By Tom Johnson ~
In a post headlined “To See Mike Pence as ‘Normal’ Is to Grade on a Generous Curve,” Steve Benen, a producer for MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show and the primary blogger for the program’s website, sought to demolish the idea that Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate will feature what Politico called “two conventional pols.”
“As a matter of tone and temperament, Mike Pence is hardly scary: the governor is a mild-mannered, soft-spoken Midwesterner,” wrote Benen. (pictured) “But to shift one’s focus from tone to policy is to see one of the most extremist politicians to seek national office in over a generation.” Benen reports that according to one analytical method, when Pence served in the House of Representatives he “wasn’t just more conservative than Paul Ryan. His voting record also put him to the right of Michele Bachmann, Todd Akin, Steve King, and even Louie Gohmert.”
“The problem,” Benen contended, “is the gap between perceptions of Mike Pence and his actual record” (bolding added):
To use Politico’s phrasing, the Hoosier is seen as “normal” and “conventional.” But on a substantive level, we’re talking about a politician whose claim to fame is an anti-LGBT law that did real harm to his state. Pence is a climate denier…He doesn’t believe in evolutionary biology, but he does support “conversation therapy” [sic — should be “conversion therapy”]…
Long after it was obvious Iraq didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, Pence was still insisting that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Soon after, when the Bush/Cheney administration pushed partial privatization of Social Security, the Indiana Republican was outraged – because he said the plan wasn’t nearly right-wing enough…
By most sensible standards, Mike Pence has earned a reputation as an extremist. If this guy is what passes for “normal” and “conventional” in Republican politics in 2016, standards have shifted in a politically unhealthy direction.
Of course, some have noted that there’s also a gap between perceptions and the actual record when it comes to the religious views of Pence’s opponent, Tim Kaine.
Tom Johnson is a contributing writer for NewsBusters.