Will the real Mike Pence please stand up?

Dateline: Sun 13 Jan 2013

Mike Pence, who will be sworn in as Indiana's 50th governor Monday, is an enigma -- a starchy social conservative who of late has wrapped his brick in a blanket of velvet, the better to win the election. But who is he, really?

That lingering question is at least part of the appeal in Craig Fehrman's 5,000 word portrait of Pence in the January issue of the Indianapolis Monthly, which you can, and should, read here:


Fehrman, who writes occasionally for the New York Times and the Washington Post, probably has done more current digging than any other reporter on the subject of Pence. Yet, after all those words, we are still left with Mystery Man: we get political platitudes (Roadmap for Indiana, jobs, education); predictable posturing ("I'm a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order") and a sense that, historically, Pence made some really bad mistakes in the political arena that he won't make again. That's a reference to his campaign in 1990 against Phil Sharp that, as Fehrman notes, was not "just ugly" but also "inept..."plagued by near-scandals and bad messaging," all of which taught Pence "...to be a more cautious, guarded campaigner."

Pence rallied and by 2010 his gubertorial campaign was "disciplined" but really boring....one can't but help compare the eagle-eyed, tight-lipped, got-a-grip Pence to outgoing Gov. Mitch Daniels, who is quick with a quip and never hid from his colorful past (a drug bust at Princeton, a messy divorce and a remarriage to his first and only wife). 

Pence, however, is so closed he won't even tell Fehrman which church he attends, for God's sake...ironic since his own identity statement puts Christian first. (For the record, as everyone knows by now, he was reared Catholic in Columbus and is of Irish stock, but he left that church for evangelical Christianity). (Also, for the record, Wiki has him and his family worshipping at Greenwood Community Church, which is so respectable it's a mystery why he wouldn't acknowledge it).

At times, it's clear Pence is stimply prattling away to Fehrman rather than making any real, honest or sincere effort to answer questions. Yet in practically the same breath as Pence breezily talks about the Roadmap again, Pence tells Fehrman, on the subject of why the local press keeps hammering away on the social issues agenda, "I never begrudge members of the fourth estate talking about whatever they want to talk about." Yes, but it's a one-way conversation...

In the end, the reader is left with Fehrman's prediction that "there's a solid chance that Pence's agenda will include much more than what he campaigned on." (We know he hates big government, Planned Parenthood and is staunchly against same-sex marriage, but what else is in the closet?)

Personally, I welcome Pence getting it all out there...frankly it would be refreshing. Because for now, based on Fehrman's profile and other reporting, what we've got is a governor and a man whose interior life may not quite line up with his exterior life; in other words, what he truly believes isn't being put out there for now. And that, at least on a personal level, is a potential formula for disaster....

Thanks to Fehrman for alerting me to his article. (I'm a subscriber). For more info on this and other subjects, especially Pence's religion, here's a link to Fehrman's blog:







DMC [unverified] said:

Mike Pence is an inconsequential idiot. Let's all hope that he has as much influence on legislation in Indiana as he did in Congress...that is: none.

2013-01-13 19:38:45

Paul K. Ogden [unverified] said:

I went to law school with Mike Pence. Let me assure you DMC he is far from an "idiot." He's actually a very sharp guy and very personable.

2013-01-13 20:35:50

hendy [Member] said:

Idiot or no, he sits on a legislature that can pretty much turn the clocks back to 1960, and that's not inconsequential. My small interactions with Pence were perfunctory. Behind those eyes are a serious guy with an agenda. How and what that agenda is, isn't quite clear. He's a former broadcaster, and is polite to a fault, unlike his predecessor.

2013-01-14 07:36:45

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

I interviewed Pence for about an hour back in 1990 during his congressional campaign and it remains one of the most unpleasant interviews with a politician I have ever had in nearly 40 years of journalism.

I'm generally a pretty good analyzer of character and I sensed in him a strong narcissistic dimension and a dire need to be in the spotlight. Kind of like the famous quote about Teddy Roosevelt: "He had to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral."

Not looking forward to his reign.

2013-01-14 12:19:33

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