Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

November 2, 2012

An unprecedented Pro life power alignment with Pence

(Continued)

The push of the evangelical wing of the party began routinely enough with a passing of the House torch in 2002 when Mannweiler retired from the legislature, giving way to Bosma, who became Speaker for the first time in 2004 for two years and again in 2010. In 2004, Brent Waltz upset Borst in the Republican primary, and in 2006, Greg Walker stunned Garton, again in a Republican primary.

The irony is that Pence adhered to Daniels' call for a social issue "truce" during most of the 2012 campaign cycle. While he talked about Indiana's economic and "moral" challenges at both his campaign kickoff in June 2011 and a year later at the Indiana Republican Convention, he has observed a relative silence on almost all social issues.

The Pence campaign has tended to lock the candidate down. As I sought an interview that never happened last July, spokeswoman Christy Denault said at one point that the campaign was determining which reporters "were on our side." The Pence media availabilities dwindled from early summer when he began his policy rollout to just a few during the autumnal homestretch.

Faced with the potential super majorities, the early calculation of Team Pence seems to be: we don't need the press. What the press needed was for Pence to put this balance into context.

The Pence silence on moral issues is a departure from his years in Congress, when he politely disagreed with Daniels' truce. On Jan. 24, 2011, when both Pence and Daniels were flirting with a 2012 presidential run, Pence said at the March for Life, "We will keep gathering until Roe v. Wade is sent to the ash heap of history where it belongs. We must not remain silent when great moral battles are being waged."

With the Pence campaign of today, there is growing speculation that his emphasis on jobs and education will eventually give way to the social issues that have been a significant part of his congressional career.

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