Skip to comments.Pence and The Revolution: Five reasons he might be the 2016 dark horse to watch
Posted on 09/11/2013 5:07:43 AM PDT by Bratch
Hes more charismatic than Scott Walker, more conservative than Chris Christie and, unlike so many of the top-tier 2016 Republicans, he has actually run a state.
So why isnt Indiana Gov. Mike Pence generating the kind of buzz worthy of a top-tier candidate?
Probably because while his opponents have been show horses, hes been a work horse. And that makes him a dark horse.
Here are five reasons why we should take Pences chances very seriously:
1. The résumé - [A]s a former congressman and now a governor, [Pence] has garnered that hard-won two-fer status, thus giving him a very credible résumé, says Cheri Jacobus, a GOP strategist.
Being a governor is important for a variety of reasons, both substantive and symbolic. Before becoming a governor, Mike Pences policy bandwidth consisted of tax cuts, said one strategist. But when youre a governor, youre actually in charge of running things.
Of course, merely being a governor isnt enough. You have to have governed effectively, and thats just what hes done. Pence comes from a state that is a success story. Its actually gaining industrial jobs. Its a right-to-work state now, added the strategist.
Aside from work experience, it also helps to have had life experience and a compelling story to tell. Again, Pence has that. He is an evangelical Midwestern conservative who has the compelling family story to tell of his grandfather being an Irish immigrant who drove a bus in Chicago, says John Dunagan, a public affairs executive who worked on the Bush-Cheney 04 campaign.
2. He looks and sounds the part Résumés are good, but lets be honest, modern-day presidents have to be attractive and charismatic. Check and check. Take a look at this picture and tell me he isnt out of central casting.
Pence is also skilled on television, which makes sense when you consider his background. According to his biography on Politico, In 1992, Pence started a career in radio broadcasting and, two years later, Network Indiana syndicated his show statewide. The Mike Pence Show aired weekdays on 18 radio stations. Pence also hosted a Sunday morning political television show in Indianapolis from 1995 to 1999.
3. Hes is widely respected as a full-spectrum conservative - Nobody mentions it, but as recently as 2011, conservatives tried to draft Mike Pence to run for president. That September, Pence won the 2012 presidential straw poll at the Value Voters Summit that was hosted by the The Family Research Council, a social conservative group.
If he were to run it would not be a Pawlenty-like candidacy but much more in the dark horse mold of the upstart Mike Huckabee from 2008, says Gary Marx, executive director of the Faith & Freedom Coalition. Also, like Huckabee he has many years of experience in talk radio that makes him a communicator of the highest caliber on the stump. He would connect with the grassroots conservative base.
Pence has all the social conservative bona fides of a Mike Huckabee, but unlike Huckabee, hes also beloved by fiscal conservatives. When all the buzz was about Sarah Palin a couple years ago, Chris Chocola, president of the powerful fiscally conservative Club for Growth (and a former Indiana congressman), told me that Pences conservative credentials are really unquestionable and that he appeals to every group that Palin appeals to and probably a little more.
Regarding his record, former Majority Leader Dick Armey said of Pence, Hes been a rock-solid fiscal conservative, showing up not only for the high-profile TARP and Obamacare battles, but also championing issues that are maybe less glamorous politically but are critically important for our country, such as fundamental tax reform, specifically the flat tax.
The bottom line is that the various wings of the conservative movement all seem to like him. David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) has even predicted that Pence will be the first Teavangelical president.
But Pence has an additional selling point: The mainstream media also respects his brand of conservatism. Im not suggesting they like him or that he buddies up to them and Im not naive enough to suggest that he can win them over. But they respect him as a professional as a serious leader and as an honest broker. A lot of this comes down to Pences Reaganesque likeability a quality that Mike Huckabee also taps into.
Well, Im a conservative, but Im not in a bad mood about it, Pence likes to say.
4. Hes not in the Senate I think the Senate is going to go back to being the road to nowhere that its always been for Republicans, said one top Republican strategist. Running against Washington is a tried and true strategy. This is good news for Pence, whose top competition would likely come from the upper chamber.
The Washington news media is drawn to the Senate, explains GOP strategist Carlyle Gregory. But the real action is in the states.
Ive already mentioned Pences impressive résumé, which includes time in Washington and in the governors mansion. But just as important as his executive experience is the fact that hes no longer in D.C.
The best thing that ever happened to Mike Pence was earning a ticket out of Congress, says Alex Castellanos, a Republican strategist and the co-founder of Purple Strategies, who also describes the Indiana governor as a political outsider with populist appeal.
Thats why only 14 percent of our presidents have come from the Senate, and only three in history came directly from serving there (Kennedy, Harding, & Obama) and all of them were disasters to varying degrees, Gregory added. And everyone except the most ardent of Obama lovers knows that he was woefully unprepared to be president.
5. Hes under the radar Being in Indiana also means Pence is away from the spotlight. This means he doesnt have to take positions on issues like Syria or whether or not to defund Obamacare. Sure, this means that he is out of the limelight but thats probably a good thing.
Hes a totally undervalued commodity right now, says Kevin Madden, who served as a senior adviser for Mitt Romneys presidential campaign. But that can be a good thing in a media environment where overexposure is a real risk.
Look, someone who nobody is talking about right now will surprise everyone and catch fire in late 2015 and be in a strong position right before the caucuses arrive, Madden added.
this is my guy...has been for a while....was dissapointed he did not run in 2012...
Now that there is FUNNY! A freeking french poodle is more CONSERVATIVE then that fat POS 'Rat wannabe.
This says he’s lucky he’s under the radar right now so doesn’t have to take a position on defunding Obamacare and other hot buttons.
I’m sorry, but that isn’t what conservative activists need and want in a candidate to get behind.
The other line is funny too.
Has more charisma than Scott Walker.
Just rolling-on-the-floor HILLARIOUS!
I saw an article in National Review years ago that said that the record of presidents who had held Gubernitorial office was far better than that of presidents who had only been legislators.
Jimmy Carter notwithstanding.
Basically - the article said - that's because governors are executives; this places them in contact with the "real world." Legislators spend their time posturing, running their mouths, and engaging in back-room skulduggery.
The problem with being a qualified Hoosier is that you can see him there, but you don’t see how he gets there.
Pence would be a good President, he is a conservative socially and fiscally. But you can expect the communist media complex to savage him as soon as he tests the waters. They very things that would make him a great president are what they loathe. And Indiana just doesn’t carry that much weight nationally.
A Pence candidacy would be a litmus test of whether or not this country can be saved.
He’s long been No. One on my list. Great choice.
He. Has media respect? The same media that loves McCain and hates Sarah Palin and Ronald Reagan? Sorry, no thanks.
IMO, the “media respect” thing was just Matt Lewis getting another dig in at Governor Palin.
He’s a long-suffering PDS’er.
Great line. And, of course, I agree with you.
Pence was the pro-amnesty Rubio/Ryan of 2006, when he tried to slip through a bill that would legalize pretty much every illegal here as long as they made a quick, one-time trip home to ‘register’ from there.
Another GOPe Trojan horse.
That rules him out in my book.
“Pence was the pro-amnesty Rubio/Ryan of 2006, when he tried to slip through a bill that would legalize pretty much every illegal here as long as they made a quick, one-time trip home to register from there.”
Good memory, 9YearLurker.
Pence tried to triangulate an amnesty during one of Jorge Bush’s pushes. I therefore don’t trust him on this issue. Unless he clearly signalled he was wrong and now is only for border security and self deportation of illegals by drying up all jobs and freebies, he is not to be trusted on immigration.
I agree, we need someone with fire and passion in their gut like Ted Cruz. He’s proven he can take the heat and still lead. I am not falling for another Rino-in-waiting. Let Pence stay in Indiana.
Mike is a good man, we as a nation would be well served if he ran.
Once exposed, I don’t give such Establishment sleeper agents a second chance.
Wouldn’t be a bad choice, but Indiana still needs a few years to see that he actually stays conservative-as well when I was there I’d have wanted him to push harder on a more aggressive conservative platform.
I do know Mr. Pence personally, and he’s a good man.
I have always like Pence and was disappointed he didn’t go for it in 2012 but #1 I’m not sure he really wants it and also this talk about the Senate as a dead end for the Presidency is BS. Cruz and Paul are likely going to be the two biggest contenders in 2016.
Making fear of MSM the litmus test is a mistake. They will savage whoever runs against a democrat. It is not just them hating the things conservatives represent. They will savage a liberal republican running against the democrats. Even socialist Romney was not spared and all his attempts to be a nice guy candidate did him absolutely no good.
Where, in the US, candidates are from is of less concern to me than the principles they stand for. I am concerned about supporting a candidate who will help this country. This concentration on size and influence of the state in order to “win,” will get us nothing but NY, CA, TX and FL candidates. Those states can produce some big RINOs and stealth RINOs.
Mike Pence is a conservative. I am more than willing to give him a chance.
I did not make fear of MSM the litmus test, but rather the success of true conservative’s candidacy despite the MSM headwinds.