Pence Speech from 2000 RNC: A Delicious Gem of Incoherence

Just googling around the internet looking up Mike Pence, and whoa, howdy, what’d I find? This delicious nugget of bad spelling, bad punctuation, and please-elect-me-please-okay?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I bring you Mike Pence’s one-minute speech from the 2000 Republican National Convention as preserved on his own Congressional Campaign website:

I am Mike Pence, and I am running for Congress form the great state of Indiana.

Our nation is in need of renewal as never before. We must renew the American dream, and I believe we can.

We can renew the American dream by lifting the burden of taxes off family’s, small businesses and family farms so they can once again dream and build a better life for their children and grandchildren.

We can renew the American dream by rebuilding the military after years of reckless Clinton/Gore cutbacks, rekindling the fires of men, matriel, and morale that warm the warriors who stand on liberty’s ramparts protecting out family’s.

Why am I running for Congress? To renew the dream of a strong and good America.

I am from Indiana, and I am Mike Pence.

Let’s ignore that Mr. Pence was form the great state of Indiana. I mean, who cares about spelling, right? Let’s launch right into the heady idea that small businesses and family farms can dream.

Per Mr. Pence, they can:  We can renew the American dream by lifting the burden of taxes off family’s, small businesses and family farms so they can once again dream . . . 

I don’t think businesses and farms can dream. But, at least in 2000, Mr. Pence did. Not only that, he believed they could build things and (wait for it) have grandchildren. Here, read it again:

We can renew the American dream by lifting the burden of taxes off family’s, small businesses and family farms so they can once again dream and build a better life for their children and grandchildren.

Punctuation and antecedents, are so very important. If Mr. Pence had wanted to reference the families in view here, he could have said it this way: ” . . . by lifting the burden off small businesses and family farms so moms and dads could once again . . . ” But he didn’t.

He had one minute. He used that minute to introduce himself, talk about farms having grandbabies, and then, before re-introducing himself at the end, he complains about the Clinton Administration’s military cutbacks.

He doesn’t bother to note that the reason military spending was down in the Nineties was that (drumroll) the Soviet Union had collapsed and the Cold War was over.

But then we get to some really bizarre speech-writing:

“We can renew the American dream . . . by . . . rekindling the fires of men, matriel, and morale that warm the warriors who stand on liberty’s ramparts protecting out family’s.”

Rekindling the fires of men? What does that even mean? It means nothing.

Rekindling the fires of matriel? He means materiel, but rekindling their fires? Really? You want to blow up the arsenals? Shoot off the nukes?

And finally, rekindling the fires of morale. Fiery morale. That is definitely what we need. Actually, I’m truly grateful he used the word fires rather than the singular fire, which would have had all these men, matriel, and morale all in one big alliterative conflagration, full (no doubt) of flaming ferocity and furious force.

(Parenthetically, I seriously hate alliteration for alliteration’s sake. It smacks of Sunday Sermons where you know the speaker labored more over the “life, love, learning” than he did over his own piety.)

Clearly, rekindling was what was needed in 2000, to warm the warriors who stand on liberty’s ramparts protecting out family’s.”  Again with the alliteration. Warm Warriors. Standing on the Ramparts Protecting Out Family’s.

We wish he had protected out families. He didn’t and doesn’t. He means, rather than says, “our families,” which, in PenceLand specifically excludes out families.

To be clear, this is a terrible little speech given by a man hoping to win his first term in Congress. It alerts us to the fact that 16 years ago Mr. Pence couldn’t spell for squat and didn’t know the USSR had collapsed.

Now he doesn’t need to spell or write speeches—he has people for that. But let us all hope that in the years since this unfortunate little speech-blip, Mr. Pence has learned a thing or two about the Big Bad Russian Bear and its half-nude horse-riding President Putin whose KGB past seems, if the current CIA report is true, to be very much in the present tense. Or the tense present. You choose.

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Sharon Hambrick grew up in Fundamentalist Christianity and still "defaults" Fundy much of the time, to her own consternation. A licensed California lawyer, mother of five, wife of one, writer, inveterate road-tripper, and burgeoning feminist Democrat, Sharon wept away November 9, but woke up on November 10 determined to do something. When the idea of a Pence Watch was presented to her, she eagerly hopped on board.
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