If you’re a conservative, President Mike Pence has a nice ring to it. If you’re a women’s rights, minority or LGBTQ advocate, the name gives you the willies.
Arguably, Pence is a better choice than Donald Trump, but only compared to Trump, Salem witch hunters or bourka-happy Taliban. His repressive attitudes toward women’s rights and health are well known. The man won’t have lunch alone with a woman other than his wife because he fears he could be lunching with a manipulative, scheming man-hater who wants to soil his virgin reputation. He trolls bathrooms in the White House demanding birth certificates. We made that last part up. But he does promote a “national bathroom policy,” and please God let us be there when the bathroom police demand the “suspected non-woman” show proof of gender.
Pence has been holding his breath for Trump’s impeachment, or as Washington Post opinion writer describes it, “On any given day, Pence will do his customary spot-on imitation of a bobblehead. Standing near Trump in the Oval Office, he will nod his head robotically as the president says one asinine thing after another and then, maybe along with others, he will be honored with a lie or a version of the truth so mangled by contradictions and fabrications that a day in the White House is like a week on LSD.”
But that patience may be wearing thin. Yes, it was inevitable that Donald would be impeached or resign from office. But many are hoping that Pence will be implicated in the Russian collusion and forced out of office, too. If not, Pence will become president and he may name a vice president (is Jesus available?), who must then be approved by a majority vote of both houses of Congress, but really only the Republicans.
It’s clear that Pence has thought this through. While news was breaking about special counsels AND Jim Comey memos AND Trump’s disclosure of classified information AND that “nut job” remark to the Russians, Pence last week quietly formed a new leadership political action committee named the Great American Committee. It’s a PAC slush fund. Heading it up, Politico reported, are Marty Obst and Nick Ayers, two former Pence campaign aides and close confidants of the vice president.
Pence has a couple of challenges to overcome as president. He may be considered by many to be tainted with Trump stink for being too quick and too loyal in defense of Trump or too dumb to know he was being played. N’importe quoi that he was head of the transition. And he’s made a lot of enemies in his home state of Indiana where he was elected governor and congressman, and among national civil rights groups. And liberals everywhere.
During his post-election show, satirist and democracy-explainer John Oliver said that Trump may be bad, “but “Mike f—ing Pence might be even worse — because he looks like he’s from the 1950s, but he thinks like he’s from the 1650s.”
Consider: Pence is anti-gay rights, saying he would “send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history where it belongs.” He once backed legislation that would give “personhood” status to zygotes. And an Indiana woman was sentenced to 20 years in prison under provisions of a law passed in Pence’s tenure as governor for taking an abortion pill. An appeals court overturned the decision.
As governor, Pence funneled money from federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to anti-abortion centers. He joined the effort in 2011 to shut down the federal government over money to Planned Parenthood and reproductive and cancer screening services to men and women.
On his campaign for Congress in 2001, Pence proposed a life amendment to the federal constitution to “restore the national integrity.” In addition to anti-abortion measures, he also opposed physician-assisted suicide, called for school prayer in public classrooms and lobbied for fewer gun-control measures. To “strengthen the American family” Pence called for traditional two parent families, sought to pursue tax relief to make it possible for families to rely on one income so the woman could stay home to raise the children, and advocated denying gays the right to marry.
In a 2002 speech on the House floor, then-congressman Pence mocked evolution and said schools should teach creationism because “it is based in the Bible and was believed in by every signer of the Declaration of Independence.” He’s also a climate denier and supports the tobacco industry. “Time for a quick reality check. Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill,” he wrote in a newspaper editorial. “Don’t get me started about the dangers of sports utility vehicles!”
If that’s not enough to convince you Pence is a right-wing extremist, consider his condemnation of the movie “Mulan” in 1999 while on a radio talk show. That’s right, the Disney movie. Spoiler alert: Mulan dresses as a soldier to save her elderly father and ends up rescuing the emperor and saving her country, and it wouldn’t be Disney without a good dragon.
“You see, now stay with me on this, many young men find many young women to be attractive sexually. Many young women find many young men to be attractive sexually. Put them together, in close quarters, for long periods of time, and things will get interesting. Just like they eventually did for young Mulan. Moral of story: women in military, bad idea,” Pence said. “I suspect that some mischievous liberal at Disney assumes that Mulan’s story will cause a quiet change in the next generation’s attitude about women in combat.”
It’s a cartoon, for heaven’s sake. There are no dragons. Give Americans a break, impeach Mike Pence.