Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 1, 2010

PENCE'S PRIORITIES.... As ridiculous as this might seem, Rep. Mike Pence (R) of Indiana, the outgoing chairman of the House Republican caucus, is thinking about seeking higher office, including a possible presidential campaign. To that end, he continues to talk about economic policy as if he understands the subject.

For example, Pence delivered a speech earlier this week at the Detroit Economic Club, in which he endorsed a flat-tax proposal, embraced the gold standard, and said the successful rescue of the American automotive industry was a bad idea.

Reflecting on Pence's remarks, Bruce Bartlett, a former official in the Reagan and H.W. Bush administrations, described the speech as "a hackneyed rehash of every simplistic idea ever floated on Larry Kudlow's TV show." Bartlett also used phrases like "obviously nuts," "crackpot," and "really stupid."

This morning, Pence followed up on this performance by appearing on MSNBC, arguing that the unemployed benefit from income tax cuts, despite the fact that those without jobs don't have an income.

On MSNBC's Morning Joe today, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) said that while he is "deeply sympathetic" to the plight of the unemployed, "we've got to make the cuts necessary to offset those costs." During the interview, Pence claimed that Republicans are "anxious to support" struggling Americans, "particularly in the holiday season." However, asked whether he would accept a compromise that paid for unemployment benefits by allowing tax cuts to expire only on income over $1 million, Pence insisted that the jobless are better off swallowing tax cuts for the very rich than receiving immediate relief.

Pressed further on his priorities by Time's Mark Halperin, Pence awkwardly joked that he's "not good at chess," before falling back on his talking points. "I think the minimum that we have to do right now for Americans that are struggling in unemployment in this economy is make sure that no American sees a tax increase," he said.

To fully appreciate the stupidity of the display, it's worth watching the video. The printed words just don't do it justice.

Watching this morning's exchange, I'm reminded of something Matt Yglesias wrote last year about the Indiana congressman. "Mike Pence is a moron, and any movement that would hold the guy up as a hero is bankrupt," Matt explained, adding, "I would refer you to this post from September about the earth-shattering ignorance and stupidity of Mike Pence.... [I]t's really staggering. In my admittedly brief experience talking to him, his inability to grasp the basic contours of policy question was obvious and overwhelming."

Remember, Pence is not only thinking about a presidential campaign, in September, he won the Family Research Council's Values Voter presidential straw poll.

Steve Benen 12:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (21)

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Comments

I hear he's called 'Pence the Dense'

Posted by: Brian on December 1, 2010 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

I cannot believe how unbelievebly STUPID these so-called "leaders" are that we have running this country. Who with any brains whatsoever could say in the same sentence that unemployed people would benefit from tax cuts to millionaires. I mean is this Pence that much of a moron. Nothing against Indiana and I hate to say it reflects on the actual reasoning and thinking power of those that put him into office. It takes one (moron) to elect one (MORON).

Posted by: Chris on December 1, 2010 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Mike Pence is NOT the biggest idiot in Indiana!

The residents of Greensburg, Muncie, Anderson, Richmond, and the other residents of his congressional district are bigger idiots for electing and reelecting him!

Pence took a trip to an outdoor market in Bagdad (with McCain for a photo-op) in 2008 and, after utilizing 20+ helicopters and several hundred military for security, declared that the outdoor markets in Iraq were as safe as any outdoor market in Indiana. I have not been to an outdoor market in this depressing, backward state since!

Posted by: SadOldVet on December 1, 2010 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Pence delivered a speech earlier this week at the Detroit Economic Club, in which he... said the successful rescue of the American automotive industry was a bad idea."

He actually said this in Detroit, the center of the American automotive industry? Wow.

Posted by: delNorte on December 1, 2010 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

What's truly depressing is that, based upon recent events, this low-grade moron could negotiate circles around the Democrats in Congresss and the administration.

I feel like Casey Stengel watching the '62 Mets: "Can't anybody here play this game?"

Posted by: dp on December 1, 2010 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

[...] said the successful rescue of the American automotive industry was a bad idea. -- Steve Benen

Well... If we reverted to the horse and buggy way, it might be better for the environment. And, since fewer people would own those than own cars (for logistic reasons), more people would walk, which would be good for the national health (cut down on obesity). So he may have something there :)

On a side note... I wonder how many Pence it would take to reach a full Pound. Or, even, a dollar.

Posted by: exlibra on December 1, 2010 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

So the same Republicans, who argued that there should be no big votes during the “lame duck” session of Congress, now want the Democrats to take the political heat for them over their own sunset provision for taxes?

How very con-VEEEN-ient

Posted by: doc on December 1, 2010 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

It seems to me that here we have Sarah Palin in drag as it were. Maybe we should decide which one of these to back for Republican candidate to ensure the election of a Democratic candidate for president.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on December 1, 2010 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

The Lack of compassion elected Republican representatives have for the working classes amazes me. THERE is only ONE solution to the deficit:

Raise taxes on the über rich. Here in America the top 1% take 25% of yearly income an obscene proportion when Az Gov Jan Brewer is trying to kick 300,000 people off Medicaid and has already let one person die because Az cut transplants for Medicaid patients, mouthing soft words while shoving more people towards death. (google Az transplant death)

IF you want jobs, create a strong infrastructure building program it would stimulate the economy, revenues would rise, and needless deaths prevented.  BUT it all starts with taxing the über rich.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on December 1, 2010 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Some years ago they changed the law so that unemployment benefits are considered taxable income.

Stupid, but there it is.

Posted by: thebewilderness on December 1, 2010 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Palin/Pence 2012!

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on December 1, 2010 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

The heart of Pence's congressional district is Greensburg, Indiana.

Greensburg, Indiana is the site of a recently completed Honda car assembly plant.

The Greensburg Honda car assembly plant received somewhere north of $140 million in tax breaks and subsidies for being built there. The plant cost an estimated $550 million to be built.

It is therefore logical, like other Red State politicians who supported major tax subsidies for for car manufacturers to locate in their districts, that Mike Pence is opposed to American car manufacturers.

If you buy a Honda Civic, you are helping to support this idiot!!!

Posted by: SadOldVet on December 1, 2010 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

The Dunning-Kruger effect illustrated.

Posted by: patrick II on December 1, 2010 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Two things come to mind when reading this:

1) Harlan Ellson's quote about "The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." Also his quote, "this guy couldn't have been born yesterday, because no one could get that f@*&ing stupid in only 24 hours!!"

2) The other one? The joke "If stupidity goes for $200 dollars a barrel, then I want drilling rights on his head!" (Pence's head, that is....)

@Chris: George Carlin pretty much said the same thing you did. Sadly, he was right on the money.

Posted by: Marc McKenzie on December 1, 2010 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

The Matt Yglesias post was in Sep 2008 near the height of the crisis. See excerpt*

Query - was the much lauded Paul Ryan a party to the Pence far-right crisis “plan” ??????

.............
*Which is all by way of introducing CAP VP for Economic Policy Michael Ettlinger’s critique of the Pence far-right crisis “plan” which, as you’ll see, is also utterly fraudulent. If cable news networks were run by people with any conscience, any sense of obligation or ethics, they would be treating this plan and its author as the joke they are. But of course they aren’t run by people with any conscience or any sense of ethics, so it’s all just treated as another subject for debate.

Posted by: Steve D on December 1, 2010 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

My bad - Jan 2009 was the Matt Yglesias post IN WHICH he calls Pence an idiot. In that post Yglesias refers to his post on Pence in Sep 2008 near the height of the crisis.

Again, query - was the much lauded Paul Ryan a party to the Pence far-right crisis “plan” ??????

Posted by: Steve D on December 1, 2010 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Palin and Pence in 2012!!!

Where do I send my donations?? Truly a dream ticket.

Posted by: mike reilly on December 1, 2010 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

This guy should be homeless..

while he is "deeply sympathetic" to the plight of the unemployed

You self absorbed, career piece of shit!

Posted by: An Angry Trollop on December 1, 2010 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

"... seeking higher office, including a possible presidential campaign."

I want to see Mike Pence's f#@%ing birth certificate first !

Posted by: Bill on December 1, 2010 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

in September, he won the Family Research Council's Values Voter presidential straw poll.

Which is the #1 reason we need a Constitutional Amendment that permanently eliminates the voting rights of straw. (and those with straw for brains. Sorry, Scarecrow, you're not up to it.)

Posted by: Tim H on December 1, 2010 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

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