In the immediate wake of Donald Trump choosing Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) as his running mate, the consensus that quickly congealed among the political commentariat was that Trump had finally done something boring and conventional. Hashtag sad!
Well. First of all, political reporters should probably not always be asking politicians to provide them with entertainment ― that whole “May you live in interesting times” thing is supposed to be a curse, remember?
But more importantly, a Trump-Pence pairing could actually be quite exciting, because it turns out that the two men, in terms of policy, have some pretty big disagreements. We’re talking about core differences, with the governor’s record diverging from what Trump has verbalized in the past year in numerous, non-trivial ways.
That’s not to say there was an easier choice Trump could have made. If he was looking for a sturdy, establishment type to serve as a helpmate, it was inevitable that he’d end up paired with someone who didn’t share a lot of his views. But Pence is still an odd pick, all things considered. Chris Christie’s rambunctious sycophancy might have smoothed over any of the differences he and Trump had during the primaries. And while Newt Gingrich’s positions sometimes clashed with Trump’s, the former speaker’s penchant for silver-tongued glibness might have helped him artfully flip-flop around those deviations.
It makes you wonder ― was Trump even aware of Pence’s policy preferences as he staged his low-key “Apprentice” act to determine his campaign partner? According to CNN’s Dana Bash, maybe not:
Hoo, boy! Well, they’re stuck with each other now. On this week’s First To Last, we’ll run down the top policy arguments these new awkward bedfellows are going to have to hash out in the next few days.
CORRECTION: This piece originally stated Pence agreed to expand Medicare instead of Medicaid.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump