An Open Letter to Congressman Mike Pence
I am just a guy from Ohio who thinks you should reconsider running for President. I have three reasons for this, other than the obvious that I think you would make a good president, and that you could win.
1. Right now, you more than anyone else have the qualities to unite the factions necessary for a conservative Republican victory in 2012.
2. You have the ability to maintain and increase the momentum of the tea party movement.
3. You may be able to get the support of Sarah Palin.
As to the first, this is not simply a statement of the obvious, or my personal opinion, but something I noticed as somewhat of a phenomenon on Redstate.com over the last few months. Redstate contributors and commenters represent a microcosm of the party, with perhaps a slightly more conservative bent than the party as a whole. It is also home to a significant number of precinct committeemen. So discussions of potential candidates often become passionate and argumentative. But in post after post your name seemed to clearly be a consensus favorite. Not only were you the choice of more commenters than the other candidates, but in posts requesting top 3 choices, you were one of the the top 3 in an overwhelming majority of comments.
The reason is simply I think. You represent well the 3 legged stool of a strong Republican coalition. Small government / fiscal responsibility, pro-life / social conservative, strong national defense. There is also an overwhelming sense that you have integrity in your convictions. Perhaps, especially in 2012 something that should be considered a 4th leg of the stool, given the public’s frustration with the lack of integrity on both sides of the isle. Perhaps more importantly, there are no strong negatives except name recognition and the House of Representatives being a weak stepping point to the presidency.
So, when Mitch Daniels is thrown out as a name, it is clear he has ruined himself with many pro-lifers by his own comments. Obviously Giuliani has the same problem. Romney evokes groans as not only untrustworthy as to his conservatism, but as the architect of mini-Obamacare. Huckabee, not conservative enough on fiscal issues. Gingrich, Pawlenty, and a host of others are seen a fair weather conservatives on varying issues with some liberal tendencies at heart. Palin is liked by most and very passionately supported by many, but the consensus of the less rabid is that she cannot win in the general. The only other candidates who seem to have a similar common appeal, are even less well known, less experienced or have other negatives that would be problematic in the general. Barbour, Christie, West, et al. So while not everyone has you as their first choice, almost nobody has bad things to say because you do not conflict with any aspect of conservatism. That is precisely the unification we must have to win in the general.
Does a pro-lifer eventually vote for Daniels or Rudi or Romney? Probably. Does a fiscal conservative eventually vote for someone like Huckabee? Probably. But do they donate? Probably not. Do they walk the streets, make calls, write to editors, and show up at rallies? Probably not. Which leads to my second point.
Besides all the misinformation the media presents about the Tea Party movement, I think people are also misinformed about the nature of the vast majority of tea partiers. Specifically, because the attacks from the left that motivated the tea party movement have been regarding size of government / fiscal issues, the assumption is that the tea party represents merely the “fiscal” leg of the stool. Personally, my experience is that Tea Partiers represent all 3 legs by a large majority. So there are incorrect assumptions that for instance a pro-abortion or merely weak pro-life candidate will be just fine with tea partiers as long as they are fiscally responsible. Furthermore, both the fiscal conservatives and the pro-lifers in the tea party movement have been told to take a backseat to appease “moderates” for so long that their fragile loyalty to the party could easily be shattered by some compromise candidate. At worst we could see an independent run by a Ron Paul or a Alan Keyes type dividing conservatives even more so than in 2008. At best, millions of highly active voters will suddenly cease to be active. In either sense, if the tea party is forced to abandon pro-iife issues, or pro-freedom issues, or other issues foundational to conservatives – they could lose motivation, fracture and ultimately succumb to the marginalization the media has been frantically trying to impose on them. If that happens, we, as Republicans are likely to be sent back into the wilderness.
Conservatives are the majority in the United States of America. Unfortunately, they are under constant attack by the media, the entertainment industry, both institutions of primary and higher education, and a ruling culture in Washington DC that disdains them at worst and patronizes them at best. Yet against those odds, they rose up and in less than 1 year, became the greatest novel political force since the Sons of Liberty. It is cliché, but perhaps more true now than in the last 100 years – this election is about much more than this election. And those, like yourself, uniquely qualified to hold together, motivate, and lead the conservative movement, should not only embrace the duty to do so, but should respect the potentially fleeting opportunity that is present, right now.
Finally, I fall in the camp that would be just as happy to see Sarah Palin as president, but that does not believe she is capable of winning. Yet I take Sarah Palin at her word, when she repeatedly promises that her decision to run will be based on what is best for the country. If she is honest when she says that, and if she is honest with herself about her prospects of winning, then she will embrace her role, not as President (at least not yet), but as kingmaker. She likely cannot and likely will not attempt to make a King out of most others currently in the field. But I believe she could embrace supporting you, and if she did at the right time, so could all of her devotees.
Those are my thoughts; I thank you for considering them.