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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Commentary: Pence unimpressive, offers nothing of value

Vice+President+Pence+gave+a+passionate+speech+about+what+he+feels+are+important+values+for+young+Americans+during+his+visit+to+Texas+A%26amp%3BM+on+Thursday%2C+Nov.+11.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Vice President Pence gave a passionate speech about what he feels are important values for young Americans during his visit to Texas A&M on Thursday, Nov. 11. 

Former Vice President Mike Pence spoke in Aggieland on Thursday, serving up a big nothing burger with a side of lies. 

In response to a question from the audience regarding Candace Owens asking to be former President Donald Trump’s running mate for reelection in 2024, Pence said, “Without commenting on the question, I love Candace Owens.” 

“Without commenting on the question,” is the perfect phrase to describe Pence’s speech during the Nov. 11 Young Americans for Freedom event. Pence went through over an hour of speaking without substantively commenting on most of the major questions of today’s issues. He spoke at length on his upbringing and personal life, accurately describing his own early radio days as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf.” His deep love of Ronald Reagan was also a focal point of the event. He mentioned Reagan and the “Reagan Revolution” about a half dozen times. One thing is certain, Pence and his vision for America is stuck in the Reagan administration, 40 years in the past. 

Pence was asked why, like every modern Republican administration, Trump and Pence had increased the deficit despite campaigning explicitly against it. Pence circled the issue, never actually answering, only to conclude by commending the audience member for raising the question. 

Pence’s wooden performance mostly just makes one wish he were a real boy. Though unlike Pinocchio, Pence’s nose does not seem to grow each time he tells a lie. Pence claimed “99%” of asylum seekers did not attend their court dates. Maybe he was just confused considering a whopping 99% of families do attend their initial court dates when accompanied by an attorney. Though even without an attorney present, attendance is still over 80%. Among Pence’s other spurious claims were that the Trump-Pence administration’s immigration policies had reduced immigration by “90%.” Who’s to say where he pulled that figure from? 

While Pence may not blush at cartoonishly misrepresenting asylum seekers, if you ask him how to get a girlfriend in college, as one audience member did, he’ll turn beet red before telling you, “Go sit down; you don’t have a problem.”

Onstage, Pence awkwardly referenced Trump, calling him “one of a kind” and compared him to Reagan, saying he had achieved things that Republicans had only been dreaming about for “40 years.” It was a perfect demonstration of their one-sided relationship — recently the former president defended the rioters who threatened Pence’s life in a released interview segment. Trump said it was “common sense” for Jan. 6 rioters to want to “hang Mike Pence.” 

On the current administration, Pence made the claim that Biden was trying to turn America into a “European welfare state,” as if being happier and healthier were a bad thing. (Though for Pence this may be true, seeing as decreasing America’s life expectancy seemed to be a policy the Trump administration took from the Reagan playbook.) 

From beginning to end, Pence’s speech was marked with the repetition of meaningless phrases like “Only in America” or “big government socialism” or “the foundation of America is freedom, but the foundation of freedom is faith.” 

The former vice president avoided accountability, and in place of real solutions offered platitudes and buzzword-stuffed sentences like “yours must be the generation that chooses freedom” and “reject cancel culture and wokeism.”

Calling his audience “the freedom generation,” Pence stated that we need to “put parents back in charge of education in America.” More on book-learning, Pence urged his audience to not read books about the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution, and instead read the documents themselves.

And of course, it wouldn’t be a conservative rally in 2021 without a condemnation of critical race theory. Pence criticized Biden for dissolving the 1776 Commission, saying “children as young as kindergarten” are being taught to be ashamed of their skin color, amounting to “state sanctioned racism.” Pence, of course, did not give any examples highlighting his concerns or giving us any indication for why we should believe that what he’s describing is real. 

Pence’s points were often meaningless, if not contradictory. Frankly, we should expect better. The statesman who speaks but says nothing is a cliché older than our republic. America is tired of empty rhetoric, lies and scapegoats. America is tired of Mike Pence. 

Zachary Freeman is an anthropology senior and opinion columnist for The Battalion.
 

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