OK, now Trump makes it official: Pence for VP

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Friday July 15th, 2016

Not THAT Pence.

Maybe he's listening to me after all. An announcement that was supposed to happen at 11 a.m., but was supposedly postponed because of the Nice attack, has now happened officially. The press conference won't be until tomorrow, so we can hear more then about Trump's rationale and Pence's thoughts on how he wants to help but as a running mate and as vice president.

I like this pick, with all due respect to the boss's preference for Newt (who I also like, although for different reasons). One of my frustrations with this election cycle was that there were so many Republican governors who had excellent governing records and could show through the results they've gotten in their states that conservative policies work when they're implemented effectively. Primary voters showed almost no interested in any of these guys, which I felt denied the GOP the opportunity to go up against Hillary with someone who could offer a real record of achievement compared to her total lack thereof.

Putting Pence on the ticket brings that element back into the equation, and because he also served in Congress before becoming governor, he should bring the benefit of knowing the ins and outs of Washington in a way Trump does not. To whatever extent you may be concerned that Trump is unfamiliar with policy, Pence is intimately familiar with it and can help Trump fill in the blanks. He can also challenge Trump when his populist instincts might lead to ideas that inspire a "damn right" reaction but don't necessarily solve the real problems.

My only knock against Pence was his willingness to cave on Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act last year, which is ironic because that's the first thing Hillary is now attacking him for - signing the RFRA in the first place. Signing it was the right thing to do, and when the left and their media accomplices completely misrepresented the law as "license to discriminate against gays," Pence was far too willing to assuage the fears of nervous Chamber of Commerce types and back down.

That should not have happened. But Pence has otherwise been a very solid governor who's overseen a period of sensible economic policies and health growth in Indiana. I would expect his instincts operating near the top of a new administration to be solid most of the time. He will absolutely help Trump to govern better. Newt would have too, but Newt didn't have the accomplishments on the state level that Pence had.

Plus, with Pence now relinquishing the Indiana governorship, there's apparently a chance Mitch Daniels might return to that job, and that would also be very good news for Indiana.

Trump's first major personnel choice is a solid one.

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