Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana is a prospective 2012 Presidential candidate. In July, he made his first trip to Iowa. He also has scheduled a trip to New Hampshire. He recently won the Values Voter Summit straw poll.
Pence has represented Indiana’s 6th Congressional district since 2000. The district includes most of eastern Indiana, including the cities of Richmond, New Castle, and Muncie.
Like Congressman Paul Ryan (who we have reported on here), Mike Pence presents himself as a traditional free-market conservative.
Also like Representative Ryan of Wisconsin, Pence’s record does not come close to matching his rhetoric. Both Ryan and Pence voted with the Republican Party 94% of the time and largely served as rubber-stamps to the George W. Bush agenda.
Pence on the Free Market
In 2008, Congressman Pence voted for the Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act, the Bush stimulus costing taxpayers $152 billion (sources). In July of 2009, Pence voted for $192 billion in additional federal stimulus spending (source).
The Cato Institute graded Pence at 61% on free trade issues in 2002. Pence was graded a “C” by the Club for Growth in 2004. In 2006, Pence scored (.pdf) just 63 out of 100 on economic issues and 67 of 100 on social issues in the Republican Liberty Caucus “Liberty Index,” which has rated members of Congress on key liberty votes since 1992.
These numbers are hardly indicative of a conservative rockstar, which Pence is portrayed as in the media.
Pence on Social Issues
According to Politico, Congressman Pence is the individual responsible for injecting social issues into the 2010 national Republican Party policy agenda.
In 2006, Pence co-sponsored both the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act and the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, both federal government bans on Internet gambling.
In 2005, he voted for federal intervention in the Terri Schiavo case. He also voted for a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning.
He gave a speech on the the House floor in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment in July, 2004.
Talk about a selective interpretation of the Tenth Amendment!
Pence on Civil Liberties and Foreign Policy
Congressman Pence voted yes on authorizing military force in Iraq (October 2002) but then voted against an exit date for the Iraq War (June 2006). He voted yes on an emergency $78 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (April 2003).
Congressman Pence voted yes on allowing federal government electronic surveillance without a warrant (September 2006), voted against requiring FISA warrants for wiretaps (March 2008), and voted for the REAL ID Act (February 2005). He voted for the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001 and voted to make it permanent in 2005.
In 2005 and 2006, Pence voted for the Military Commissions Act, voted for the Electronic Surveillence Modernization Act, and voted against a resolution to ban inhumane treatment (torture) of detainees held by U.S. forces.
Few, if any, of these policy positions are consistent with the Bill of Rights.
In sum, there isn’t much that Mike Pence has done to advance individual liberty and limited government while in Congress.
His rhetoric does not match his record. Keep that in mind when he runs for President.