- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 5, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Republican Mike Pence hit a high note in the vice presidential debate — and threw Democrat Tim Kaine off-balance — when he reframed the left’s argument on police brutality into a stunning defense of law enforcement, and then blamed progressives for stirring up racial tensions.

“You know, my uncle was a cop, a career cop, on the beat in downtown Chicago,” Mr. Pence said. “He was my hero when I was growing up. And we’d go up to visit my dad’s family in Chicago. My three brothers and I would marvel at my uncle when he would come out in his uniform, sidearm at his side. Police officers are the best of us. And the men and women, white, African-American, Asian, Latino, Hispanic, they put their lives on the line every single day.”

Mr. Pence further disarmed Mr. Kaine by saying he agreed with Mr. Kaine’s assessment that community policing was a way to improve racial relations within the country.

“At the risk of agreeing with you, community policing is a great idea,” Mr. Pence said. “It’s worked in the Hoosier State. And we fully support that.”

It was a refreshing area of compromise — of agreement on an issue where the country needs to come together. Mr. Pence highlighted Donald Trump’s endorsement by the Fraternal Order of Police, and stressed the need to give law-enforcement the tools they need to restore law and order.

Then he flipped the script on the left’s “implicit bias” argument.

“But they [law enforcement] also — they also hear the badmouthing, the badmouthing that comes from people that seize upon tragedy in the wake of police action shootings as — as a reason to — to use a broad brush to accuse law enforcement of — of implicit bias or institutional racism. And that really has got to stop,” Mr. Pence said firmly.

He then rebuked Mrs. Clinton’s claim that implicit bias affects everyone, and accused the Clinton campaign for politicizing the issue to score points with the minority community.

“I think what we ought to do is stop seizing on these moments of tragedy,” Mr. Pence said, referring to the fatal Charlotte, North Carolina, shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by a black officer, Bradley Vincent, as an example where racism didn’t come into play. “Senator please, enough of this seeking every opportunity to demean law enforcement broadly by making the accusation of bias every time tragedy occurs.”

Mr. Kaine, on the defensive, retorted: “People shouldn’t be afraid to bring up issues of bias in law enforcement. I can’t believe you are defending the position that there is no bias in policing.”

Except Mr. Pence never said that. He was just using his platform to offer a defense of law enforcement — a perspective that’s often left out of the debate, or belittled, when the mainstream media turns its attention to explaining why racial relations are at their worst in nearly a generation.

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