Pence: Make up mind about 2016

Vincennes Sun-Commercial

We got a nice little note from the governor the other day, asking us for our help.

The last time a governor contacted us for help he was needing to replace a certain T-shirt that he had misplaced somewhere or other around the Statehouse. We called on our fellow Verne Society members and got that mission accomplished in time for dinner.

This latest gubernatorial request for help, though, had nothing to do with clothing, at least not directly.

The governor was asking us to help him fund his campaign (or campaigns, as the case may be), and since looking the part is important in this telegenic age no doubt some of our money, had we the money and an inclination to contribute it to his efforts, might ultimately have been spent on clothing, perhaps even T-shirts, though probably not T-shirts proclaiming his membership in the Verne Society.

As this session of the General Assembly begins, the governor is positioning himself for a potential run for the Republican Party nomination for president in 2016, which is also when he would be seeking re-election to office here in Indiana.

That the governor has White House aspirations is no secret; his return to Indiana and run for governor was designed to add administrative experience to his resume.

We don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. A president should have administrative experience — along with legislative experience, campaign experience, and most importantly life experiences, to prove that he hasn’t spent his years inside a cocoon and can relate in some meaningful way to how the rest of us live.

There’s talk in the Legislature of passing a law this session to allow the governor to run in 2016 both for re-nomination to his post here in Indiana and, simultaneously, for the GOP nomination for president, and should he prove successful in those endeavors to seek both offices at once in November.

That would sort of make being re-elected governor of Indiana a consolation prize, and that makes us uncomfortable, as it should trouble all Hoosiers.

There would be practical problems with him seeking both offices at the same time.

It’s hard enough running for a statewide office, as the governor well knows, having won in 2012 with the narrowest margin of victory in over 50 years, dating back to Vincennes’ own Matthew E. Welsh’s 23,000-vote win in 1960.

Running for president is a full-time job — it’s more than a full-time job, really, as a presidential candidate must be all-consumed with the process to succeed.

We’re not sure how any candidate could divide his attention between separate campaigns.

And, there’s the matter of who would be running the state while the governor was off campaigning on two fronts. Who would be in charge, accountable for what’s being done or not done, as the case may be?

We have nothing against the governor seeking his party’s presidential nomination; from what we’ve seen of those from both parties who may be taking the plunge, the country could do worse than have Mike Pence in the White House. A lot worse.

But we believe he should make up his mind, one way or the other, on which office he intends to seek, either re-election as governor of Indiana, or election as president of the United States.

Hoosiers deserve a candidate whose top priority is their state, whose loyalty isn’t divided, whose focus is here at home, who cares more about the Wabash than the Potomac.

Above all, Hoosiers deserve a governor who wants to be governor of Indiana, which is ambition enough for us.

This was distributed by Hoosier State Press Association. Send comments to awoods@tribtown.com.