Most of us understand that policy issues are a secondary concern this election. So maybe Mike Pence, the unpopular governor of Indiana on the cusp of losing his reelection bid, has all the right elements to help Donald Trump succeed. In some ways, his pliability and lack of courage make him a model candidate for the 2016 Republican Party.
But before his principles became malleable— folding needlessly on both Obamacare expansion and religious freedom – the rumored veep pick still had some pretty strong and consistent conventional conservative economic position; position that conflict in every way with the overriding message of the Trump candidacy.
Trade means jobs, but trade also means security. The time has come for all of us to urge the swift adoption of the Trans Pacific Partnership
— Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) September 8, 2014
As The Washington Post points out, congressman Pence voted for every free-trade bill he saw.
Voted yes on free-trade agreement with Panama.
Voted yes on free-trade agreement with Korea.
Voted yes on free-trade with Peru.
Voted no on assisting workers who lose jobs due to globalization.
Voted yes on Central America Free Trade Agreement.
Voted yes on the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
Voted yes on a US-Singapore free trade agreement.
Voted yes on free trade agreement with Chile.
Pence alvoted to keep the United States in the World Trade Organization and to maintain normal trade relations with China. And in April of last year, Pence sent Indiana’s congressional delegation a letter urging them to vote for TPA, TPP and TTIP. He made the sensible economic case that:
“Those are things we can do at home, but reducing tariffs and other trade barriers so that Indiana businesses can enjoy increased market access and fairly compete on the world stage is something that Congress must do. I encourage your support for Trade Promotion Authority, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and any other trade-related measures when they are brought before the Congress for consideration.”
How could someone who believes the above share a ticket with someone who likens trade agreements to rape? You don’t have to have complete unanimity to share a ticket. But trade isn’t just some inconsequential position Trump has conveniently landed on – like most of his politics. It (along with immigration; which is linked) is probably the only policy position the GOP presumptive nominee has been consistent and passionate about during the entire race.
Oh, and on immigration:
Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional.
— Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) December 8, 2015
It’s commendable that Pence has such passionate feelings about the religious freedom of immigrants. If only he had similarly moved to support the Christian institutions in his own state. But then again, one of these positions took a modicum of courage, and the other took none.