- The Washington Times - Monday, October 3, 2016

One thing is for sure. Donald Trump has a running mate with impeccable conservative credentials. In fact, Gov. Mike Pence has the best conservative credentials in 50 years according to the American Conservative Union, which ought to know. “Mike Pence is the most conservative vice presidential nominee the country has seen in 50 years,” the organization said after reviewing Mr. Pence’s legislative and voting patterns, declaring him to be “99 percent alignment” with their tenets.

The conservative group annually reviews the records of federal and state elected officials on a scale of zero to 99 points, assigning them an “ACU rating” based on support for bedrock conservative issues. A certain Democratic rival is at the opposite end of the ideological spectrum, however.

“The single most liberal vice-presidential nominee in our lifetime is Tim Kaine, the only nominee with a perfect 0 percent lifetime rating,” the organization said, adding that the rating “puts him to the left” of then-Sens. Barack Obama who had a 10 percent rating, and Hillary Clinton (8 percent); Sen. Bernie Sanders has a 6 percent rating.

In the meantime, the press is painting Mr. Pence as a kind of conservative booster shot for Donald Trump‘s campaign. Mr. Pence’s critical role is as “Trump’s emissary to evangelicals,” suggested The Associated Press. The Hill bills Mr. Pence as a “jump-start” for his running mate while Politico offers starker terms: “Hill Republicans bet it all on Pence.”

David Kochel, a strategist for former presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, advises Mr. Pence to take a risk, and perhaps be in touch with his inner Trump.

“I predict a steady, if boring, vice presidential debate performance that will be the focus of one full news cycle — probably right up to the moment Mr. Trump next tweets, after which attention will shift back to the main event between him and Mrs. Clinton. All of that is what Mr. Pence is likely to do. But what should he do? My advice in two words: Go rogue. Instead of offering explanations for Donald Trump, he should adopt Mr. Trump’s penchant for speaking his mind and being authentic,” Mr. Kochel wrote in the Wall Street Journal.


“Who cares about vice presidents, right? All they do is attend foreign funerals that don’t involve Israelis or Saudis. But wait. This time it’s different. And it could change our imminent history,” writes Andrew Malcolm, a McClatchey political columnist.

“Americans are about to elect the oldest person to ever become president — Donald Trump is 70 — or the second oldest — Hillary Clinton turns 69 this month and collapsed on national TV last month. Based on actuarial tables, there seems a pretty good chance that one of these vice presidential partners could become commander in chief at some point in the next four or eight years,” Mr. Malcolm notes.


“VP Jubilee”

— A seven-hour public party on the main mall of the Longwood University, host site for the aforementioned vice presidential debate. The bodacious event in Farmville, Virginia includes a barbecue, beer garden, five live music acts, political lectures and role playing, a trivia contest, an outdoor debate watch party and a post-debate breakfast with music.

“The eyes of the world will be on Longwood University,” the campus advises.


“It turns out that traveling the globe on Air Force One can do wonders for your tourism bucket list,” writes New York Times columnist Michael D. Shear, reflecting on the many picturesque spots President Obama has visited while in office.

And to his credit, Mr. Shear does mention that according to Judicial Watch records, the president’s travels aboard the magnificent but pricey aircraft have now cost taxpayers $80 million.


Many of us may like the idea of a third party, but that may not translate into much come election day. A new Gallup poll finds that 57 percent of Americans say a third political party “is needed”; that includes 51 percent of Republicans, 73 percent of independents and 43 percent of Democrats. But there’s a catch.

“Only about one in 10 voters currently saying they will vote for a third-party candidate, Americans’ appetite for a third party may not be as great as they say it is,” reports Gallup analyst Justin McCarthy.


The vice presidential debate gets some top drawer coverage from Fox News, which will feature 18 hours of live coverage from Longwood University on Tuesday night. Things get underway pretty early at the network, however. First up at 6 a.m. ET is “special report” with anchor Bret Baier, who will also co-anchor the network’s coverage of the match with Megyn Kelly at 9 p.m. Sean Hannity ends the night with a two-hour edition at midnight. Bill O’Reilly will report from New York City, Brit Hume from the nation’s capital.

Fox Business Network also broadcasts from the Virginia campus beginning at noon with “Coast to Coast” anchored by Neil Cavuto, a special edition of “Lou Dobbs Tonight” — then it’s back to Mr. Cavuto, who remains on the job until 1 a.m.

Coverage on C-SPAN, incidentally, begins at 7:30 p.m.


57 percent of Americans say churches and religious groups have “a positive effect on the way things are going in this country”; 73 percent of Republicans and 49 percent of Democrats agree.

57 percent overall say colleges and universities have a positive effect; 43 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of Democrats agree.

43 percent overall say labor unions have a positive effect; 27 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of Democrats agree.

34 percent overall say banks have a positive effect; 39 percent of Republicans and 32 percent of Democrats agree.

28 percent overall say large corporations have a positive effect; 34 percent of Republicans and 26 percent of Democrats agree.

22 percent overall say the national news media has a positive effect; 9 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,201 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 23 to Sept. 2 and released Friday.

Nervous chatter, happy talk to jharper@washingtontimes.com

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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