Saturday, October 08, 2016

Trump is Terrible but Pence May Well be Worse

By Eric Segall

Donald Trump is certainly terrible but Mike Pence may well be worse. Whereas Trump wears his Neanderthal sexism on his sleeve slobbering over women wherever he slinks, Pence has an actual history of advocating for and signing horrific anti-women legislation and being notoriously anti-science (actually anti-21st century). Folks certainly don’t need an additional reason to vote against Trump, but if they do, keeping Pence from ever again holding an elected position at the federal level provides the strongest of justifications.

Pence’s career-long crusade against equality for women actually began before he held public office. As a talk radio host in the late 90’s, Pence wrote an op-ed about seeing the movie Mulan with his children. According to Pence, the Disney movie, about a young girl who becomes a successful warrior, was thought up by “some mischievous liberal at Disney [who] assumes that Mulan’s story will cause a quiet change in the next generation’s attitude about women in combat and they just might be right.” Pence thought it ludicrous that despite “her delicate features and voice, Disney expects us to believe that Mulan’s ingenuity and courage were enough to carry her to military success on an equal basis with her cloddish cohorts.” He concludes with these thoughts about the relationship between the sexes: “many young men find many young women to be attractive sexually. Many young women find many young men to be attractive sexually. Put them together, in close quarters, for long periods of time, and things will get interesting. Just like they eventually did for young Mulan. Moral of story: women in military, bad idea.” My moral, Pence is the most sexist film critic in history.

As a member of the House of Representatives, Pence conducted a one man war against Planned Parenthood. He sponsored the very first House Bill to defund Planned Parenthood and kept at it obsessively until it passed the House in 2011. He said at the time, "If Planned Parenthood wants to be involved in providing counseling services and HIV testing, they ought not be in the business of providing abortions. As long as they aspire to do that, I’ll be after them." He also fought for a federal personhood bill called the “Life at Conception Act,” which would mandate that life begins at conception for all fifty states and millions of American women. And, just to add more cruelty and 18th century values to his resume, Pence also cosponsored a bill that would have redefined rape, preventing federal funds from paying for abortion except in cases of “forcible rape.”

As Governor of Indiana, Pence has advocated for and signed eight anti-abortion laws in four years. In addition to trying to make it as hard as possible for women to be able to pay for abortions, Pence signed a truly cruel bill that prohibited abortions if the woman’s decision was based on the race, gender, or disability of the fetus, and applied criminal punishments to doctors who assisted in any such abortion. Imagine being pregnant and told that your fetus has a serious fetal abnormality, and now learning that if you make the decision to abort, you may well be breaking the law and your doctor may go to prison. Thankfully, and mercifully, a federal court has already enjoined the law from taking effect.

Pence has also advocated against LGBTQ rights. Despite being warned again and again that a purported “religious liberty” bill was actually a “discriminate against gay people” bill in disguise, Pence signed the law in March, 2015.  As a member of Congress, he supported a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage saying he wanted to protect “God’s plan,” and opining that “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.” Pence felt so strongly that gay people shouldn’t get married that he signed a law in 2013 as Governor making it a felony for same-sex couples to apply for a marriage license.” This man is not only against same-sex marriage, he is against people who are in favor of same-sex marriage. In other words, he is a classic bigot.


I could go on and on but to even pretend to be able to catalog all of Pence’s anti-gay, anti-women past, would be disingenuous because I would need around 10,000 words (at least). But, I would be committing blog malpractice if I didn’t also mention that, not only does Pence not believe in evolution, of course, but he also has “impeccable political evangelical credentials, having chaired the Republican Study Group, a coalition of conservative House Republicans,” according to a Christian website. In other words, and to be crystal clear, despite what the media is concluding from Pence's moderate debate behavior, the man is an extreme right-wing politician even by right-wing conservative standards. He is, quite simply, an extremist.

There may be some doubt about what policies Trump would support as President but there is none about Pence. He is vehemently and openly anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-science, anti-women, and, even, apparently, anti-Disney. As I said at the outset, Trump is terrible, but Pence may well be worse.

3 comments:

Unknown said...

To My knowledge, Pence is anti-abortion, not anti-woman. The fact abortion is so obviously associated with women is separate.

Joe said...

One can debate policies, but the "anti-woman" tag goes beyond his position on abortion.

Anyway, the post focuses on policy. On policy, it's possible he can be worse than Trump. This is unclear though -- e.g., Trump's comments on various issues sound fairly reckless, including foreign policy. Also, Trump's personal failings will likely result in problems since part of being President is personal, particularly the "head of state" role. Finally, his recklessness, lack of knowledge and/or willingness to take the time to think them out etc. is simply put scary.

Pence is bad in various ways but meets bare minimum levels of credibility for POTUS that Trump does not. That bare minimum is far from enough & I don't think Pence is really a serious candidate for 2020. But, I can see Republicans hopeful he would be on the top of the ticket so they can lose with some pride intact.

Joseph Simmons said...

I'm not shocked to learn that you think a social conservative would be worse than Trump. I don't understand the value in trotting out these tired points. If a person is considering voting for Trump, I don't believe that Pence's views is going to turn them away. I was surprised to learn that Pence supposedly made it a felony for same-sex couples to apply for a marriage license. But of course, upon googling, I discovered that's not what he did. The law already existed to penalize putting false information on a marriage license application. The amendment lowered the penalty for doing so. Because there are spaces for a "female" and a "male" applicant to put their names, a same-sex couple would arguably violate the law. That's not a foregone conclusion, as was reported by many sources, but it is arguable. Yet, that was the case BEFORE Pence's amendment to lower the penalty. Out of this, however, you insist that Pence is a "classic bigot." When every conservative is painted as a bigot, it is no wonder that so many roll their eyes at criticism of Trump.