I can’t say for sure, but I suspect that when Mike Pence isn’t treating facts like a red-headed step-child or cheering next to a man who likely powders his face with Dorito dust, he’s probably sucking the souls from small corn-fed children while listening to Sonseed’s “Jesus Is a Friend of Mine.”
Was that harsh? Perhaps, but it is in this writer’s opinion that it is well-deserved.
Even though Donald Trump has been the focus of most of the Republican election season, he’s probably not the biggest threat on his ticket. As the good folks over at the Huffington Post pointed out, “Donald Trump might blow up the world, but Mike Pence would set the clock back to 1954. It’s hard to say which would be worse.”
But what does the Huffington Post mean by those comments? They mean that Mike Pence, even though he’s on the ticket as Trump’s vice president, has the potential to actually be the guy in charge. You may be laughing, but consider that Donald Trump is 70, overweight, boasts having a diet largely composed of fast food, and has already attempted, via John Kasich, to outsource the day-to-day of the presidency to his VP.
If the same tasks fall on Mike Pence, Trump will presumably spend his entire tenure fantasizing about his daughter and treating Twitter like his own digital Mein Kampf, while Mike Pence actually assumes the role.
But with all the focus on Donald Trump, Mike Pence — who increasingly reminds me of a science experiment in which Jerry Falwell’s brain was implanted in the body of some stock image white guy — has been largely ignored. We’re all watching the (potential) GOP trainwreck called “Trump” with shock and awe, but the person we should probably really be looking at is his running mate. Think of it like Donald Trump is the Grand Canyon. Everyone and their step-third-cousin-twice-removed-by-marriage is mesmerized by the Grand Canyon and speak expressively about it (just substitute the “wonderment” of the Grand Canyon with “searing animosity and unrivaled confusion” in this scenario). Now, while everyone wigs out over the Grand Canyon (Trump), people like myself and other writers who have provided commentary on this subject are busy pointing toward space (Pence) and telling people “what about all that shit?”
You’re not convinced? Fine. Here’s a non-comprehensive list of reasons why Mike Pence is the Senator Palpatine of this election season.
- Remember in 2015 when Pence was all over the news for signing Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law? You know, the one that allowed business owners in Indiana to deny service to LGBT American citizens because an invisible monster Yahweh said scissoring and butt-stuff is gross? Of course you do. But that’s not the only time Mike Pence decided to stick his Holy middle finger at the LGBT community…
- While representing Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives, Pence opposed federal funding that would support treatment for men and women suffering from HIV and AIDS, unless the government, at the same time, invested in programs that discouraged people from engaging in same-sex relationships.
- Mike Pence is also on record as supporting the idea that the federal government should provide funding for “conversion therapy,” a horrific practice actually endorsed in the pages of Republican Party platforms. It’s worth pointing out that “conversion therapy” is generally forced on people, mostly children, as a means to satiate the bigoted, religious philosophies of people in the person’s life and that any rational person examining Pence’s view on “conversion therapy” quickly and easily understands that he, at the time, was essentially advocating that taxpayers should foot the bill for a practice that is, in all ethical terms, child abuse.
- Mike Pence, in his capacity as governor of Indiana, signed into law what was at the time the nation’s most restrictive abortion legislation. Under this law, access to abortion would be harder to obtain than a reasonable Wal-Mart paycheck. Abortion procedures were banned even when the baby would ultimately suffer from “genetic abnormalities” or physical and mental handicaps. Any doctor knowingly providing an abortive procedure would be legally liable. If, by some miracle, an abortion were performed, the aborted tissues could not be sent to labs for genetic testing and stem cell research, but instead would have to be buried or cremated. Thankfully, in June, a U.S. district court effectively blocked said legislation, but I’m certain Mike Pence isn’t deterred. After all, he is on the record as saying, “I long for the day that Roe v. Wade is sent to the ash heap of history.” It’s also worth noting that Pence’s iron-fisted abortion laws led to the unconstitutional conviction and imprisonment of Purvi Patel under the “feticide” statute.
- Mike Pence has also been an instrumental figure in Republican attempts to criminalize abortion. He has been attached to “personhood” bills, which would grant “personhood” status to fetuses (which are effectively parasites for a significant portion of pregnancy). He has been involved in efforts to shutter Planned Parenthood, even though abortion-related procedures comprise a negligible portion of services rendered (around 3 percent) and are not performed using federal money.
- He has vehemently opposed loosening restrictions on stem cell research.
- His aversion to clean needle exchanges in Indiana triggered an HIV epidemic in Scott County.
- Mike Pence doesn’t understand that a “theory” in science has an entirely different meaning than what “theory” means in the general vernacular, which makes sense considering that Mike Pence is about as scientifically literate as that other Republican who thought throwing a February snowball in the Senate was proof that climate change isn’t real. Aside from being skeptical of climate change, Pence also told members of the House of Representatives in 2002 that he believes that “God created the known universe, the earth, and everything in it, including man,” while also pointing out that he has faith that “someday scientists will come to see that only the theory of intelligent design provides even a remotely rational explanation for the known universe.”
- In that same impassioned speech, Mike Pence noted that Biblical creationism is a valid scientific alternative to evolution and argued that creationism should be taught alongside evolution in schools, even though doing so would be akin to teaching the American Civil War through the eyes of the Confederates as a “valid historical alternative” to, well, every other textbook on the subject.
- Mike Pence’s idea of immigration reform has been to create a guest worker program that required undocumented immigrants to self-deport, then come back to the United States legally on the condition they were employed. But his plan was conveniently devoid of any path to citizenship proposals.
- Mike Pence believes in Donald Trump’s proposed wall on the Southern border.
- Mike Pence doesn’t believe in helping Syrian refugees by offering them sanctuary in Indiana.
- Mike Pence is a deviant ammosexual, boasting an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association.
- Mike Pence is a proponent of abstinence-only sex education, because in his world, learning about sex means people are going to engage in pre-marital intercourse (or worse, scissoring and butt stuff). He has used his position to promote a mischaracterized, borderline-dangerous view on condoms, calling them too modern, too liberal, and ineffective at preventing sexually transmitted diseases and infections. Even though Mike Pence should know that the highest teen pregnancy and STD rates are in states whose sex education is abstinence-only (this is, after all, basically general knowledge), he has still demonstrated that he is willing to put young people in Indiana at risk because he believes pre-marital sex makes God a sad panda.
It’s also worth pointing out that one of the recurring themes of this election is “sketchy” political dealings. Trump has been accused of them. Hillary Clinton’s been accused of them. But, interestingly, Mike Pence has not, even though campaign finance records from his 1990 congressional run show that he used political donations to pay the mortgage on his house, his wife’s car payments, personal credit card bills, golf tournament fees, and even grocery spending.
Don’t get me wrong, Donald Trump is definitely an unstable powder keg who has the potential to burn the world asunder if he were president. This cannot be understated; Trump is the closest Washingtonian suit to Joseph McCarthy since, well, Joseph McCarthy. But with the election only a few weeks away, perhaps we should more carefully consider paying attention to the man to whom Trump may outsource his job — a man who’s one-part Sarah Palin and one-part George W., with a splash of David Barton over Moral Majority ice cubes, run through a centrifuge and poured into a trough to be eaten by Napoleon from Animal Farm.
And this guy could, in a couple of distinct ways, be our president.
h/t Huffington Post