive director of a conservative foundation, he attacked president George H.W. Bush for signing the 1991 Civil Rights Act. He doesn’t believe in global warming or that smoking causes lung cancer, and he would like to see creationism taught in public schools.  The NRA gives him its A rating.

From Time magazine we learn that Pence proposed a state-run news agency that drew instant criticism from all corners, both for its perceived affront to free press and  because of its cost.

CNBC reports that In 2011, the language of a bill Pence co-sponsored surfaced in a piece of legislation that repealed the estate tax and provided relief from the alternative minimum tax, tweaks that tend to help richer folks. Unsurprisingly, Pence voted against the Dodd-Frank Act, which regulated banks more stringently after the 2008 crisis, and against imposing regulation on the subprime-mortgage industry. He opposes increasing the minimum wage.

There’s more, but these facts provide us some valuable insight. How’s he done lately? Time offers this summary: “He defends Trump’s tweet storms, excuses his false statements and backs hires like chief strategist Steve Bannon, who once published blistering criticism of Pence on the website Breitbart. Pence stayed silent when Trump contradicted him during debates and at rallies, and maintained that the President-elect was behind a deal that saved 700 jobs at one Indiana factory. Without Indiana’s economic-development dollars, which Pence still controls, the deal would have been DOA. Loyalty is the ultimate qualification inside Trump Tower, and Pence was rich in that commodity.”

His political ambitions? Earlier this week Pence formed a new leadership political action committee called the Great America Committee.

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