Here we go: Pence might quit GOP leadership to run for president

posted at 6:16 pm on October 26, 2010 by Allahpundit

Just a reminder: Primary season begins next Wednesday.

House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) is considering stepping down from his post in the GOP leadership in preparation for a possible bid for president or governor in 2012.

Pence, a darling of the conservative movement, would leave the leadership job with a blunt explanation to colleagues that he can’t commit to a two-year term in House leadership, a source familiar with his deliberations told POLITICO Tuesday.

Pence believes it would be inappropriate to stay at the GOP conference post – the no. 3 spot in the House Republican hierarchy – unless he could stay through 2012, the source said. Pence also believes that he can be a more effective conservative voice if he is free of the responsibilities that he would have in leadership of a House Republican majority…

Still, Pence faces hurdles in any endeavor — statewide or nationwide. Should he dip his toe in the presidential waters, he’d face questions about his fiscal conservatism. Although he staked out ground as a fiscal hawk over the past few years, he took earmarks until 2008. Furthermore, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is another strong contender in the 2012 presidential race, in which case Pence would be under pressure not to get in.

Why would Pence be under pressure not to get in if Daniels declares? Yeah, they’re both Hoosiers, but so what? Pence is better known than Daniels and is beloved by social conservatives (he beat Huckabee in the Values Voter Summit straw poll, remember) whereas Daniels has to drag around the baggage from his infamous bon mot about calling a truce on social issues. Granted, he doesn’t have Team Bush backing him the way Daniels does, but again, so what? In an age where “establishment Republican” has become a dirty phrase, Bush’s connections aren’t a pure asset for Daniels by any means. Especially if he wins the nomination: Imagine what Obama and Plouffe and Axelrod will do in the campaign with Daniels’s Bush pedigree.

The question is, will Pence run if Palin and/or Huckabee get in? He can try to position himself to Huck’s right on taxes and immigration, but he and Palin would end up fighting over the same fiscal con/social con grassroots constituency, no? And she’s got way, waaay higher name recognition than he does. If neither of them run, then Pence actually could be well positioned for an upset in Iowa. Remember, Huck won there in 2008 on the strength of the social con vote; Pence would clean up among that group if his chief rivals are Romney and Daniels. Expect lots and lots and lots of visits to Iowa starting … last July, actually. Here’s his speech at the Values Voters Summit, in case you missed it. The crowd loved every minute.

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And what sort of chief executive experience does Pence have? None! Keep him in Congress where his legislative leadership skills can be best used. Or let him run for Gov. so he can get some chief exec experience at the state level first.

Kirin on October 26, 2010 at 10:00 PM

If he does leave…I nominate Michelle Bachmann to move up in the ranks.

hawkman on October 26, 2010 at 11:00 PM

Is this Indiana political history repeating itself as in the case of RINO Lugar and Dan Quayle? In my opinion, Lugar was never a serious candidate for Pres but he managed to keep Quayle out of the Pres race by simply being in it and that was the objective. I hope Pence knows his political history because those RINOs sure are clever and I think he is about to get the Quayle treatment – But I am also open to the possibility that this is “payback clever” and Pence is getting in to try and keep Daniels out – now that would be brilliant and certainly deserving of a veep nod.
Those clever RINOs gave us McCain, Dole and two Bushes. I’ve been holding my nose and voting for these RINOs for a very long time, but no more. If Palin runs, she’ll be my choice and Pence would make a good veep.

Done That on October 27, 2010 at 5:48 AM

If he does leave…I nominate Michelle Bachmann to move up in the ranks.

hawkman on October 26, 2010 at 11:00 PM


TheAlamos on October 27, 2010 at 7:02 AM