Mike Pence and Mr. Wrong

On Monday I did a post suggesting that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence should not be overlooked as a 2016 presidential candidate, if only because of his close connection with perhaps the most important factotum in the Koch Brothers empire, Marc Short.

Today Pence got a proto-candidate profile from WaPo’s Philip Rucker that reinforced my positive impressions of Pence’s viability until I got to this sentence:

Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, who has been advising Pence on foreign policy, said Pence’s legislative and executive experience gives him “an unusual niche.”

Now I don’t share the visceral hatred of Kristol felt by Charlie Pierce and many others. But from any perspective, the man is a disaster when it comes to his political analysis and instincts. Unless Pence is listening to him to identify positions he should not take, this is not a real good sign of his own political sense.

I’ve been in politics long enough to understand that just because somebody identifies themselves as an “adviser” to a politician doesn’t mean said pol could identify him or her in a police lineup. But Kristol’s pretty damn conspicuous, and you’d have to figure Pence’s staff would whisper in his ear any time Mr. Wrong got within 100 feet of him: “Here comes trouble!”

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.