Speculation Over Pence’s Potential Presidetial Campaign Picks Up

Bookmark and Share With Republicans emboldened by some of their largest gains ever in state legislative races and the House of Representatives, the field of those considering and planning a run for the Republican presidential nomination is growing everyday. Even greater than the growing field of actual Republican contenders is the field of pundits predicting and speculating about some who are not really giving the 2012 presidential election serious consideration. Somewhere in between these two categories lies Indiana Congressman Mike Pence.

With popular Indiana Governor, Mitch Daniels entering his final year in office, Mike Pence is largely seen as his most likely Republican successors. After Republicans took back control of the House, Pence did indeed forego a leadership role in the new Congress because of other tasks which he stated would preclude him from devoting the amount of time that such leadership roles deserve. This has been taken to mean that he will be campaigning. But for what?

Among movement conservatives, Pence proves to be popular. In September of 2010, he won a straw poll of those in attendance at the annual Values Voters Summit, defeating even Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin. And at home, Indiana polls show Pence to be just as popular. But the question becomes which area of popularity can the Congressman parlay into an election victory?

In a field of hard hitting presidential contenders with the likes of Mitt Romney, Haley Barbour and Sarah Palin, people who can draw crowds and big bucks, Pence is likely to have quite a difficult time being assured of the Republican presidential nomination and then the presidency. But at home in Indiana, he has an inside track for his Partys gubernatorial nomination and a great chance of defeating any of the weak Democrat challengers he is likely to face.

If Pence runs for either President or Governor, he will have to give up his seat in the House at the end of this term and so the question then becomes, which bet is worth giving up his safe congressional seat for?

Pence recently scheduled a slew of events for himself to headline at in Indiana. This sent pundits on to the gubernatorial storyline. But now Pence is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at an invitation-only conservative Awakening Conference in the ever important early primary state of South Carolina, turning the storyline back to a possible presidential bid.

In the end, expect Mike Pence to allow the speculation about a run for President to increase. Pence will accept each and every invitation that will help build him up as a potential Commander-In-Chief. Why not?

The more stature he gains a possible president, the more palatable it will be for Indiana voters to find him fit to govern their state. Add to that the fact that incumbent Presidents are reelected much more often then not and what you have is a smart politician who is looking to the future by preparing to become the Governor of Indiana and waiting for the speculation about 2016 to begin after the next presidential election, when pundits start reminiscing about all the talk their was regarding incumbent Governor Pences aborted presidential race in 2012.

In the meantime, while most the talk about Pences intentions will be guesswork, there will be no need for guesswork when it comes to what he will be doing during the course of his next year and half in the House of Representatives. There Pence will be a strong and vocal deficit hawk who will willingly stand up to the House Republican leadership and oppose them whenever he can move to the right of them and prove his strong independent streak to the voters of Indiana.

Unless the declared field of Republican candidates proves to be devoid of any of the big name suspects and unless Mike Pence is under the misconception that he can out-fund and out-campaign them, it is unlikely for Pence to run for President. He may play the speculation out for all that its worth and go as far as announcing an exploratory committee and utilizing a 501-4C, but not so far as making a presidential candidacy official. As far as this writer for White House 2012 is concerned, the only question to come out of Indiana in regards to the 2012 presidential cycle, is if outgoing Governor Mitch Daniels is running for President, not Mike Pence.

Bookmark and Share

Presidential Politics: Platitudes, Pleasantries, and Positioning

Bookmark and ShareRonald Reagan once uttered what has become known as the eleventh commandment in Republican politics ….. “Thou shall not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” The concept is one that Republicans love to adhere to during general elections but not so much during primaries. But if the things continue going the way they have been going lately, a definite trend of pleasantries will dominate the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Or will it?

Like sharks smelling blood in the water, Republicans are circling in on approval wounded President Obama. His current weaknesses have emboldened many who might not have had the willingness to jump into the presidential waters yet, to now take the leap, or at least consider it. That situation has helped fuel a growing list of people considering a run. From incumbent Governors like Barbour and Daniels to former Governors like Palin and Pataki and a cross section of well known names ranging from Newt Gingrich to Donald Trump. All have refused to deny the possibility of their candidacy and in many cases, declared that they are actively preparing for it.

So far, none of the aspirants have spoken ill of any potential rivals. In fact, lately it has been just the opposite. Especially when it comes to a particular candidate . Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, himself an admitted possible candidate, publicly urged Mitch Daniels to run for the job of President based upon what he perceives as Daniels’ possession of qualities lacking in Washington, specifically as it pertains to the handling of Indiana’s budget and economy are.

Pence and Daniels

Now another possible candidate, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has come out to give his approval of Daniels’ presidency.

While in Fort Wayne, Indiana where he delivered the keynote speech to the Allen County Republican Party Bean Dinner fundraiser, in a pre-speech interview, Huck stated;

“Mitch Daniels has done, I think an exemplary job as a leader, manager and governor of the state,”.

He added “I tend to think governors make good presidents because they’ve actually managed a microcosm of the federal government.”

But the former Governor turned Fox News host, made it clear that Daniels was not the only man in Indiana doing a great job. After commending Daniels, he said;

On the other hand, Mike Pence is one of my favorite members of Congress, one of my heroes, and I love the guy. I think he is the most articulate, conviction-based and principled member of Congress. If we had 434 like him in the House, there wouldn’t be an uprising among the voters right now.”

Of the two he added;

“I would be delighted if either or both of them get in it because I think it just raises the level of the debate to solid conservative, responsible fiscal management,”.

That’s mighty high praise, especially coming from people who might be running against you in a campaign. Of course it could be that both Huckabee and Gingrich have come to know that they will not run and so they are just trying to get in on the good side of a hot commodity. Other schools of thought are that the two of them are trying to do all they can to chip away at the frontrunner status of Mitt Romney and Sarah Palinby boosting the image of another.

Either way, for Daniels, the groundwork for a definite theme is being made for any campaign he may be thinking of waging. Almost everyone agrees that Mitch Daniels is ahead of the pack when it comes to leadership on budgetary matters and all the issues connected to it, the issues of most importance these days.

Which could account for another reason for the glowing endorsements of Daniels and even Rep. Mike Pence. Gingrich and Huckabee, both good ol’ Southern boys, might be thinking that if they head the G.O.P. ticket, with Mitch Daniels as their running mate, they could go for an electoral strategy that locks up the South and the Midwest while leaving the typically blue coasts of the country to the Democrats.

Whatever the reasoning for the praise of Daniels and Pence, one thing is for sure. The Republican field for the presidential nomination will be a crowded one. Huckabee believes it will start out with 20 candidates and dwindle down to a truly completive field of 8 by January of 2012.

Bookmark and Share

Pence Pounces at Family Research Council’s Values Summit

Mike Pence, member of the United States House ...

Indiana Congressman Mike Pence

Bookmark and ShareThe family Reasearch Councils. annual Values Voters Summit isa gathering of social conservatives dedicated to combating the erosion of family values and this weekend it’s warrior’s have spoken. In a straw taken by the FRC, Values Voters distinguished Indiana Congressman Mike Pencefrom a pack of prominent politicos, even beating out the darling of the group, Mike Huckabee.

Until now Mike Pence has been largely known outside of Indiana mainly forhis fiscal conservatism, but at this year’s Values Voters Summit, he proved that social conservatism and fiscal conservatism are going hand in hand.

In his speech (see video of that speech below)at the summit this past week, Pence pointed out that:

“we must recognize that our current crisis is not only economic and political but moral in nature”

And apparently they ate it up as their straw pollput him ahead of the packwith 24% of the vote, followed by:

  • Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (22%)
  • Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (13%)
  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (10%)
  • Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (7%)
  • Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (5%)
  • Sen. Jim DeMint R-S.C. (5%)
  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (2%)
  • Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (2%)
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (2%)
  • Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. (2%)
  • Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell – 1 percent
  • Former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio (1%)
  • Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. (1%A)
  • Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (1%)
  • Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas (1%)
  • Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (less than 1%)

At the front of the pack were the usual suspects, such as Palin, Romney and Gingrich and even theone time favorite of the group, former Governor of Arkansas and Baptist Minsiter , Mike Huckabee.

The results produced two surprises. The first was Huckabee’s second place showing and the second surprise was that Huckabee was edged out not by a more prominent figure like Jim DeMint or Sarah Palin but by a lonely member of the House.

It had previously been pointed out in White House 2012 that on fiscal matters Pence has a loyal Jack Kemp-like following, he is also popular among Christian fundamentalists but now it is clear that Pence has used the times to marry the two together in what can be a most powerful coalition as we move into 2012 and beyond.

Until now, so-called values voters were the key to Mike Huckabee’s success. The loyal Christian fundamentalists whom make up a large part of the Iowa caucus,vote were the ones largely responsible for his underdog victory in 2008. But it would now seem that the support Huckabee received back then was fueled more by a sense of protest against the Republican frontrunners of the time than by great enthusiasm for Huckabee. And now, Huckabee’s support from those same voters has been eclipsed by a Congressman from Indiana,and furthermore will surely be further splintered by a field that will have far more values candidates in 2012 than in ’08. Candidates like Romney will have a better chance to appeal to them and people like Palin, Marco Rubio and Haley Barbour and now evidently Mike Pence, will chip away and splinter that voting bloc.

The results of the Values Voters Summit straw poll does not necessarily prove that Pence is poised to become President in 2012. Far from it, but Mike Pence has been spending the last two years pointedly raising his national profile and it would seemthat it is paying off. And while there is much speculation that Mike Pence is inline for statewideoffice in Indiana, he has made no move to set up a run to replace popular Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and never shown interest in running for the vacancy in the U.S Senate that was created by Evan Bayh‘s retirement. In fact all indications are that he is more interested in national office than state office.

As a result, for what its worth, the Voters Values Summit shows that if Pence could raise substantial enough money to compete against people like Gingrich, Palin, Romney and Barbour, he could be quite viable. And given the fact that Pence has clearly been trying to make sure that he uses his position in Congress to establish more of a national voice for himself than a statewide voice, the possibility of a Pence presidential candidacy is quite likely. But at the moment he is looking more and more like a name that is sure to be found on the eventual Republican presidential nominees short list for Vice President.

Bookmark and Share

Mike Pence – So Many Choices, So Little Time

Mike Pence, member of the United States House ...

Indiana Congressman Mike Pence

Bookmark and Share    In the 100 member U.S. Senate, it is pretty easy to get noticed but in the 435 member House of Representatives, unless you are involved in the scandal du jour or are the Majority or Minority Leader, it is much more difficult to be distinguished from the rest of the pack. Yet Republican Mike Pence of Indiana is different. He is one of those up and coming politicos who does stand out.

For a Congressman, he has begun to develop a national following that is reminiscent to that of Jack Kemp’s when he began to corner the market on fiscal conservatism and sealed it with the passage of his record breaking Kemp-Roth tax cuts that helped spur America on into record growth and prosperity.

Although Pence still has a long way to go before he can be called a Kemp-like figure, his loyal following continues to grow much the same way Kemp’s did. It is a growing group of fiscal and movement conservatives who are flocking to Mike Pence’s anti-Washington insider, anti-liberal message of limited government, lower tax and conservative social issues.

Part of his strength is the optimism of his conservative message. Pence has described himself as a conservative who is not in a bad mood about it. Yet Pence still never fails to hold liberalism and its practitioners accountable for their acts. That mix of hard core conservative politician and easy going gentleman has helped Pence become an increasingly powerful voice in Conservative circles. Evidence of this has been demonstrated in the increasing demand for him to appear on the campaign stump for other candidates, especially throughout his home state of Indiana. But Pence has also been in demand outside of Indiana and requests for him to speak to new audiences throughout the nation are, like Pence, on the rise.

So far, in September alone, he will be the marquis draw for campaign events and fundraisers for at least 7 different congressional candidates in 4 different states. In addition to that, Pence’s popularity and organizational abilities has allowed him to raise more for the National Republican Congressional Committee than any other single Republican Representative. To date, Pence’s total contribution to the NRCC is in excess of $1 million. Not bad for someone who is also raising money for his own congressional reelection bid.

Pence’s growing influence both politically and financially, has opened up many doors for him. Many are touting him as a future candidate for Governor of Indiana. Some, including myself, see Pence as preparing for an eventual run for Minority Leader or Speaker of the House.

In 2008, Pence ran for the House Republican leadership, challenging Minority Leader John Boehner. He fell short, but with an influx of young guns changing the makeup of Congress in 2010, the fiery Pence, who raised lots of money to help elect those new members, could have a shot at beating Boehner next time around.

But the Governor’s mansion and the Speaker’ Office are not the only two possible future options for Mike Pence. Many people mention him as potential resident of the White House in 2012. While this possibility is alive, to fulfill it, Pence would have to give up his congressional seat and given the incredible crop of talented and well financed potential Republican presidential candidates, that option is just barely alive. Still, if Pence chose to run, he would be a spoiler in early caucuses and primaries because he would be sure to take a handful of votes away from other conservative candidates, an event that would help potential moderate candidates like Tim Pawlenty, pull ahead of a competitive and divided conservative pack.

Like many others though, when it comes to 2012, Pence is more likely someone you will see on the short list for Vice President, not a candidate for President. But in my humble opinion, if Pence is offered the number two spot, he will turn it down and instead pursue the all powerful position of Speaker of the House.

Bookmark and Share
%d bloggers like this: