Republican Gov. Mike Pence, who earlier this year pushed for a religious freedom law that angered supporters of gay rights, issued a short welcome letter to Indy Pride for its LGBT celebration festival that starts this week.
"On behalf of the people of Indiana, welcome to Indianapolis," Pence wrote in the letter. "I am confident that those of you who traveled from out of state will come to know our famous Hoosier Hospitality."
Pence's short letter touts Indianapolis' attractions as a convention city but does not address specific details or the purpose of the LGBT pride event.
"Although the letter doesn't specifically welcome LGBT to the city of Indianapolis, we appreciate that Governor Pence issued us this letter," said Indy Pride president Chris Morehead.
Pence's response came months after Indy Pride requested a letter from him, during the height of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act controversy, to welcome event visitors as other elected officials routinely do.
"What better way to show that Indiana is open for business and not targeting certain groups than for the Governor of Indiana to put out the welcome mat to these visitors," Morehead wrote at the end of March. "We think it would go a long way to allay the fears the nation and the world have been expressing against RFRA."One wonders who in the Governor's Office provided Pence with the idiotic political advice that writing the letter was a good idea Penning the letter simply gave the LGBT folks and their allies another chance to attack the Governor. Didn't Pence learn anything after being assailed and vilified by that community's dishonest campaign against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a piece of legislation completely unrelated to LGBT rights?
Pence didn't win a single vote with his letter. But the letter did have one effect - it helped to continue the alienation of Governor Pence's conservative political base, this time the evangelicals who have supported Pence long after Governor's tea party supporters began leaving him over his support of things like Common Core Lite, taxpayer support for sports stadiums, local tax increases, and taxpayer subsidized
As I've said on these pages before, I like Mike. He is one the few nice guys in politics, a man with an extremely engaging personality and who seemed had endless political potential. But Pence has surrounded himself with advisers who are either clueless when it comes to political strategy or are intentionally undermining the Governor. Political success is the art of establishing a base and building upon it. In 2 1/2 years though Pence has managed to deeply alienate his base while adding nothing to it. The time for Pence to right his gubernatorial ship is running short.