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The Biggest Inside Secret From CPAC 2014

Mike Pence

The American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is considered by many to be the flagship event on the conservative calendar and the premier event at which potential Republican candidates test the presidential waters.

And this year’s CPAC was no different; it had a stellar line-up of potential conservative presidential candidates including Senator Rand Paul, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Mike Lee, Governor Bobby Jindal and establishment Republican Governor Chris Christie who all spoke.

There was even a “Draft Dr. Ben Carson” booth at this year’s CPAC and Dr. Carson, although he has disavowed any interest in running for President, brought down the house with a stirring speech.

Two obvious presidential contenders who were not on the CPAC speakers list this year were Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the “great white hope” of the Republican establishment, Florida’s former Governor Jeb Bush. 

However, adherents of both Bush and Walker were there in force spinning the case for their man.

But the biggest buzz in the back rooms of CPAC was about another Governor of presidential timber who wasn’t at CPAC 2014.

Indiana’s principled limited government constitutional conservative Governor Mike Pence.

Pence barely registered on the CPAC straw poll, but his name seemed to come up in every conversation about potential 2016 presidential candidates.

And a Pence candidacy would make sense from the perspective of rebuilding the winning coalition that swept the 2010 elections, but has since been sundered by the Republican establishment’s craven lust to hold on to power.

Mike Pence is an unabashed social conservative, who in his six terms in the US House of Representatives, earned near perfect scores from National Right to Life and other social conservative organizations.

Unlike other governors who are mentioned as potential Republican presidential candidates, Pence has solid experience on national defense and foreign policy issues having served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee where he was the Vice-Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.

He is also a deep thinker on economic and fiscal issues and once proposed a constitutional amendment to limited federal spending – correctly recognizing that merely balancing the federal budget is not the answer if the government continues to capture and spend a greater and greater proportion of the country’s economic output.

And Pence is a “boat rocker.” 

While the press and others have long forgotten it, conservatives remember that Pence had the guts to challenge Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert for the big spending cronyism that got Republicans thrown out of the majority in 2006.

Pence also chaired the Republican Study Committee when it actually stood for conservative principles and offered a policy counterweight to the earmark-driven old bulls of the Republican establishment who run the House Republican Conference.

Pence ultimately became Chairman of the House Republican Conference and built the conference staff into an intellectual powerhouse of conservative policy.

Many thought he was poised to challenge John Boehner for the Speakership and take the House in the limited government constitutional conservative direction that the Tea Party wave election of 2010 promised; but Mike Pence chose a different path.

Early in the 2012 election cycle he announced he was running for Governor of his home state of Indiana.

Since becoming Governor of Indiana Mike Pence has established a solid record advocating and implementing conservative policy on the state level, including getting the legislature to pass the largest state tax cut in history. 

Pence is also an excellent communicator having hosted a statewide talk radio program for some ten years prior to his election to the House – he’s media savvy and well-schooled in the art distilling complex  policy into a sound bite that voters can digest.

As CPAC 2014 came to a close and the conversation turned to who the winners and losers of this year’s conference were one sage longtime observer of the political scene noted that only two men have gone directly from the Senate to the White House and if Republicans want to win the presidency in 2016 they should look to a Governor like Mike Pence of Indiana. 

I’ve known and respected Mike Pence for many years and wasn’t surprised that everyone in the conversation nodded “yes” in recognition that while others may have the spotlight now, they are each at present missing some element essential to a successful presidential campaign, but Mike Pence is the one potential Republican presidential candidate who has all the tools necessary to rebuild the winning Republican coalition.

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Cruz/Pence in 2016!

Mike Pence has a long record as a dependably conservative candidate both in the Congress and as governor of his home state of Indiana. He spoke at the last luncheon given for my former boss, conservative icon Paul Weyrich, and he would make a great vice presidential candidate on the ticket in 2016, heading for that office alongside Ted Cruz for the presidency. Their policies would do a great deal to help America steer back onto a rightward path rather than continuing on a path that leads to the ash heap of history. Cruz is sound on foreign policy and on keeping America strong. It took A Carter to get a Reagan and by the end of 2016 it may well be said that it had taken an Obama to get a President Cruz. A Cruz/Pence ticket could certainly blow away anything Clinton has to offer. With that ticket the GOP will be not only telling the electorate that America deserves better, but putting forth the high quality ticket that proves we have what it takes to make that happen.

Presidential Candidate

I really think what the RP & TP should be concentrating on is the senate races in 2014. As long as Harry Reid is the Senate majority leader nothing will get done to generate a economic recovery.
Also there needs to be not a massive replacement of Obama care but an amendment to provide affordable insurance for the 30-40 million without and to release the insurance companies to take care of the 300 million with policies they once had without all of the requirement's except one. There still needs to be a way cover those with current sickness's.
We also don't need a senator as a presidential candidate. The only experience they have is running their political office.
Settle on a successful conservative governor. They have run a state not just an office. They also have a broad base electorate rather than one in a district.
Lets be smart. Keep Jeb Bush off the list. He would not let oil drilling off his coast line. So China got it.

Will the real Pence please speak up?

Without challenging anything cited in this article, it is notable that the word "immigration' is missing. Why is that? Its because Pence, while in Congress, drafted an amnesty bill which was widely distributed to House members and received a great deal of publicity at the time, but was then withdrawn because he got so much push back from the Republican caucus.

For this reason and for comments made since then, he is self-identified as a supporter of amnesty. (Though of course, liken other proponents, he spurns the word "amnesty" to describe a path to legalization for twenty million illegal aliens.)

Before Conservatives give serious consideration to Pence for any national office, his actions as governor related to immigration law enforcement at the state level, as well as his current, up-to-date positions on continued mass immigration and amnesty must be revealed and understood.