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by
Rick Moran

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May 24, 2014 - 4:46 pm

If the Republican nominee for president is going to come from the ranks of current or former governors, the GOP could do worse than choose former chairman of the House Republican Conference and current governor of Indiana Mike Pence.

Pence is the kind of candidate who just might be able to act as a bridge between the warring conservative factions. His conservative voting record as a House member is nearly impeccable: no to No Child Left Behind and the prescription drug biil; no to the bank bailout; and a budget hawk who was calling for big cuts in spending before it became popular to do so on Capitol Hill.

On the other hand, he has governed Indiana via compromise and pragmatism — two traits that don’t sit well with much of the GOP base. As James Antle III writes in the American Conservative, those qualities of governance have led to several problematic decisions by Pence:

With great fanfare, Pence signed legislation pulling Indiana out of Common Core, making it the first state to junk the controversial education standards many Tea Party conservatives see as a precursor to a national curriculum. “I believe education is a state and local function,” he said. He then embraced new academic standards that were panned as “warmed over” Common Core.

Hoosiers Against Common Core describes Pence’s standards as “re-branding Common Core” and the bill he signed back in March as “a ruse to fool Common Core opponents.” The group says on its website, “The legislation gave the appearance of voiding the Common Core while the Indiana Department of Education and the Center for Education and Career Innovation walked it through the backdoor.”

Then Pence announced he would accept the federal funds that come with Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. But he vowed to seek a waiver that would allow him to pursue Medicaid reforms based on former Gov. Mitch Daniels’s Healthy Indiana Plan rather than the traditional Medicaid plan.

“Reforming traditional Medicaid through this kind of market-based, consumer-driven approach is essential to creating better health outcomes and curbing the dramatic growth in Medicaid spending,” the governor said.

Some conservatives see this too as sleight of hand. One complained to the Indianapolis Star it was “merely the latest iteration of full Obamacare Medicaid expansion thinly disguised as a conservative entitlement reform.” Other critics wrote at Forbes, “Gov. Pence has tried to cover his ObamaCare expansion plan with the veneer of the Healthy Indiana Plan begun by Mitch Daniels.”

Those who have followed Pence since he was in Congress may remember a third instance where he tried to split the baby on a contentious issue. In May 2006, as House Republicans stood against an immigration plan hatched by Bush, John McCain, and Ted Kennedy, Pence gave a speech to the Heritage Foundation in which he outlined “a rational middle ground” between “amnesty and mass deportation.”

Pence’s proposal was an ambitious guest-worker program that essentially privatized a large part of immigration enforcement. “Private worker placement agencies that we could call ‘Ellis Island Centers’ will be licensed by the federal government to match willing guest workers with jobs in America that employers cannot fill with American workers,” he said.

Pence’s immigration reform proposal never went anywhere, with some conservatives calling it “backdoor amnesty.” So what happened to the Tea Party favorite and conservative lion who served in Congress? I’ll explain on the next page.

Governors are faced with the prospect of not only talking a good game, but actually getting things done. As one of 435 House members, Pence could afford to stake out positions on the issues that were strong and uncompromising.

But an executive can’t afford to take the kinds of stands that a House member or even a senator can hold to if he wants to be successful. Accepting Medicaid expansion may appear on the surface to be a betrayal, but the several billion dollars dangled in front of Pence and other GOP governors will help tens of thousands of their citizens. It’s what makes Pence an attractive candidate to some: his willingness to eschew ideology in favor of practical governance.

Pence would be one of the longer long shots if he runs. But if he does, he should be taken seriously as someone with the experience and temperament to be a successful president.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

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All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
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I've met Mike Pence and had a private conversation with him.....at a Tea Party rally for a congressional candidate he supported at the time. This was when he was running for Governor.

He has genuine integrity and is a people person. Is he perfect? No. I haven't found the perfect "electable" candidate yet. Pence is electable...and that is important in the big scheme of things....and he is conservative. He is light years ahead of Jeb Bush as conservatism goes...and he knows his way around Washington...which many governors and ex-governors do not...and I believe our candidate will come from the governors' ranks. Congressional approval is so toxic...I just can't see the GOP nominating an electable candidate from Congress....right or wrong.

I'll take Mike Pence...and I'll take either Susan Martinez or Nikki Haley as well...preferably Haley. A woman president might be where the pendulum goes in the `16 cycle....and the GOP has better options than The Hag for dems.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Compromise isn't equivalent to surrender.

It also isn't equivalent to pragmatism.

The notion that compromise is either good...or evil...is mind numbingly stupid.

The moral equivalency crowd admires the willingness to surrender. The "purity" crowd admires the willingness to sacrifice a nation to totalitarianism while harrumphing their strict adherence to every single demand.

No rational person can enjoy this inanity.

Neither side will admit what they are doing. The moral equivalency crowd calls it "pragmatism". The purity crowd calls it principle.

Both attitudes suck as a strategy. We lose either way.

Knowing when and how to take a stand is an art form completely lost. It has only the crappy binary choice of losers.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
In 2008 and 2012, I voted ABO ... Anyone But Obama. In 2016, I'll vote ABH ... Anyone But the Hag.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
There's a lot to like about Pence, but I have to take issue with the following:

"Accepting Medicaid expansion may appear on the surface to be a betrayal, but the several billion dollars dangled in front of Pence and other GOP governors will help tens of thousands of their citizens."

Eating a half-gallon of ice cream in one sitting may appear to be attractive at the start, but it's still a dumb move that will leave you with a stomach ache at the end. Same with the Medicaid expansion: that federal subsidy ends in a few years, leaving the state on the hook for the entire bill, requiring a massive tax increase to cover, with all the painful effects that entails. Pence's plan may be "pragmatic," but how is it wise?

"It’s what makes Pence an attractive candidate to some; his willingness to eschew ideology in favor of practical governance."

Blind adherence to ideology is one thing, but many use "practical governance" as a cover for having no real principles at all. Here in California, I found that out time and again under Governor Schwarzenegger. I don't know if this is true in Governor Pence's case, in fact, I suspect it isn't, but, in light of his moves in education and healthcare, it seems prudent to be wary of him.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
It seems prudent to be wary of anybody whom the press deems "electable".
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Pence's "pragmatism" seems always to come at the expense of giving an intrusive and out of control Federal government more and permanent control at the local level. He lies better than Boehner, and doesn't break into tears. But those are not sufficient qualifications for conservatives to support him for President.

Subotai Bahadur
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Pence becomes the Republican nominee, I'd want to hear his position on foreign policy, government spending, and expansion, the Second Amendment, and other issues.

But I wouldn't automatically vote for him just because he had an "R" behind his name.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
None Of The Above is suicide. Think of it as evolution in action.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Think of it as evolution in action." is supposed to be in quotes, being a direct quote from the Niven & Pournelle novel "Oath of Fealty". Excellent novel; I highly recommend it. The quote happens when the bad guy makes a Darwin Award-style move.

There are two positions on which I cannot compromise; the 2nd Amendment (I'm for it) and immigration amnesty (I'm against it.) I'm flexible on other issues, but like Gridley, "I wouldn't automatically vote for him just because he had an "R" behind his name."
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think you mean "natural selection", rather than "evolution".

And no one mentioned "none of the above". My vote will go to the candidate who acts most conservatively, not one who feigns it.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
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