Gay Fresno - Opinion
The word by Sheila
You'd think that with the real problems facing America these days, and with the undeniable improvements in public opinion we've seen over the past decade or two, most of the culture warriors would have put a lid on it and moved on.
Instead it's like fighting zombies. They just won't die.
In Indiana culture warrior extraordinaire Mike Pence is running for governor, and thanks to his corporate and Christian sponsors, he has piles of money to spend.
Republican supporters of Pence's gubernatorial campaign pooh-pooh the notion that their candidate is an extremist. Pence himself is frantically trying to re-introduce and re-invent himself with huge ad buys that avoid any reference to his (exceedingly lack- luster) congressional performance or to the policies he supports. In the process we've been treated to interminable 30-second spots filled with saccharine drivel intended to repackage and replace the real article.
Did you know he took his wife ice-skating on their first date? Or that his grandfather was a bus driver?
The underfunded and outgunned Democrats have raised the ire of Pence supporters by focusing their response on a booklet published by the Indiana Policy Review when Pence was president of that organization, called Indiana Mandate: an Agenda for the 1990s. Ordinarily, a manifesto issued by a fringe organization nearly 25 years ago wouldn't be relevant today; however Pence has never disavowed the positions it espoused. To the contrary, he has consistently voted for the measures that booklet sup- ported and against those it opposed.
He voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Act — an act to enforce equal pay for women. He has worked tirelessly to completely de-fund Planned Parenthood.
He has opposed the Americans with Disabilities Act, minimum wage laws and the Family Leave Act.
And on issues that matter to the gay, lesbian, bi and trans community, he's been a complete disaster. He supports DOMA, state and national constitutional amendments barring same-sex marriage, re-institution of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and a host of other anti-gay measures which he characterizes as "family-friendly" policies.
In fact, Pence's voting record in Congress has been entirely consistent with the positions set out in that long-ago Policy Review document.
In one sense, that's admirable — here's a candidate who has very strong beliefs and who has stuck to them through thick and thin. The whole idea of elections is that we voters get to compare candidates' positions and beliefs and choose between them — and that requires that we know where the candidates really stand. You have to give credit to Rick Santorum whose ideology was very similar to Pence's. He never wavered. Voters may not have liked his positions, but we were under no illusions about what they were.
Unlike Santorum, when most candidates realize that their actual beliefs are unlikely to be embraced by the average voter they do what Pence is doing: they re-invent them- selves. (Zombie? Who, me? I'm just an average Hoosier who sometimes eats brains...)
Mike Pence has never shown the slightest interest in economic development, transportation policy, public administration or the myriad other issues that occupy a governor. His sole passion has been the social issues that divide Americans — and even in the Hoosier heartland most people do not agree with him on those issues. So — voila! — a "softer, gentler" Mike Pence.
Zombies don't die. They hire campaign consultants.