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hey, hoosier boy, i have some questions

don't get a mental image
since donald trump rather confusedly canceled his press conference to announce indiana governor a list of questions that should be asked of [since confirmed] candidate hillary clinton. i anticipated then that none of them would be asked, and thus far that's proven true. herein lies the problem when you have a candidate like trump in the race: other candidates never get the scrutiny they richly deserve and important issues fall by the wayside.
mike pence as his running mate and then blurted it out on twitter when he realised that pence had to officially withdraw from the gubernatorial race today at noon anyway, and since they've already debuted their campaign imagery and vaguely buttseksy logo, i figured it was as good a time as any to put some questions out there. a few months ago, i came up with

i don't have much confidence that anyone will ask any of these questions of governor pence, but i would say it's just a hair more likely that we might hear some of them crop up at some time. still not holding my breath.

1. you have a long history of opposing rights for the lgbtq community, such as your statement in 2000 that the u.s. congress should resist any effort to extend the protection of anti-discrimination laws to gays and lesbians, your 2009 opposition to the matthew sheppard hate crimes act, your support for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and your state legislation that would have allowed business to refuse service to people on the basis of sexual orientation. however, the majority of americans support equal rights, including the right of same sex couples to marry. do you plan to use your position as vice president to lobby for changes in existing laws or to the constitution in line with the views you have stated? if so, why would you choose to do so, given that it would conflict with the views of the american public?

2. in your time as governor, indiana has seen the poorest growth of any state in the midwest and, while you have lowered unemployment to 5% and have a very healthy workforce participation rate [65%], much of that has been driven by lower-paying jobs. as a result, the steady decline in wages in indiana [which started well before your term as governor] has continued to increase, with workers in the state expected to earn only 86% of what the average american earns per year. what case do you make to the american people that they should trust you to take a major role in running the national economy?

3. related to question #2, your running mate donald trump has said that he believes national employment figures are deeply misleading, because they do not take into account issues like underemployment or the number of people who have given up on finding work [and therefore are not counted in the official numbers]. what is your response to the accusation that indiana's low unemployment rate benefits from this same sort of "trickery"? have you discussed this issue with mr. trump?

4. when mr. trump proposed a ban on all muslims entering the country, you described it as "offensive" and "unconstitutional". however, you have taken action to stop refugees fleeing the civil war in syria from being allowed to settle in indiana. does this mean that you have changed your position on the temporary ban on muslims entering the country? if yes, what was it that made you change your mind, both in terms of its being acceptable and its being constitutional? if not, what is the plan for you and mr. trump- who still strongly supports the ban- to address this issue?

5. likewise, you have supported the trans-pacific partnership [tpp] trade deal, while mr. trump has said that it represents "a continuing rape of our country", especially in states like indiana which have seen a sharp decline in their manufacturing sectors? have you changed your mind about this or any of the other trade deals you supported during your time as governor and in congress? same follow-up questions as above.

6. mr. trump has repeatedly emphasized that he never supported the 2003 invasion of iraq, while secretary of state hillary clinton did. you also supported the invasion and voted in favour of the resolution that authorized it while you were in congress. how do you respond to mr. trump's assertions that the invasion was one of the greatest errors in modern american history?

7. you have supported a number of laws that have increased the penalties for minor drug offenses, including one that you implemented as governor that requires a mandatory minimum sentence for relatively minor offenses [second or third arrests for simple possession rather than possession with intent to sell]. given that there is a significant body of evidence that mass incarceration does not alleviate the issue of drug-related crime, that it tends to create long-term problems within already disadvantaged communities and that the laws are unequally applied between whites and non-whites, why do you support these sorts of measures and what evidence are you relying on in order to justify your decisions? will you push for similar laws to be enacted federally?

these are hardly the only questions that governor pence should face, but i think that they're fair ones. after all, he should be evaluated on the basis of his record, as all politicians should. it's time to cut through the sound bites and campaign crap and give people some real answers about the people they'll be voting for [or not] in the fall. so get off your collective butts, you people in the media. it's time to show the people why you deserve their attention.


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