“Well, Chris, honestly,” Pence began, “my focus is entirely on the future of the people of Indiana. We’ll let my future take care of itself.”
The strict talking points and programmed moments we’ve watched and heard from Gov. Pence over the past few years now come into focus. The Indiana governorship is his launching pad. Pence sticks to the script, and his modest policy achievements (built on the foundation forged by Gov. Mitch Daniels) become the conservative beacon.
While U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul say things deemed controversial to the mainstream (do your own Internet search), Pence religiously sticks to the script. He goes to the shooting range, but he doesn’t hold a gun upside down at an NRA convention.
Speaking to the national NRA convention in Indianapolis last Friday, Pence kept the red meat in the Governor’s Mansion refrigerator. “The cure for what ails this country will come more from our nation’s state capitals than it ever will from our nation’s capital,” Pence said in comments deemed to be the beginnings of a second Jeffersonian movement. “It’s important to remember that the states created the federal government, the federal government didn’t create the states.”
Instead of guns, he talked butter. “We have tax cuts scheduled every year until 2021,” Pence said. “We’ve cut the income tax. We’ve cut the corporate tax to the second lowest in the country. And we ended death taxes in Indiana, once and for all last year.”
A presidential run in 2016? “If I only had 12 years left to live, I’d want to live it as a member of Congress, because that was the 12 longest years of my life,” he joked.
The crowd lapped it up. So did the pundits. The U.S. News & World Report observed that Pence was the one who emerged from the gathering with the “most buzz.”