Monday, July 25, 2011

Mike Pence's Ill-Advised Primary Campaign Strategy

I've mentioned before on these pages that I like Rep. Mike Pence.  We're both from southeastern Indiana, he from Columbus while I hail from Madison.  Mike and I were at Hanover College together 1979-1980 and in law school, he was a class ahead of me and drew cartoons for the law school newspaper for which I was editor.  Mike and I talked politics quite a few times in law school and I share his views on probably 90% of the issues.  Although liberals try to make Mike Pence out to be some sort of mean-spirited ogre, he in fact is an extremely likable person who is much more open-minded than he's been portrayed.  Pence should score well with Hoosier voters.

Having said that, I think his strategy of not talking about issues until after the primary is terribly misguided.  The Indianapolis Star reports:
Rep. Mike Pence leads a small pack of candidates for governor handily in campaign cash and enjoys the status of being the Republican establishment candidate in a GOP-dominated state.

But one of his first campaign promises, made the day before he kicked off his campaign last month, was that he won't talk policy until after the May 2012 Republican primary -- which he's widely expected to win.

"I was insulted," said Fishers businessman Jim Wallace, who is challenging Pence for the Republican nomination. "I think that presumes voters don't care or don't know that there should be a serious discussion."

Pence spokesman Matt Lloyd won't comment, and the Pence campaign won't release the names of Republicans who are working on his policy team and advising him on state issues. But the campaign isn't lacking for experience: Chris Atkins, Daniels' former budget aide, is running Pence's policy operation.

Unfortunately for voters who crave details, Pence's policy silence is brilliant politics, said former Republican state Rep. Mike Murphy, who now does political consulting.

"If you're the front-runner, you want to talk as little about policy as possible because you're already the presumptive nominee," Murphy said. "Any nuance of a policy proposal could drive prospective voters away."
To see the rest of the article, click here.

I couldn't disagree more with former Rep. Murphy.  While what Murphy is saying about issues is true in a vacuum, campaigns aren't conducted in a vacuum.  The problem is that the Pence strategy to avoid issues will become THE issue.  If Pence is unwilling to address policy details until the primary is over, he's likely to deeply alienate many GOP-leaning voters as he squares off against Fishers businessman Jim Wallace next May.  Wallace is playing it extremely smart playing the role of victim and saying he's "insulted" about the Pence strategy.  The Wallace people are, in fact, probably thrilled with the Pence campaign strategy, which could alienate so many otherwise Pence-leaning Republicans as to give the businessman an actual shot of winning the primary.

Even more troublesome for the GOP is that the Pence campaign strategy gives presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee former Speaker John Gregg an opening.  If I'm Gregg, leading up to the primary I hammer Pence relentlessly for not talking about the issues.  By the time the primary is over, there will be a segment of Republicans deeply alienated, indeed insulted, by the Pence campaign strategy.   Those Republicans might very well be inclined to vote for a moderate, good old boy Democrat like Gregg.

I hope there were at least some Pence advisers who warned against this ill-advised campaign strategy.  If not, Pence needs better advisers on his team.


Cato said...

Gary deleted my comment, so I'll try it here.

Pence won't talk policy because he's one of those right-wing, Protestant, pro-Israel goofballs, and we saw how well those guys fit in in Norway.

Perhaps false-flag Carlos Lam has an opportunity in the Pence administration?

Nicolas Martin said...

That's a bit much, Cato, linking Pence to a mass murderer (who is not Bush). Just as quoting Locke doesn't link the Norway killer to libertarians, being a conservative Protestant doesn't link him to Pence. American conservatives like their civilians killed by governments, not by free agents.

Now to my question: How did Pence vote on the creation of the TSA?

Blog Admin said...

Nicolas, you'll have to refresh my memory. Did the Patriot Act create the TSA, or was it a separate piece of legislation?

Nicolas Martin said...

Pence has made a habit of dodging hot issues.

Mike Pence (R-IN) Gets Hammered on his Creationism by Chris Matthews

Nicolas Martin said...

Pence voted for creation of the TSA as part of the
Secure Transportation for America Act, which I think was eventually named the Airport Security Federalization Act of 2001.

The oft-demonized Nancy Pelosi voted against it, as did the heroic Ron Paul.

Nicolas Martin said...

Not to hijack the comments entirely, but my point is that when the rubber hits the road Republicans are just as willing to enlarge government as Democrats, though sometimes for different reasons. And who could have anticipated that TSA employees would become unionized?

Rather than supporting the private option, Pence voted for creation of a massive new federal agency, having been warned that it would engender a large new union workforce. He is, in short, a typical Republican. Their small government, low-taxes con is so transparent than even Mr. Ogden may catch on to it someday.

Cato said...

Sorry, Nic, I'm opening fire on the neocons. They have entire media networks devoted to demonizing Muslims, and any time they find someone of Muslim heritage who so much as jaywalks, they use it as a new justification to advance the culture war, to foment hatred of the "Other" and to restrict our liberties.

I think 9/11 was completely concocted by the Bushies and Israel as a justification to get us involved in perpetual occupation of the Middle East, so I have little worry about using the neocons' own tactics against them.

If Barack Obama, Andre Carson and Keith Ellison equal Al Qaeda, then the neocon, pro-Israel, AIPAC scumballs equal Norway and 9/11.

If Fox News were as hysterical about white terrorism as brown terrorism, AIPAC would be as reviled as the "Ground Zero Mosque."

Glenn Greenwald wrote an excellent piece on this:

Nicolas Martin said...

The conservatives are usually ugly xenophobic nationalists. That I'll grant. (How many of the Republican presidential candidates have denounced Herman Cain's recent bilge or the nasty campaign against the NYC Islamic center?) Hate-mongers Coulter and Malkin are mainstream Republicans, after all.

There are so many solid reasons to criticize the Republicans that there is no reason to link them to Norway; and I don't like smear by implication. By the second day there were already web sites trying to link the killings to libertarianism, and there are no more savage Muslim haters than the Randians, who are linked to some libertarians.

Cato said...

Again, sorry, Nic. If 9/11 and 7/7 were ample justification for those demagogues to turn America into a flag-sucking, military-worshiping, pledge-reciting, cop-obeying, warrantless-searching tyranny, then Norway is all the justification a counter-disinformation soldier of liberation needs to turn the neocons, pro-Israelies, and Evangelicals into the greatest threat this country faces.

We must re-elect Obama to keep the conservative specter of terrorism at bay.

Fight like they do, Nic. Get the neocons on the run.

Nicolas Martin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicolas Martin said...

On this I'm with King and Gandhi. Fight like them and you become them.

I forget who said it; it might have been Thomas Szasz:

"Since the ends are never achieved, the means are everything."

The is the essence, if not the exact quote.

Ben said...

1 Blue Cross/Blue Shield $28,000 $9,000 $19,000
2 RSD $27,600 $27,600 $0
3 Morgan Stanley $24,900 $24,900 $0
4 Pence-Friedel Developers $23,500 $23,500 $0
5 AT&T Inc $20,300 $300 $20,000
6 Krieg Devault LLP $18,700 $18,700 $0
7 Hasten Bancorp $18,500 $18,500 $0
8 American Dental Assn $17,500 $0 $17,500
8 Associated Builders & Contractors $17,500 $0 $17,500
10 Eli Lilly & Co $17,200 $8,500 $8,700
11 Wells Fargo $15,498 $10,498 $5,000
12 Riverside Manufacturing $15,100 $15,100 $0
13 National Assn of Convenience Stores $15,000 $0 $15,000
13 National Assn of Home Builders $15,000 $0 $15,000
13 National Beer Wholesalers Assn $15,000 $0 $15,000
13 American Bankers Assn $15,000 $0 $15,000
17 Heritage Foods $14,800 $14,800 $0
18 McArdle Realty & Consulting $13,300 $13,300 $0
19 Microsoft Corp $13,000 $2,000 $11,000
20 UBS AG $12,750 $250 $12,500

Interesting that five of the top 20 are banks or related to big money banks

Cato said...

Nic, King and Gandhi are saints, but their lives and their work would be made much easier if the likes of Pence never ascended to office.

Where he and his nutty ideas lead is nowhere good.

Nicolas Martin said...

If King and Gandhi were "saints" and Pence is evil, why do you propose that we behave like Pence?

Paul K. Ogden said...

How did this blog post evolve (devolve?) into talking about 9/11 and Muslims?

Cato said...

Nic, actually, I don't. That Pence's philoisraelifying leads to violence is empirically accurate.

That Bush neocon crowd, of which Pence was a devout fellow traveler, has fomented anti-Muslim hate and adoration of Israel, such to the point that American conservatives now consider it an act of war on America for a country to fire a shot at Israel. So many stupid conservatives are willing to commit American blood and treasure for the "security" of Israel, whatever that is.

This is real danger that America faces, and it leads to real harm that the adherents of these neocons inflict on others.

"How did this blog post evolve (devolve?) into talking about 9/11 and Muslims?"

That's what this case is. about, Paul. This is blowback of 9/11 policy and rhetoric.

Had Enough Indy? said...

No comment on your comments thread here.

Back to the Pence promise not to talk policy -- do you really think it will alter the primary outcome?

Nicolas Martin said...

Why is it a devolution of the thread to direct attention to Pence's hypocrisy about big government in supporting the formation of federalized airport security, which rather obviously has a great deal to do with 9/11 and Muslims?

Cato said...

Paul, this was published, this morning:

Norway was so obviously 9/11 blowback that traces back to the unctuous neocons.

What do you regularly read? Try visiting, every morning. It's a great compendium of cogent political thought.