Mike Pence Is a Terrifying Menace

[Content Note: War on agency; misogyny; queer hatred.]

At Reuters, Yasmeen Abutaleb and Joseph Tanfani provide one of the first in-depth looks at the vice-presidency of Mike Pence.

Long overdue, their report is necessary reading and, as I noted on Twitter, details exactly what I've been warning Mike Pence would do, as a veep empowered by a president to run domestic policy, since even before these twin nightmares were elected.

Here's a brief selection of receipts just from between the time Pence was selected as Trump's running mate and their inauguration:

July 14, 2016: "At the time Pence signed the anti-LGBTx law, only 28 percent of Hoosiers believed there should be no legal recognition or rights accorded to same-sex couples in Indiana. He was nonetheless content to do the bidding of less than one-third of the entire state, because meaningful democracy is of no interest to him. As you would expect, Pence — who has bragged 'I was Tea Party before it was cool' — holds odious positions on an entire raft of issues: He recently signed 'a sweeping new anti-abortion law that combines some of the harshest attacks on reproductive rights into one piece of legislation.' He tried to block Syrian refugees from settling in Indiana. He opposed campaign finance reform as 'unconstitutional' and Medicare Part D as an 'unfunded entitlement program.' He's anti-union, and naturally gets an A-rating from the NRA. His positions are both contemptible and extreme."

July 20, 2016: "Before he was an awful governor, Pence was an awful Congressman: During his 12 years in the House, he cast 38 votes on abortion and reproductive-rights issues, every single one of which was anti-choice. He repeatedly voted for the Federal Abortion Ban; repeatedly voted for the Unborn Victims of Violence Act; repeatedly voted to defund Planned Parenthood; and repeatedly cosponsored legislation so extreme that it would not only have banned abortion, but also would have banned some common forms of contraception, stem cell research, and in vitro fertilization. ...And his failures on reproductive justice are just the tip of the crapberg."

July 22, 2016: "I've also read a raft of articles about how nice Pence is reported to be. Pence is 'Midwestern polite.' He's 'likable.' He knows how to be 'both kind and ruthless.' Heck, even Indiana Democrats like Mike Pence! With qualifications: 'In person he's very amiable, he's really friendly and engaged,' said Ann DeLaney, a former chair of the state Democratic Party...who was an occasional guest on Pence's radio show in the 1990s [and] said Pence's personal and political political positions struck her as an 'odd dichotomy.' That's a very polite way of saying that Pence is kind to people in person, but things get a little dicier when he's, say, making the decision to erode the rights of entire groups of people with the mere stroke of his pen. Then, Pence isn't so much 'nice' as 'cruel and unapologetic.'"

September 13, 2016: "Mike Pence is awful for women; a disaster for LGBTQ people; terrible for refugees and immigrants. His entire tenure as Indiana's governor has been an exercise in punitive governance, absolutely horrific in every way for marginalized Hoosiers."

October 4, 2016: "[Voters] will find in Pence's record a host of anti-abortion measures, which has made Indiana one of the most unsafe places to be pregnant in the country. Trump talks the horrible talk about health and women's agency; Pence has walked the horrible walk."

October 8, 2016: "In 2011, the House GOP provided a perfect insight into the intersection of anti-choice aggression and rape apologia, when they attempted to redefine rape in order to limit access to abortion. Republican legislators, unhappy with exceptions to the Hyde Amendment which allow federal funds to pay for abortions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, wanted to limit the definition of the exception to 'forcible rape,' thus excluding pregnancies resulting from incest, statutory rape, and rape via coercion or incapacitation. That legislation, the 'No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,' had 173 co-sponsors. Among them [was] then-congressman and current vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence."

December 4, 2016: "Pence's style has always been less aggressive than it is opportunist — which does not make him any less dangerous. To the contrary, his patience in waiting for effective opportunities in which to implement his extremism, and his willingness to brazenly disregard democratic processes to get it done, makes him all the more toxic. His stealth is the perfect complement to Trump's theatrical egotism: Pence will exploit every second of being ignored to enact a radical conservative agenda in the long shadow cast by Trump's attention-grubbing megalomania."

December 06, 2016: "In the middle of the exchange, there was a revealing moment about the power behind the gold chair. Joe Scarborough asked Pence about running the transition, and Pence agreed that he was, then carefully backtracked, saying Trump is in charge, but he is 'chairing it.' Everyone had a good laugh, including Pence, about his very political answer."

December 8, 2016: "Pence will work, as quietly as possible, with the Republican majorities in the House and Senate to pass horrifically regressive legislation. Both he and Congressional Republicans will be blissfully content to operate outside the glaring spectacle of Trump, who will be enormously useful in sucking up all the media attention."

I warned, over and over, not only that Pence would pursue exactly the policies he is now pursuing, but also how he would do it. I urged people to pay attention to him. I begged the press to shine a light on his activities.

And now it is abundantly clear: The heinous anti-choice, misogynist, and queer-hating policy that is becoming a hallmark of the Trump administration is being directed by Pence.

Malice has always been his agenda.

As I've always said: Keep your eyes on Pence.

[Related Reading: On Mike Pence's Destructive Ambition.]

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