HER TURN TO CHOOSE

(This has been revised as a result of the terrorist attack in Nice and Trump’s decision to delay his running mate announcement.)

1. It’s still Thursday, July 14, 2016.

2. So the indications are that Trump is going to pick Mike Pence, the damn fool governor of Indiana, as his running mate. It’s not a slam dunk certainty until the Orange One lumbers onto a stage and presents him, which was supposed to happen tomorrow, but has been delayed due to the horrific terrorist attack in Nice.

But let’s say it’s Pence.

A Pence pick is a Tea Partiers’ No. 2 dream, after putting Barack Obama on a plane back to his native Kenya. There’s no problem that can’t be solved by taking away a tax that rich people pay.

He’s also not keen on people who love people of the same sex. It was Pence who signed the so-called “Religious Freedom” act into effect that allowed Indiana businesses to deny services to homosexuals due to religious objections.

The nationwide outcry was so strong that it was also Pence, after posturing about how he stood behind the law, who backed down and pushed a measure that moderated the stance. That was after businesses said they were pulling out of the state and people around the nation gave Pence their two cents.

With that, he’s perfect for a GOP platform that not only wants to roll back the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, but even supports the idea of gay conversion therapy, treating sexual preference as some kind of affliction.

And it was Pence who shepherded a draconian anti-abortion law that had women in the state so riled that they formed Periods for Pence, a campaign to tell him how each of their menstrual cycles was progressing because he seemed so concerned about them. The law was later thrown out in court.

One more thing: Pence once denied that smoking kills people. Really. So in addition to the usual Republican climate change denial, you can add nicotine denial. (Not to mention grammar denial if you read this piece through.) 

Yes, Pence will consolidate the GOP base. He’ll keep the Neanderthal conservatives happy. Big smile on Paul Ryan’s face. I’d say big smile on Ted Cruz’s face, but there’s still nothing for him to smile about.

3. So the question here is does Hillary Clinton, who has taken a beating in recent polls to fall into a draw with Trump, respond to a Pence VP pick and, if so, how?

The first part: If you think this election is a lock, and I don’t know if the Clinton folks do, then the important thing to consider is the qualification to serve as president. Who could do the job if something happens to Clinton?

But if they think this is going to be a tough fight, then the first question needs to be who can eviscerate Pence in a debate?

Is it someone with sharp elbows? Or someone who’s rational and not easily flustered?

As I write this, she’s appearing with Sen. Tim Kaine in Virginia. Kaine is an obviously smart guy. But he’s not Mr. Excitement. Is being good with facts enough to stifle Pence in a debate.

If she goes with the puncher, then Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown are her best bets. They are not going to be afraid to rough it up.

Warren raises another question. Is Trump’s Pence pick toxic with women? Trump was trailing with them anyway. Does Pence’s hardcore stances drive enough women away from Trump that it makes no sense to pick another woman for the ticket – unless, of course, we go back to question one and Clinton believes a specific woman is the best one for the job.

It’s an interesting dilemma. It will play out over the next week; my guess is Clinton names her pick a week from tomorrow to take away whatever bounce Trump gets from Cleveland.

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