Pence doesn’t deserve another platform

PENCE DOESN’T DESERVE ANOTHER PLATFORM…. House Republican Caucus Chairman Mike Pence of Indiana appeared on MSNBC the other day, and commented on his vision for health care reform.

“Republicans believe that in addition to tort reform what we should allow Americans to do is to purchase health insurance the way members of Congress can, the way all federal employees can and that is to buy health insurance across state lines to get out there and allow new insurance products to be created in a new competitive marketplace … even the private insurance elements in the Exchanges, you know, are essentially government controlled and government dictated.”

This is completely wrong. It reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of how the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program operates, and how exchanges work. What’s more, it’s keeping with the recent trend — last month, Pence appeared on MSNBC on a Wednesday, made ridiculous and demonstrably-false claims about reform, and was invited back on Thursday to repeat the exact same demonstrably-false claims.

In other words, we learned this week that Pence is not only confused about the basics, he doesn’t even understand his own health insurance plan. Matt Yglesias noted the other day, “Pence doesn’t sit on any of the committees relevant to health care or to federal personnel management, which perhaps explains why he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. At the same time, that only raises the question of why he’s talking about this on television at all.”

And that’s why I brought this up: Pence will be a featured guest on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” tomorrow.

Why on earth would ABC reward Pence with another appearance? If he doesn’t understand the policy, doesn’t have a role in shaping the policy, can’t explain his opposition to the policy, and is going to reject the policy anyway, what possible value is there in having him on to discuss it?

Every time I see Pence, I’m reminded of something Matt wrote earlier this year: “Mike Pence is a moron, and any movement that would hold the guy up as a hero is bankrupt…. I would refer you to this post from September about the earth-shattering ignorance and stupidity of Mike Pence…. [I]t’s really staggering. In my admittedly brief experience talking to him, his inability to grasp the basic contours of policy question was obvious and overwhelming.”

There are conservatives who can talk about health care intelligently. Pence isn’t one of them. Inviting him onto national television to repeat nonsense he doesn’t understand is absurd.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.