Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Mike Pence for 2012?
In 2006 after the Republicans lost the House of Representatives in a blood bath of an election, Mike Pence was sounding the rally call, putting front and center what the Republicans had done wrong.
"Our opponents will say that the American people rejected our Republican vision," he remarked during his run for the House Minority Leadership position. "I say the American people didn't quit on the Contract with America, we did. And in so doing, we severed the bonds of trust between our party and millions of our most ardent supporters."
On November 17 of that year, John Boehner won the election by a sweeping margin and has been House Minority Leader ever since. Between Boehner, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, and Pence, the House Republicans have a rising new crop of leadership ready to take the reins in the event that control is handed back to the Party. Pence himself has an election on his hands for 2010, a serial de-ja-vu type of affair against a familiar opponent in Barry Welsh, who also ran against Mike in 2008 and 2006 and lost both times. According to Welsh, 3 times is a charm but it appears that in this year of political conservative ascendancy, Pence's seat has been proclaimed totally safe for another go-round (D.C's Political Report).
This term in Pence's District should be his 6th, but it nearly was a Senate battle that Mike was involved in. Earlier this year, Pence was running against Democrat freshman incumbent Evan Bayh for the Senate seat that he captured in 2004. A Rasmussen telephone poll
on January 25th showed him leading Bayh by 3 points but Mike declined soon afterward, deciding to pursue instead the grand probability that the House would regain Republican majority and he'd have a new go at leadership possibilities.
Born in Columbus, Indiana, (WIKIPEDIA) Mike is one of six children, attending Columbus North High School, graduating from Hanover College with a Bachelor of Arts and the Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis with a Juris Doctorate. He was an attorney and became a radio host of The Mike Pence Show based out of WRCR-FM in Rushville, Indiana. He actually made his first attempts to run for congress in 1988 and 1990, against Phil Sharp and lost both, even with the blessing of Ronald Reagan. It was a decade before he ran again, this time in 2000, when Republican David McIntosh vacated the 6th congressional seat and ran for governor. The decade has gone to Pence ever since. He formerly was leader of the Republican Study Committee and now chairs the House Republican Conference, which officially is the 3rd highest leadership ranking in the House. A winner of numerous conservative awards and honors, Pence has brought his conservative ideals to the forefront of a new generation of Republican leadership.
Mike and his wife Karen have three children, Michael, Charlotte, and Audrey. They live in Columbus, Indiana.
I interviewed Mike at a recent fundraiser for Wisconsin candidate Dan Kapanke, who ran against Ron Kind in the 3rd District. At the time, Pence was crisscrossing the country, lending his hand to every possible race, both big and small, to help turn tide in the November 2 election.
1. YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A CHRISTIAN FIRST, A CONSERVATIVE SECOND, AND A REPUBLICAN THIRD. HOW DOES THIS PHILOSOPHY GUIDE YOUR BELIEF AS A REPRESENTATIVE FROM INDIANA?
Well, back when I was talk radio show host in the 1990s, people used to call my show and say, "I've been listening to you for a while, are you a conservative, a libertarian, or are you a neoconservative?" And I would say "I'm a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican in that order" and the way I tried to build a career over the past 10 years is on the basis of that foundation, where my faith instructs me in the conduct of my office, my family, or in policies effecting our values, that's what leads. But I'm a deeply committed conservative and that comes before party affiliation and at times I've had to do battle with leaders of my own party or a President of my own party on spending issues where I thought Republicans were walking away from the principles of limited Government. But beyond my core values and ideals, I'm proud to be a Republican, particularly these days when I see the Republican Party coming back to the principles that minted our national Governing majority and I think that's why the American People are giving us a second look.
No matter where Mike leads, it's a win for the Republican Party!
2. HAS IT BEEN INTIMIDATING FOR YOU BATTLE AGAINST THE LEADERSHIP OF YOUR OWN PARTY?
Well, I will say that when I arrived in Washington in 2001, Scott, I never imagined that my toughest battles would be against members of my own party but, you know, when the Bush Administration came to power and their first priority was a massive expansion of the Federal Government, the Department of Education with No Child Left Behind and then there was a massive expansion of entitlements with the Medicare prescription drug bill, we saw a doubling of the national debt, an earmarking culture, and the Wall Street bailout. I just knew, my first obligation was to stand on the conservative principles that I'd run on, to stand on the conservative principles that I'd run on, the conservative principles that I'd been advancing for so long in my life. So in one sense it was easy, because it was just about letting my "yes" be yes and my "no" be no. In another sense it was at times difficult because it's hard to look your friends in the eye and it's hard to look a President you admire in the eye and say, "I can't go with ya."
3. YOUR'S, PAUL RYAN'S, AND JOHN BOENHER'S NAMES HAVE COME UP REPEATEDLY AS CANDIDATES TO BECOME POTENTIAL SPEAKERS OF THE HOUSE IN JANUARY. CAN YOU TELL ME WHO YOU BELIEVE IS THE MOST QUALIFIED AND WHY?
I think John Boehner will be one of the most conservative and most effective speakers in modern Congressional history and I strongly support John as speaker. Let me say as I stand here in Wisconsin that we have no brighter light in Congress than Paul Ryan. He's been a visionary on budget issues and I consider him a cherished friend.
Mike with Dan Kapanke(WI 3rd District Congressional Candidate, left) and guest
4. AS CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE WHAT GOALS WOULD YOU HAVE IN IN MIND TO PROMOTE CONSERVATIVE IDEALS IN THE EVENT THAT REPUBLICANS REGAIN THE MAJORITY?
If Republicans are given a second chance to lead the Congress, jobs have to be job one. We have to take immediate and decisive action to make sure that no American sees a tax increase in January of next year. Immediately after that we have to take strong steps to put our fiscal house in order. We have to confront this era of deficits, debt, and bailouts and end it once and for all and then at the end of the day we have to do those things that Congress is charged to do. We have to stand with our troops, we have to defend our values in the way that we that we appropriate the People's money. But jobs clearly, and spending are, clearly, are the most urgent issues facing America today and that is where Congress, under a Republican leadership, will focus if we're given the opportunity to lead.
5. TO HAVE BEEN IN CONGRESS FOR 10 YEARS AND TO HAVE WON MANY AWARDS, HOW HONORED ARE YOU TO HAVE SERVED IN THIS CAPACITY FOR SO LONG?
Well, it's been the greatest privilege in my life to represent my hometown in Washington DC. I had the dream of becoming a congressman when I was a little boy growing up on 31st street with a cornfield in my back yard. It's really, not too much time goes by that I find myself walking up the steps of those Capitals and find myself glancing at the dome and I just thank God that my family and I have had the privilege to serve in such a time as this and to be able to be here in Wisconsin standing with people of character like Dan Kapanke and to be on the cusp of what could be a great victory for conservative values is not only a great privilege, but a great joy.
Update: It has been reported from news outlets on November 3 that Mike has resigned his post as chairman of the House Republican Conference, possibly to give himself more time to prepare for presidential run in 2012.