Pence has been virtually under the radar of the race so far. He’s done little to be controversial other than to reject Common Core standards which could hurt him in the national picture. Implementing the health care alternative plan to Obamacare could be a plus.
Where Pence is still undefined is his agenda beyond a state property tax cut. There’s not much there, and if he had an extensive legislative record in Congress he could use that as a crutch, but there’s not that much there either.
What this means is that Pence, if he is serious about being a candidate, is going to have to do more in terms of weighing in on all issues so that voters become more acquainted with where he stands on certain issues. He’s long been a staunch pro-life candidate, but beyond that, it’s hard to associate him and his positions on various issues.
Perhaps the best thing Pence has going for him is that he’s not among the off-the-wall Republican candidates out there that includes former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He may not have some of the strengths of the major candidates, but he lacks many of the major negatives that some of them have as well, including any experience in Washington. Relatively speaking, he has a clean slate with little baggag which should play well for him.
Republicans recalling the candidacy of the last Hoosier vice president in the No. 2 slot may not be too eager to slate Pence there in 2016, but it will have been 24 years since the last Dan Quayle candidacy and many voters will have forgotten about the last incumbent Republican ticket to be beaten.
One advantage Pence has if he does hope to be on the ticket is that the field is relatively shallow. The Republicans emptied out the candidate drawer in 2012 and many of those names will likely not make another bid.
Mike Pence will not be the magic bullet that allows Republicans to capture the presidency in 2016, but by virtue of being a sitting governor with Washington experience, he is in the arsenal that will be vetted for consideration for the No. 2 seat.
Dave Kitchell is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at email@example.com.