The Right Call for Pence

by John Hood

I met Mike Pence two decades ago at a gathering of state think-tank leaders. Back then, he worked with the Indiana Policy Review Foundation. Talk-radio fame and Congress were still in his future. Still, it was obvious to his fellow activists that Pence would be playing a key role in the national conservative movement. He has, and will.

His announcement today that he wouldn’t be seeking the GOP presidential nomination also seemed to be a quasi-announcement of his intention to run for governor of Indiana in 2012. I’m not sure Hoosiers could do any better than Pence as a worthy successor to Mitch Daniels. Given what I also considered the long odds against Pence winning the presidential contest, I think he has made the right call. As Daniels, Chris Christie, and others are in the midst of demonstrating, the post of governor is an excellent place to showcase the promise and importance of conservative governance — and to hone the leadership and management skills that future chief executives need to be effective.

Almost all of my favorite presidents were once governors: Polk, Jackson (appointed), Cleveland, Coolidge, Reagan. There’s still plenty of time for Pence to join that list…

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