Unlike his boss, Vice President Mike Pence is an experienced politician. In fact, before becoming VP, Pence was the governor of Indiana. So we should be able to get some idea of what kind of president Pence might be, if (for some reason) Donald Trump stops being the president.
Which is why this report from an Indiana newspaper is worrisome. The article is titled “With Pence gone, fellow Republicans undo his work in Indiana”.
When Pence became the vice president, he was able to handpick Eric Holcomb (who had been his lieutenant governor) to be his successor as Indiana governor. Plus Republicans hold supermajorities of both chambers of the Indiana legislature. One might think that not much would have changed after Pence left the state to join the White House.
One would be wrong. The new governor and the legislature immediately started reversing Pence’s policies in the state:
- Pence had struck a tentative deal to lease state-owned cell towers to an Ohio company. Holcomb cancelled that deal.
- Pence refused to pardon Keith Cooper, who had been wrongfully convicted of robbery almost 20 years ago. This despite a pardon recommendation from the Indiana parole board and a petition for Cooper’s pardon that had collected 100,000 signatures. All eyewitnesses in the case had recanted their testimony and DNA evidence did not implicate Cooper in the crime. Holcomb pardoned Cooper.
- Pence refused to declare an emergency for an East Chicago neighborhood where residents have been forced to leave because of lead contamination. Holcomb reversed that decision and declared an emergency so that federal funds can be used to solve the contamination problem.
- Pence opposed needle exchange programs to stop the spread of disease among drug abusers. Holcomb has announced his support for that program.
- Pence opposed tax increases to pay for road improvements, while Holcomb has endorsed them.
- For their part, the legislature overturned Pence’s most recent vetoes. One was a veto of environmental rules (overturned by a vote of 93 to 2), and the other affected universities in the state.
Why are Republicans trying to seemingly erase Pence’s legacy? Because Pence is an ideologue. Some might even call him a religious zealot, who governs based on his religious convictions. That may have made his religious base happy, but was not good for the state. There is no doubt that he would do the same thing as president.
But perhaps even more important to Pence than his religion is his ambition, which is why he supports Donald Trump with unquestioning devotion, even though Donald Trump is a completely non-religious person who is only too happy to commit grievous religious sins (coveting other’s wives, adultery, lying, bearing false witness, stealing, etc.) and even brag about them.
This does not bode well for the future, as Time magazine has already published an editorial calling for Trump’s impeachment.
UPDATE: Plus bookmakers are very close on the question of whether Trump will make it through his first term. The question doesn’t seem to be whether Trump deserves to be impeached, but whether the Republicans will have the guts to do it.
Also published on Medium.