• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Dark Horse Mike

The Washington Post speculates on the potential presidential candidacy of Mike Pence:

The moves bear the hallmarks of a potential run for president in 2016 — and some GOP leaders have begun talking up Pence as an under-the-radar standard-bearer who could return the party to the White House, according to interviews with more than two dozen prominent Republicans. They say the talk-radio-host-turned-congressman-turned-governor has the capacity to electrify grass-roots voters while uniting the constituencies that make up today’s deeply divided Republican Party.

“Pence could bridge really every group — the social conservatives, the fiscal conservatives, the foreign policy conservatives,” said Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth and a friend of Pence’s. “He’s not viewed as a fringe guy.”

I'm still skeptical. The field is full of strong candidates, and I'm not sure there's a need for one more faction bridger. Like this guy says: "I’m old enough to remember when people thought the GOP had a strong field lined up for the next cycle, with no need for dark horses. Which is to say, I’m more than six months old." And he asks an important question:

The smartest critique of him in the WaPo story comes from Grover Norquist, who wonders what Pence’s “big thing” is. Scott Walker’s “big thing” is beating the unions in Wisconsin; if Pence ends up competing with him to be the “compromise candidate,” who’s respected by both the establishment and the grassroots, what has he accomplished to warrant picking him over Walker? (The same can be said for Rubio and Jindal, both of whom may also end up jockeying for the “compromise candidate” slot.) Pence has gotten out in front of opposing Common Core, but people who follow that issue closely like the boss emeritus think his opposition is mostly cosmetic. Maybe Pence’s “big thing” is simply the fact that he’s an exceptionally safe choice, almost to the point of blandness.