Pence isn’t really a hick; he just plays one on TV – Politico

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If Mike Pence were an act, nobody could play him better than Mike Pence. | AP Photo

Simon Says

I love it when holders of high office who are arrogant, vain and disdainful suddenly decide that they need to stress one other quality to the voters: their humility.

If Mike Pence were an act, nobody could play him better than Mike Pence.

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As the right-wing Republican governor of Indiana since 2013, Pence has now decided to sacrifice the pleasures of Indianapolis to run as Donald Trump’s running mate.

“For those of you who don’t know me, which is most of you,” he said, he was selected by Trump for one reason:

Trump is man known for his “large personality, a colorful style and lots of charisma,” Pence said, “so I guess he was looking for some balance.”

And then a crowd, still raw from booing the eminently boo-able Ted Cruz, actually burst out laughing.

The joke had worked. And Pence plunged on with a life story so full of hayseed that only Frank Capra could have done it justice.

He was raised in a small town in Indiana “with a cornfield in the backyard,” Pence said, failing to point out that most of Indiana has a cornfield in the backyard.

His grandfather had emigrated from Ireland to the South Side of Chicago, where he drove a bus. His father “was a combat veteran in Korea” and “if Dad were with us today I have a feeling he would enjoy this moment and probably would be pretty surprised.”

But his mother was in the hall, he said, as throats started to choke up just a little, and he invited everyone to “join me in welcoming the light of my life, my mom, Nancy.”

His mother stood up and waved a small wave and Pence said that 31 years ago he “married the girl of my dreams,” who was also there.

But wait! There was more! “The most important job I’ll ever have is spelled D-A-D,” he said and if you weren’t sobbing as the camera panned from Audrey to Charlotte to Michael, well, you were not human.

His boyhood heroes had been Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy — as an Irish Catholic of his generation it was practically a law to have John F. Kennedy as a boyhood hero.

And then one day he heard a politician give a speech and that politician was Ronald Reagan and Pence knew he was going to be a Republican forevermore.

And he would also be a man of faith. As a Catholic he took his religion very seriously, and when he became an evangelical Catholic in college it practically broke his mother’s heart. But he did what he knew he had to do.

He did not know exactly what he wanted to do with his life but he knew all was possible “in the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Somebody ought to check that for plagiarism, by the way. It sounds a little too slick to me.

Today Pence has “faith that God can still heal our land” and, he said, our land needs it.

“Donald Trump is a doer in a job usually reserved for talkers,” he said, and “while Donald Trump was taking my measure as a running mate, I was taking some measures myself.

“He can be a little rough with politicians on a stage,” Pence said, “and I’ll bet we see that again.”

And the audience laughed again. A few minutes later, Pence let loose with his line of the evening.

“When Donald Trump is elected president of the United States,” he said, “the change will be yuge!”(CQ)

Pence beat up on Hillary Clinton a little, but it was nothing compared to the attacks she had suffered at this convention thus far, including one apparent death threat by a delegate from New Hampshire. (The Secret Service is investigating.)

“It was Hillary Clinton who left four Americans in harm’s way at Benghazi and said ‘What difference does it make?’” Pence said and that “anyone who said that, anyone who did that should be disqualified from being commander in chief of the armed forces.”

And then he hit on the vulnerability that Hillary’s campaign is well aware of. “The Democrats are about to anoint someone who represents everything this country is tired of,” Pence said.

There were probably many reasons the Trump staff settled on Mike Pence. They were certain, for instance, that a guy like Pence would never outshine the top of the ticket.

They might have gotten that one wrong.

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