Rutter: What was Indiana's excuse for electing Pence?

When Le Donald extended his itty-bitty management fingers to tap Gov. Mike Pence as presumed partner in political war crimes, we knew we'd have to watch the Republican National Convention on LeTube.

Normally, you'd take a wide highway detour around the Hot Mess in Cleveland. No use getting your tires all greasy.

But it was no longer Must-Not-Watch TV if you had something better to do, like counting lightning bugs in your back yard at night. We are compelled and drawn by potentially lurid disasters. In this case, it's a careening gaggle of D-listers as they steer their Winnebago toward the Jerry Springer studio.

Welcome to the freak show.

We watch the Wallendas for the same reason.

I've always had a fondness for freak shows and human carnival oddities: Two-headed bearded women, mutant contortionists, conservative Republicans.

Think of it. The convention was so packed with mutants, middle age skinheads and albino chicken hawks, it was too repugnant for Sarah Palin and failed footballing evangelist Tim Tebow to attend.

Too crazy for Palin and Tebow. Let those words sink in.

I have high aspirations for the quadrennial weirdness. The campaign could become Ray Bradbury's malevolent carnival of the damned in "Something Wicked this Way Comes." Meet spiritual keynoter Joel Osteen as Mister Dark.

Normally, the thought of Indiana ridding itself of Pence would be celebrated. The Munchkins cheered when Dorothy's house landed on the Wicked Witch of the East.

But the transactional price for Indiana's rescue is higher than just replacing Pence. What if Trump wins? Then 319 million Americans get a dose of Pence's malignant misery.

If Pence fades into Indiana's history, an entire state feel safe enough to reexamine how awful he has been as governor.

On the other hand, he repeatedly and insistently advised Hoosiers of his regressive genes, and they elected him anyhow. Pence never hid his crazy. He proclaimed it.

He told everyone in advance that smoking cigarettes did not cause cancer, how coal is a clean fossil fuel, that evolution and climate change are hoaxes that must be fought, and why Americans don't want government to keep the water and air clean.

Four years of Pence tax dogma have been hard on almost everyone in Indiana, except bankers and business.

The rest of you? Yes, it's been as stinky as you thought.

He is saved from national disgrace only because of 15 or so other governors inflicting ethical and fiscal harm on their states. Pence was no crook, as far as we know, but he was abysmally inept, as zealots often are.

Any nation that allows Rick Scott (Florida), Paul LePage (Maine), Sam Brownback (Kansas) and Robert Bentley (Alabama) out in public without their meds and psycho-shackles can't quibble about Pence.

Indiana's emotional balance is wobbly partly because Hoosiers have been pitched a load of silliness and told to believe it, as if it were true.

This all started with the "religious protection" law that Pence insisted was not a way to beat up gay people (it was), that he'd never change it (he did) or that the entire state minus the outright bigots were not humiliated nationally (even Hoosier Republicans were embarrassed).

Pence also insisted he propelled a prosperity revolution. Luckily Indiana's farmers grow enough corn to keep the state from starving.

But Pence's Indiana's economy is a mess that has advanced less than any other state in the Midwest, and barely a third as fast as Illinois did in 2014.

Forty-five states are expanding wealth faster than Indiana. Only Alaska, Mississippi, Virginia and Maine had slower-expanding wallets last year.

What LeDonald's handpicked sidekick calls prosperity, everyone else would view as a borderline recession. Trump actually calls this "innocent hyperbole" when he does it.

Pence spokesfolks have insisted for four years that your trickle-down income is not the only indicator of your income. Consider the money you don't spend because you don't have it. That's sort of income. Yes. They actually say that.

You made an average of $38,200 last year. The rest of the country made $44,500. You made 86 cents for every dollar other Americans earned. It's $5,000 a year less than you made than in 2007.

The gap is not narrowing. That's not only Pence's fault, of course, but he only pretended he fixed it. He demands you accept circus geek illusions as truth.

You are not poor by accident. Your poverty is the plan.

Sure, it's crazy nonsense. But he told you he was crazy. You voted for him anyway.

So what's your excuse?

photo Rutter: What was Indiana's excuse for electing Pence? images

photo of Rutter: What was Indiana's excuse for electing Pence?

Relax Rutter: What was Indiana's excuse for electing Pence? stories

Shout Out: Linda Lucchese of Park Ridge, delegate to Donald Trump

Linda Lucchese of Park Ridge attended the Republican National Convention in Cleveland as an Illinois delegate to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump . This was the first presidential convention for Lucchese, a 36-year resident of Park Ridge and former owner of Linda's Loft, a dance

More stories

Recent Post