The Corner

Pence 2012?

Over the weekend, Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, the chairman of the House Republican Conference, won the presidential straw poll at the Values Voter Summit. Pence’s victory wasn’t much of a surprise. While strolling around the Omni Shoreham hotel, I was struck by how many attendees were enthusiastic about Pence and his future as a national candidate. To many Americans, Pence remains a little-known five-term congressman — one notably left out of the House GOP’s Young Guns project. But on the right, his stock is rising.

For now, Gov. Mitch Daniels is generating the most 2012 buzz inside the Hoosier State. But Pence’s weekend win has brought him, in a more serious way, into the conversation. “Mike Pence got a well-deserved boost . . . he is a solid conservative,” tweeted Newt Gingrich soon after. Pence appears to enjoy the scuttlebutt about his presidential chances and has stoked chatter when he can: He’s visited Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire in recent months.

Still, if Pence is mulling a run, he faces a tough climb. “As history shows, it is extremely difficult to go directly from the House to a presidential nomination — or even to be a major candidate,” says Larry Sabato, the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “Henry Clay, James A. Garfield, and a few others aside, statewide or national office routes have proven much more reliable as president-makers.”

“The TV age hasn’t proven any different,” Sabato continues. “Jack Kemp couldn’t do it, and Dick Gephardt never came especially close either time, despite his theory that the electronic era gave anyone on the stage equal standing. Pence has the better shot, given his strong standing among social conservatives, but he’s got plenty of competition for that vote. He’d be better off running for governor first. Same for Paul Ryan, though he missed his opening this year.”

“But what the heck,” Sabato laughs. “It’s the silly season, where every man’s a king — or president!”

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

Most Popular

Elections

Elizabeth Warren Is Jussie Smollett

Elizabeth Warren has a moving story about being fired from a teaching job because she was pregnant, a story that perfectly complements her political narrative that she is the tribune and champion of those who have been treated unfairly by the powerful. Joe Biden has a moving — and horrifying — story about his ... Read More
PC Culture

Defiant Dave Chappelle

When Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special Sticks & Stones came out in August, the overwhelming response from critics was that it was offensive, unacceptable garbage. Inkoo Kang of Slate declared that Chappelle’s “jokes make you wince.” Garrett Martin, in the online magazine Paste, maintained that the ... Read More
Culture

The Origins of the Transgender Movement

Editor’s Note: This article has been adapted from remarks delivered at a Heritage Foundation summit. I’ve been asked to talk about the origins of transgenderism and how it relates to children and their exploitation. But first, I would like to start with a little story. Yesterday I was wandering around ... Read More
World

Kurdish, Syrian, and Turkish Ironies

Outrage met Donald Trump’s supposedly rash decision to pull back U.S. troops from possible confrontational zones between our Kurdish friends in Syria and Recep Erdogan’s expeditionary forces. Turkey claims that it will punish the Syrian Kurds for a variety of supposed provocations, including aiding and ... Read More
Sports

LeBron James Looks Like a Fraud

So, LeBron James claimed that Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey was simply “misinformed or not really educated on the situation” when he tweeted his support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. “I don’t want to get into a feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at ... Read More