Pence the chameleon and the veep debate
After last night’s debate between vice presidential candidates Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, Frank Bruni of the New York Times wrote that one of Pence’s assignments for the debate was “to make (Donald) Trump palatable to wavering Americans by communicating that Trump was positively yummy to him. He aced that, too, meaning that he’s either a phenomenally talented actor or a master of self-deception.”
No, Mr. Bruni, our governor is neither. He is an ambition-driven chameleon who will do whatever it takes to advance his own career. His debate performance was just the latest in a long line of Pence’s reversals to suit his own interests.
He used offensive campaign tactics in 1988 and 1990, and then, after defeat, issued an essay assuring the world he was a reformed man who would never resort to such tactics again. He claimed his Christianity guides his actions, even while pressing hateful homophobic legislation and denying Syrian refugees a safe place to live. He also claimed to care about Indiana, but readily ignored the advice of many thought leaders and risked the state’s reputation and economic wellbeing to advance his own ideology.
And then, in what would seem to be the ultimate betrayal of his ballyhooed principles, he joined the campaign of the most vile, venal candidate in modern American history, maybe ever. Last night, he adopted a holier-than-thou attitude to advance that candidate and himself even while spewing lie after lie.
Now he is sitting pretty, poised to be either the next vice president or the Republicans’ presidential candidate for 2016. But just as we in Indiana know his tactics, the national spotlight may finally illuminate the self-serving cynicism of Mike Pence.