Pence Has A "Bold Vision" For Indiana, But Won't Say What It Is

June 13, 2011 1:24 pm ET — Alan Pyke

Rep. Mike Pence

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), once the point man for every new GOP talking point and a constant presence on cable news, is launching his run for governor of Indiana with a classic bit of political posturing. As the Courier-Journal reported last week, Pence "said he has a 'bold vision' for Indiana," but he's keeping it a secret until after the May 2012 Republican primary:

On the eve of his campaign's official kickoff, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Mike Pence said he has a "bold vision" for Indiana — but he's not ready to say how he proposes to achieve it.

Pence, the state's 6th District U.S. congressman, said he will instead spend the next 11 months traveling the state to gather ideas for creating "an even better Indiana" and will start laying out his agenda after the 2012 primary in May. [...]

Ideas for accomplishing that will be "gleaned from traveling across the state over the next year," he said.

Let's take a moment to applaud Pence's political acumen. A yearlong listening tour is much easier than putting out a real platform and having to defend it, and Pence's prolific talking-head career in Washington should give him a significant name-recognition advantage with primary voters.

After all, that's what national Republicans learned from 2010: You don't need a real plan to win an election when people are this angry about the economy, you just need to steer that anger against your opponents. Pence was at the forefront of this effort last year, ignoring journalists' requests for "a credible economic argument," leveling false accusations against Democrats, and promising Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) on TV that "there will be a Republican agenda" after she called him out for not having one. (Come 2012, he'll probably put out a flowery "Pledge to Indiana" pamphlet with no serious, new or concrete ideas in it.)

Maybe nobody will mind that he's decided to phone in the primary competition with an eye to the general election. Or maybe he looks past the primary at his peril. In an era of relentless video trackers and hard-hitting primary elections, 11 months is an awful long time to keep your "bold vision" a secret from voters.

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