Indiana Governor Mike Pence -- who, if the recent report by the New York Times is accurate, will actually be the president while Trump is off "making America great again" -- was set to deliver what GOP insiders characterized as a "high-stakes speech" at the Republican National Convention Wednesday.
People within Trump's camp were (very correctly, as it turned out) concerned that Texas Senator Ted Cruz wouldn't be enthusiastic enough in his declaration of the candidate's conservative credentials, leaving it up to Pence -- whose record on issues near and dear to the conservative cause is sparkling -- to prop up the man who would be, nominally at least, the president.
Pence began by thanking House Speaker Paul Ryan for his brief introduction, before repeating his tagline that "I'm a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican -- in that order." After cycling through a number of other conservative platitudes -- praising his mother, his wife, and claiming that the most important job he'll ever have is spelled "D-A-D" -- he insisted that he and Trump will win because of the united party he sees before him, a party so united a senator's wife reportedly had to be escorted off the premises by security:
As is the wont of most of the convention's speakers to date, Pence opted to emphasize not who Donald Trump is and what he could accomplish, but to attack Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, attacking Obamacare and promising "common sense conservative leadership" of the sort he has displayed in Indiana. He did, however, praise Trump for "not tip-toeing around the thousand of new rules of political correctness" and being "the genuine article," but it was praise without substance.
"Donald Trump has never turned his back on those that make this country grow," he said, "and he'll never turn his back on the men and women who protect us at home and abroad." Pence also praised Trump's "utter lack of pretense" and "intense respect for those who work for him."
"When Donald Trump becomes president of the United States of America," Pence added, "the change will 'yuuuuuge,'" especially when it comes to who will be the next justices sitting on the Supreme Court.