Trump’s run­ning mate is not enough

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

Viewpoint: Los An­ge­les Times In tap­ping In­di­ana Gov. Mike Pence as his run­ning mate, Don­ald J. Trump has come up with the ul­ti­mate bal­anced ticket. Un­for­tu­nately, Pence bal­ances the ticket by hav­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in govern­ment and an even tem­per­a­ment. That only un­der­lines the fact that Trump spec­tac­u­larly lacks both qual­i­ties.

Be­fore be­com­ing gov­er­nor in 2013, Pence served more than a decade in the U.S. House, where he com­piled a con­ser­va­tive vot­ing record on both fis­cal and so­cial is­sues. He has been com­pa­ra­bly con­ser­va­tive as gov­er­nor — though some Chris­tian con­ser­va­tives were dis­ap­pointed that, af­ter sign­ing a re­li­gious-free­dom bill they sought, he later ap­proved an amend­ment say­ing that the law couldn’t be used to dis­crim­i­nate against gays and les­bians.

Pence has been more sup­port­ive of free-trade agree­ments than Trump. He also is on record as op­pos­ing Trump’s pro­posal for a tem­po­rary ban on Mus­lims en­ter­ing the U.S. — an idea Pence rightly called “of­fen­sive and un­con­sti­tu­tional.” But so do many Repub­li­cans, in­clud­ing Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan.

What­ever one thinks of Pence’s views —and we find many of them nar­row-minded and trou­bling, such as his skep­ti­cism about cli­mate change and his at­tacks on abor­tion rights — he pos­sesses the sort of re­sume that Amer­i­cans tra­di­tion­ally ex­pect in their presidents and vice presidents.

He also is likely to be a less ex­plo­sive and more dis­ci­plined run­ning mate than ei­ther New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie or former House Speaker Newt Gin­grich, the other fi­nal­ists.

Yet, far from com­pen­sat­ing for Trump’s de­fi­cien­cies, Pence’s cre­den­tials bring them into sharper and more fright­en­ing re­lief.

Even if Pence were the rein­car­na­tion of Abra­ham Lin­coln, his pres­ence on the ticket won’t al­ter the fact that the Re­pub­li­can can­di­date for pres­i­dent is a shal­low self-pro­moter who traf­fics in big­otry and blus­ter.

Even more than in other pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, vot­ers this Novem­ber will be pay­ing at­ten­tion to the can­di­dates at the top of the ticket.

That’s a prob­lem for Pence, and for the Re­pub­li­can Party.

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