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Listening to Kaine, Pence

September 2, 2016

I want the plot line to include at least a taste (or bad taste) of the VP candidates, and as it happens, all four candidates gave speeches on Aug 31. On this page I’ll think about K and P.

Kaine was super-caffeinated and upbeat. He seemed very comfortable with an audience, occasionally glancing at what probably is a large-font outline of topics, but speaking at high speed and colloquially, good-naturedly, from memory, as he paced the stage. He seems to develop open, active rapport with his audience, and it seems as though he would be easy to talk with. Or at least that’s how he was in Bethlehem, PA.

I take it that a major reason for his selection is that, as a well-regarded Catholic, from VA, representing moderate to conservative, Clintonite Dem politics, he can deliver PA. It’s obvious, too, that he’s a very effective campaigner in general. You should watch him for at least a few minutes, but here are a his salient points, in support of Hillary’s candidacy:

When she called to invite him, she told him why: she said the test of her presidency would be whether e.g. neighborhoods, schools, small businesses, were made better. “We measure our work by the way we help others.” He has been a city councilman, mayor, and on up, so he knows how to help people.

Throughout his career, he said, he has been supported by strong women, his wife, colleagues, and women voters (women having cast the majority of votes since 1964). Now he’s happy to be in the support role, for another strong woman, and he knows that there are many strong men who are happy to do so.

Young people and too many others who work hard to get ahead have not had a ladder to climb. He catalogued ways in which Hillary proposes to grow jobs, for instance by helping small businesses. Estimate of 550,000 job differential for PA if H is Pres instead of T.

[In my experience, beginning with Nixon, the role of the VP candidate is to attack the opposing P candidate.] Voters should think of themselves as conducting a job interview of the candidates. Ask them questions in order to get the information on which to base a hiring decision. T refuses to answer the Qs and give info re. his taxes, business record (including loan debt), dealings with foreign businesses and leaders, and health. This raises appropriate Qs about his competence, and his ties to foreign entities that might compromise his policies and decisions He does not respect voters, and they should not trust him.

Hillary is trying to do something that has never been done before, and do it under Citizens United conditions. Grass roots volunteers are very important, because “people are hungry for a conversation” about this election.

Pence spoke at a “town hall” rally in Sarasota FL. With a hurricane approaching, his arrival was delayed, and he had to leave after 16 minutes of speaking, to get to Phoenix in time to introduce Trump. The crowd was small but vociferous.

Now, I’ve made it clear (in three pages) that I don’t like Mike Pence. He was my congressman in IN and I’ve been well aware of his bigotry, and of the damage that he has done to public education, for one example, as governor.  The first time i heard “Pence” suggested as maybe trump’s choice for VP, I immediately thought, “Yes!  Perfect!  That’s who it will be.”  His continuing support of Trump is self-damnation beyond words.  So I’m not his best audience.

He began by assuring his best audience that Trump is a very likeable person. Then, like Kaine, he recounted what his presidential candidate said over the phone when he asked Pence to be his running mate. “And he said, ‘Mike, it’s gonna be great,” and boy it has been. What a journey.”

Trump, he said, is “the genuine article, a distinctly American leader, who speaks his heart, his mind, and doesn’t go tiptoeing around the countless rules of PC.” He “has never forgotten the men and women who work with their hands…[or] the courageous men and women who wear the uniform of law enforcement of the United States.”

This election, he said, is about four things:

Security. Rebuild America’s arsenal. Stop apologizing. “You know we’ve got a saying back in Indiana that good fences make good neighbors.”  [Yes!  He said that!  Like My Man Dick, Mike Pence never lets me down.]  Immigrants take away jobs and wages, and lives—and here he told one of the stories, of a young woman, about the age of his own daughter standing near the stage, who was killed by a man in the U S illegally. “It’s about security.” We will build the wall.

Prosperity: No more Obama economic failure; cut and lower taxes; “end the war on coal;” tougher trade deals; “repeal Obamacare lock stock and barrel.”

The Supreme Court: cherish the Constitution, the sanctity of life, and the 2nd Amendment.

Integrity: Uphold highest standards again. “I’m suffering from Clinton Corruption Fatigue.” Emails, rigged system, special interests.

He ended the speech in a solemn voice, asking the audience to “go tell someone.” Tell someone who knows and trusts you. [At that point, knowing his constituency and career, of course I thought, yes, like an evangelical; and sure enough, he said,] “Testify. If you’re inclined to do what the Pences do, in these challenging times, I encourage you to bend the knee. I’m someone who truly believes that what’s been true for millennia is still true today, that simple truth that if His people who are called by His name will humble themselves and pray, he’ll again hear from heaven, he’ll [?] our land, he’ll be all right.”

[I forgot to mention that I think P’s role is to (1) bring out the evangelicals, (2) reassure the conservatives of the party that whatever T says, things will be okay, (3) provide an appearance of balance, i.e. a confusing counter-weight that allows T to be every bit as wildly extreme in his campaigning as he believes is necessary in order to win.]

[That same day:  Trump’s speech on immigration (shudder), and  Clinton’s speech on the military.]

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