Pence’s “Economic Development” Trip to Israel

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has appropriated one piece of mythology to promote another. In taking an “economic development” trip to Israel, he is of course relying on the bogus but remarkably well-accepted idea (particularly but not exclusively among Republicans) that governors “create” economic development via personal smokestack-chasing and corporate toadying near and far. And he’s using the “economic development” rationale for the trip to thinly veil its real purpose: checking an important box–especially for a governor with limited foreign policy credentials–in anticipation of a possible presidential run.

According to CNN’s Alexandra Jaffe, Pence is implicitly acknowledging the “economic development” shuck by letting the conservative evangelical group Christians United for Israel pay for two thirds of the nine days he’s spending there. And you get the sense Israeli officials are having to juggle their schedules to accommodate the rush of potential GOP presidential candidate getting their Holy Land visa stamped:

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, another Republican who has left the door open to 2016, visited Israel this weekend, physician Ben Carson was there last week and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, also contemplating a run, is planning another trip there in February.

Yeah, GOP pols may need their own transit lounge at Ben Gurian Airport.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.