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Who is Mike Pence?



With the odds increasing that Trump will not last out his term, all eyes turn to the man who would succeed him as president: Vice President Michael Pence.

Most Americans know very little of him, except for a few things: He’s a Christian conservative. He’s a rather handsome older man. And his gaze of adoration as he stares at Trump reminds many of the late Nancy Reagan’s worshipful, unblinking gaze at her husband, Ronald.

Here’s some more skinny on the Veep who might be POTUS. Like Trump, he is a Gemini, born on June 7, 1959. His public notoriety really began when he was a conservative T.V. and radio talk show host in the mid-1990s; his model was Rush Limbaugh. He developed some of the conservative memes he still pushes, like global warming is a “myth.”

Pence was a fierce, uncompromising anti-Clintonite, which he remains to this day: during the campaign, he told a rapt audience at Living World Baptist Church that Bill Clinton lacked “character” because of the Lewinsky scandal, while Donald Trump will bring the highest level of integrity to the highest office in the land.”

The nineteen (at least) women who have accused Trump of sexual assault might disagree with that characterization!

Pence used his talk show host infamy to get elected to Congress in 2000, representing Indiana’s 2nd district, a heavily Republican area. In the Congress, Pence’s star rapidly rose; by 2009 he was chairman of the House Republican Conference. Around that time, he became a member of the House Tea Party Caucus—the first member of GOP leadership to do so. He was also a big supporter of the rightwing Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann. In an interview, he stated that he was “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.”

Give him credit for honesty, in admitting that his religious convictions supersede his loyalty to his political party but also, apparently, his loyalty to the Constitution and laws of the United States.

Pence’s political prominance continued to rise when, in 2013, he became Governor of Indiana. He promptly acted on his political agenda: the biggest tax cut in Indiana’s history, restricting abortion, and signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which notoriously allowed business owners (such as bakers) to refuse to deal with gay people, if they felt that selling a wedding cake to homosexuals would “substantially burden” their “exercise of religion.”

Pence’s homophobia appeals to his hard-core Christian conservative base, but even Trump himself has stated on the record that Pence “wants to hang them all [i.e., gay people].”  Sarah Huckabee Sanders might claim that this was said tongue-in-cheek, as she alleged concerning his “Democrats are treasonous” remark, but as I’ve pointed out repeatedly—as recently as Monday—the extent to which religious fanatics are prepared to act violently against their perceived enemies is a function of the power they possess. There’s no reason not to think that Pence, in his secret heart, really does wish to see LGBTQ people swinging from trees. If that’s too far-fetched, he would at least like to see them forced into “conversion therapy,” which he called for in Indiana, when he said that “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” Those “institutions” included, of course, Bachmann & Associates, the anti-gay, Christian “conversion therapy” center in Minnesota owned by Marcus Bachmann, the husband of Pence’s old Tea Party colleague, Michelle.

This is the man who stands a good chance of being the next President of the United States. I’m all for getting rid of Trump by any means necessary. I fully understand the risks of his being replaced by someone who is, in many respects, even more mentally unstable and dangerous. But my motto is, One fight at a time. Let’s take Trump down. Then we’ll deal with Pence, who, frankly, in my opinion, would be a very weak candidate for re-election.






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