Yesterday, after a lot of hemming and hawing and indecisiveness from dictator wanna-be Donald Trump, he finally announced his choice for the vice-presidential slot on the Republican ticket, Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Trump used Twitter, his favorite outlet for his stubby-fingered typing, to announce his decision:
I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my Vice Presidential running mate. News conference tomorrow at 11:00 A.M.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2016
Trump’s selection of a true right-winger as his running mate should come as no surprise. Other than his scary and un-American attitudes towards minorities, particularly Muslims and Mexicans, Trump’s policy positions on international trade agreements and other issues have not endeared him to the GOP Tea Party base. On many issues Trump has said so many contradictory things that trying to figure out exactly where he stands is like trying to catch a swimming fish with your bare hands. By picking Pence, a governor and former U.S. congressman with a solidly conservative record, Trump has “balanced” the ticket with someone who speaks the GOP’s language on core social issues like opposing LGBTQ rights and seeking to restrict women’s rights to reproductive choice. Trump now has all of his bases covered.
Before diving into Pence’s frightening record as congressman and governor and his rejection of science and reason, I must digress for a moment to talk about the ridiculously amateurish campaign logo that the Trump campaign shared yesterday shortly after Trump’s tweet naming Pence as his running mate:
Social media and the blogosphere lit up like a Christmas tree with hilarious posts about the suggestive insertion of Trump’s T into Pence’s P and the ill-conceived emphasis on the initials TP, an acronym most closely associated with the product used to wipe your ass. A GIF where the T moves up and down inside the P went viral in minutes:
Florida congressman and senate candidate Alan Grayson nicely summed up the reaction to the Trumpence logo:
This logo accurately represents what Trump Pence will do to America. pic.twitter.com/HQisP8QVzb
— Rep. Alan Grayson (@AlanGrayson) July 15, 2016
Anyway, if elected Vice President, Mike Pence would be by far the most right-wing politician to ever hold that office. You may remember last year when Pence ignited national outrage by signing into law a hateful Indiana anti-LGBTQ bill that, like several other red-state proposals and laws since the Supreme Court outlawed same-sex marriage bans in Obergefell, used “religious freedom” as an excuse to allow businesses to refuse to provide services to gays and lesbians. Pence backtracked and later signed an amended statute that muddied the water by stating that nothing in the law allowed discrimination against gays or lesbians. He only did this after businesses threatened to pull out of Indiana, which would have cost the state jobs. Slate described the brouhaha like this:
Republican legislators had forced the bill through in response to several lawsuits in states that forbid anti-LGBTQ discrimination, arguing that religious businesses should have a right to discriminate against LGBTQ people. While Indiana does not actually forbid anti-LGBTQ discrimination, some cities do, and the measure was meant to let businesses ignore these statutes if serving same-sex couples would violate their sincerely held religious beliefs. It’s not totally clear that Pence understood this at the time. But he quickly grasped the danger of the bill when its passage sparked a campaign against his state for legalizing discrimination.
Pence in this episode demonstrated both his eagerness to deny basic rights to human beings to serve the despicable GOP anti-gay agenda and his political stupidity and cowardice. He quickly backed down when the going got tough. He’s not exactly a brave warrior; he’s a sniveling sycophant more interested in winning elections than doing the right thing.
Pence also championed an anti-choice law that a Texas federal court later struck down as an unconstitutional infringement on a woman’s right to choose an abortion. My favorite lefty blog, Wonkette, described the law this way:
Among other gross things, it requires counseling on “perinatal hospice care” for those who are considering abortions due to lethal fetal abnormalities (like when the kid is going to be born with a brain outside its skull and will only live for 20 minutes of excruciating pain); bans abortions based on sex, race or genetic abnormalities like Down’s Syndrome or Tay-Sachs; requires someone seeking an abortion to watch an ultrasound and listen to a fetal heartbeat 18 hours before obtaining an abortion; and makes it a Level 5 felony to donate fetal tissue or accept donations of fetal tissue.
The fact is, this law would absolutely violate the privacy and doctor-patient privilege of those seeking abortions, by requiring doctors to inform on patients the government believes are getting abortions for the wrong reasons.
Pence’s opposition to reproductive choice goes way back. While in Congress he had this to say about the GOP proposal to de-fund Planned Parenthood:
To those who say we should focus on fiscal issues, instead of the right to life, I say, ‘What is more fiscally responsible than rolling back this administration’s effort to expand funding for abortion at home and abroad?’ What is more fiscally responsible than denying any and all funding to Planned Parenthood of America?
In addition to being against women’s choice and LGBTQ rights, Pence, like many on the right wing, rejects the basic findings of science. He’s against reason and logic, a disturbing trend Yr Stranger plans to write about at length.
A couple of years ago, Indiana had an HIV outbreak with 191 cases reported linked to the injection of a pain-killer. Health officials advocated a needle exchange program. Such programs are known to drastically cut down on the spread of HIV by the sharing of intravenous needles.
Pence rejected the idea. He did not care what health experts thought.
In 2001, when Pence was running for Congress, he wrote an op-ed piece defending tobacco companies and stating, literally, that smoking does not kill:
Time for a quick reality check. Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill. In fact, 2 out of every three smokers does not die from a smoking related illness and 9 out of ten smokers do not contract lung cancer. This is not to say that smoking is good for you…. news flash: smoking is not good for you. If you are reading this article through the blue haze of cigarette smoke you should quit. The relevant question is, what is more harmful to the nation, second hand smoke or back handed big government disguised in do-gooder healthcare rhetoric.
So. The presumptive GOP presidential candidate has selected as his VP running-mate a cowardly and opportunistic career politician who hates the LGBTQ community, wants to force women to have babies they do not want, and rejects basic accepted science in defense of the evil tobacco industry.