But because some critics consider the standards that Pence’s administration wrote insufficiently unlike Common Core’s, he is excoriated as insufficiently hostile to “Obamacore.” But the content of the Common Core standards is beside the point. Even excellent content would not redeem Common Core, because it abets what Pence correctly says will, unless Common Core is stopped, eventually become federal micromanagement of K-12 education. If Hoosiers want different standards, Pence says, they now are forever free to write them.

In 2003, Pence was one of just 19 Republicans to defy the Bush administration’s excruciating pressure to vote for the Medicare Part D, the unfunded prescription-drug entitlement. So, having demonstrated, as with No Child Left Behind, his conservative credentials, he deserved conservatives’ trust when he responded to Obamacare’s push for expansion of traditional Medicaid by negotiating from the Obama administration remarkable concessions that are a template for nationwide Medicaid reform.

The administration reluctantly conceded what Pence calls “the foundation of consumer-driven health care,” the requirement that people make a financial contribution (in Indiana, to a Health Savings Account) and that there be consequences — they are locked out of the system for six months — if they do not.