Nel's New Day

October 4, 2016

Pence May Be Worse Than Trump, Can’t Defend Him

Democratic Tim Kaine and GOP Mike Pence, vice-presidential candidates, just squared off in the only VP debate of 2016, and the GOP blogged that Pence won—hours before the debate began. The blog soon disappeared, but it does leave all their other opinions open to question. [Photograph: Andrew Gombert/AFP/Getty Images]

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Both candidates have been in Congress and both have been elected to governor, but their future—if they don’t get elected—may follow a different path. Kaine would go back to the Senate if Trump succeeds. Pence jumped at the offer to be Trump’s running mate because he was unlikely to be re-elected for another gubernatorial term in Indiana. If he isn’t elected, Pence would be looking for another job—perhaps back to the U.S. House of Representatives. Reports from closed door meetings showed that Pence may not get a warm greeting from representatives because of Trump’s attitude toward women.

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) said that his daughter had told him that “Trump hates women,” and Pence denied it, claiming that he was improving with women. In a private meeting with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Pence was pressed on his reluctance to denounce former KKK leader David Duke and the Alt-Right movement. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) rebuked Pence and called Russian president Vladimir V. Putin “a thug and a butcher,” referring to Trump’s acceptance of the dictator to be unacceptable.

Trump is well known for his sexist attitude toward women, but Pence has been in a position to make life much worse for women:

  • Pence repeatedly voted for a law to criminalize abortion with no exception for a woman’s health and puts doctors into prison for up to two years.
  • Pence repeatedly cosponsored legislation to not only make abortion illegal in almost all cases but also ban common forms of contraception, stem-cell research, and in vitro fertilization.
  • Pence repeatedly voted to allow hospitals to refuse to provide emergency abortion care, even when a woman’s life is in danger.
  • Pence signed a bill to force women to carry non-viable pregnancies to term.
  • Pence’s Department of Health gave a $3.5 million contract to a “pregnancy crisis center” that lies to pregnant women about their options.
  • Pence signed every anti-abortion bill, including one mandating funerals for aborted or miscarried fetuses. A judge overturned that law as unconstitutional.
  • Pence forced a Planned Parenthood clinic to close in Scott County which led to a huge outbreak of HIV.

In an argument supporting a state law against abortion, Pence claimed that women might get voluntarily raped hoping to get pregnant and avoid work:

“And it gets worse – when you get an abortion, you get several days off of work and whatnot to recover. And there are a lot of crazy people out there. What if women would go out and get raped on purpose just so they could get off work? I mean, Indiana’s economy is struggling as it is, and having thousands of women absent from their jobs would be horrific for the state, I’m telling you. I made the right call and that will be confirmed in the long run.”

Pence is also anti-worker:

  • Pence worked to keep Indiana a “right to work” state by forcing unions to provide grievance and bargaining services to non-members free of charge. Although two judges ruled the law unconstitutional, the state Supreme Court upheld Pence’s law.
  • Pence opposes increasing the minimum wage above $7.25 and signed a bill keeping local governments from raising this amount.
  • Pence signed a law repealing the state’s common construction wage, meaning that local boards cannot allocate wages for publicly-funded construction projects.
  • Pence also supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership because he thinks that his state would “enjoy increased market access and fairly compete on the world stage.” Unions—and Donald Trump—oppose TPP because it hurts manufacturing jobs.

Pence also opposes LGBT rights by signing a “right-to-discriminate” bill against LGBT people fighting the right of gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military. More Pence positions that make Trump proud.

The problem with running for an important office is that past peccadilloes sometimes come back to haunt a candidate. In 1990, Mike Pence, like Marco Rubio, used campaign funds to pay for personal items, in Pence’s case the mortgage on his house, his personal credit card bill, groceries, golf tournament fees, and car payments for his wife. Because it was not illegal, the FEC created rules preventing the use of campaign funds for personal needs. Pence lost his race for the House by 19 points. This fact needs to be pointed out when Pence falsely complains about Hillary Clinton’s expenditures.

Pence may get another black eye from his refusal to pardon an innocent man. A man convicted for an armed robbery served ten years before DNA indicated another man and eyewitnesses recanted their testimony. The new prosecutor in a retrial offered a plea deal for an immediate release, leaving the convicted man no choice but to admit to a crime he didn’t commit in other to keep his family from becoming homeless. Pence’s argument against pardoning the man is that no governor has ever pardoned an innocent man: he obviously knows the man is innocent and won’t pardon him. The prosecutor who got the plea agreement is running for Attorney General of Indiana as a Republican, and a pardon would hurt his campaign.

In the coming week, Pence may also suffer with everyone except far-right voters after his losing a court case. A panel of three conservative judges from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Pence cannot discriminate against Syrian refugees by withholding funding from refugee resettlement organizations promised aid by federal law. Judge Richard Posner, a Ronald Reagan appointee, said that Pence’s unfounded “fear of terrorist infiltration” is not a rationale for discrimination. He added that federal law forbids restricting settlement funding on the basis of national origin and compared it to forbidding black people to come to Indiana because Pence might be afraid of them. As an illustration of how conservative this panel was, another member of the unanimous panel, Diane Sykes, is on Trump’s short list for Supreme Court candidates.

People who watched tonight’s debate saw Kaine attacking Pence and frequently interrupting him. Pence stayed unflappable while making faces as Kaine delivered fact after fact of Trump’s egregious statements. The debate itself will probably be soon forgotten, but Kaine’s statements about Trump will most likely be frequently televised along with Pence’s facial expressions and his frequent shaking his head. For example, Pence claimed that he didn’t call Putin a “strong leader,” but video shows did exactly that. Kaine made points asking about Trump’s tax returns, his praise for Putin, his negative comments about women, and his refusal to apologize.

As Kaine pointed out, Pence couldn’t defend Trump—he could only pivot away from him most of the time. One of Pence’s mistakes was to accuse Hillary Clinton of taking money from the Clinton Foundation because Kaine took the opening to list the ways that Pence had abused the Trump Foundation. Another mistake was to blame Clinton for the Russian aggression in Ukraine because it led to the discussion of Trump’s support of Russia.

In one sense, tonight’s debate may be a prelude to the presidential campaign on October 9. Watch next Sunday for the complaint from Trump that Clinton has released an “avalanche of insults.”  If so, this accusation will come from the man who tweeted his own “avalanche of insults” tonight. Otherwise it was pretty much a non-event.

Bottom line: Confronted by Trump’s statements, Pence said that the candidate didn’t say things that he did, avoided the topic, or looked away.

October 11, 2012

VP Candidate Debate

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 9:03 PM
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Six days after the majority of people in the United States declared Mitt Romney the “winner” at the first presidential debate over President Obama, the only vice-presidential debate in this election pitted Paul Ryan against Vice-President Joe Biden and moderated by Martha Raddatz.

Nate Silver finds Paul Ryan to be the most conservative member of Congress to be picked as a running mate since at least 1900, and in the last few days, Ryan has been gotten snippy when challenged, even walking out on interviewers. Ryan prepared for this evening by reading up on VP Biden (forget about the subject matter such as foreign affairs) in the same way that he gets ready for bow-hunting.

Campaign advice for Ryan is to have him answer questions in broad terms and avoid the specifics. The second approach is to keep him talking about positive changes from a Romney/Ryan administration. Instead of giving any specifics about action in the Middle East, Ryan said only that these have to be in the interests of the national security. He concentrated on generalities in many other areas.

The debate moved so fast and furiously that Ryan’s head was spinning sometime. He started out strongly when he talked about the White House explaining that the anti-Muslim film was the reason for the attack in Benghazi (Libya) that killed the U.S. ambassador and three others before it said there was a broader problem. It was downhill from there as VP Biden took over the debate.

During the fiery exchange punctuated by VP Biden’s claim that Ryan’s statements were “malarkey” and “inaccurate,” Ryan limped during the foreign policy discussions especially discussing the timelines for leaving Afghanistan. At that point he tried to explain that the enemy should not be told the timeline but that Romney and Ryan agreed with this.

Ryan did work hard to give no credit to President Obama for any of his achievements. One time was when he said that the president had nothing to do about the sanctions on Iran, that these all came from Congress. The Republican VP candidate missed the latest sanction on Tuesday when President Obama made an executive order.

Also in play were the usual conservative lies about the president taking $716 out of Medicare, six studies supporting the Romney position that a 20-percent cut in taxes would create revenue, and “outsourcing policy to the UN. Ryan also used Raddatz’s question of whether he was ever “embarrassed by this campaign” because of its negativity to launch more negativity. He also referred to poor Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) of being a supporter for his Medicare program when Wyden has continually made it clear that he is not.

Ryan made two odd statements in answering the question about how his religion shaped his position on abortion. First, he said that “un-elected” judges should not decide abortion policy, which erases the third leg of the government. Second, he stated that the Romney position on legislating anti-abortion would include exemptions for rape and the woman’s health. This was Romney’s position a few weeks ago before he moved to absolutely no abortions. There seems to be another shift.

In a more forceful fashion than last week’s moderator, Raddatz kept both of the men in line, but her question about abortion was peculiar because she tied it to the two men’s religion, in opposition to the constitutional view that separates church and state.

Pieces that were not ignored in the debate:

1. Romney and Ryan would eliminate health care for 31 million people who are poor or disabled.

2. 62% of Ryan’s budget cuts come from programs that benefit low-income Americans with $5.3 trillion in nondefense budget cuts.

3. Ryan voted, and encouraged other Republicans to vote, for future defense cuts he now blames on Obama.

4. Ryan voted to increase the debt ceiling by $4 trillion under Bush and voted six times to raise the debt ceiling, increasing it by $5.8 trillion.

5. Ryan wants to take 1 million students off of Pell Grants despite the fact that 74 percent of Pell Grant recipients in 2011 came from families with incomes of $30,000 or less.

6. Ryan has always voted against marriage equality and claims that preventing same-sex couples from getting married is a “universal human value.”

So who won the debate? Pundits are declaring both Ryan and VP Biden depending on their political beliefs, and the polls are equally split. The CBS poll of undecided voters saw 31 percent for Ryan and 51 percent for Biden whereas a CNN poll of all voters came out with 48 percent for Ryan and 44 percent for VP Biden. Fox refused to post the CBS poll.

The conservatives may feel that Biden did a good job as shown by Chris Wallace’s statement: “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a debate in which one participant was as openly disrespectful of the other as Biden was to Paul Ryan tonight. It was openly contemptuous and disrespectful.”

Mr. Wallace, that’s exactly how I felt about Mitt Romney last week. Five more days to see how President Obama does against Romney.

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