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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Republican, not conservative?


Indiana Gov. Mike Pence would like to ride into the presidency as he has his governorship: On the coattails of his predecessor, former Gov. Mitch Daniels. Unlike his years in Congress, Pence’s governorship has been largely marked, not by forging crucial and substantive policies that reign in the administrative state and advance the cause of liberty, but by a refusal to make waves. In our current climate, that means governing as a technocratic Progressive.

So while treating Hoosiers to essentially the stable status quo Daniels earned making tough and politically risky decisions, Pence has been traveling the country, proclaiming his conservative chops and hoping to increase his visibility through marketing rather than liberty-rejuvenating policy.

[. . .]

Pence’s record as governor marks a turn from his well-regarded tenure as U.S. Representative. Rather than governing as a conservative, he has governed as a Republican. That’s not because he has to constantly compromise with a strong opposition. In this, Pence’s first year as governor, Republicans even have supermajority control and can do essentially anything they want. Daniels had to negotiate with Democrats. They even walked out on him and precluded state business when they were in the minority, and he stood firm like Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker. But Pence is proving to be no Daniels. Instead of showing how conservatives can cut bureaucracy and expand liberty when given the berth—and certainly Democrats take a mile to do the opposite if given an inch—Pence has instead been indicating he’s been in Washington too long, and absorbed its comfort with a well-padded government fed by an attenuating citizenry.

Maybe I'm just seeing what I'm looking for, but it seems to me the cries of "He's not being conservative" are groing in frequency and intensity for Pence. The "governing like a Republican, not a conservative" seems especially stinging, and it could be the one that sticks. The post lists four prominent "statist" policy decisions Pence has made -- including on "government-managed" health care and "Common Core-style education" in which he made a clear choice "between managerial progressivism and robust self-government."

Of course, Ronald Reagan, who has reached demigod status for the conservative movement, was once said to be "not conservative enough" as well. So we'll see.