Issues & Insights

Mike Pence, Anti-Woke Capital Crusader, Caved To Woke Capital

It’s hard to notice amid the hullabaloo over The Donald’s and Hunter’s legal challenges. But lookit who’s vying for the coveted “Christian Conservative lane” in the GOP presidential sweepstakes – along with the close-akin anti-woke capital corridor.

“I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican — in that order,” erstwhile Trump veep Mike Pence trumpeted in launching his candidacy in … hmmmm … Iowa a couple of weeks back.

Ya don’t say. Sure could’ve fooled the “Christians-and-conservatives-in-that-order” of your somewhat-slighted Hoosier State.

One needn’t even bother speculating about what Trump’s #2 woulda, coulda or shoulda done to prevent the brazen theft of the presidency that fateful day of January 6, 2021. 

Because another sorry episode of slighting Hoosiers tells wokeness-weary conservatives all they need to know as to whether Pence possesses the necessary backbone to protect America from the forces of “decline and decay,” in his words. And ironically, in a Wall Street Journal editorial board meeting following his announcement, Pence himself drew attention to it.

“I’ve had my battles with activist corporate America. Back in 2015, when we passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, it was the first battle (with) woke corporate America …. It literally went on for months. And we would eventually quiet it by taking a strong stand on Indiana Constitution’s commitment to religious freedom….”

A “strong stand?” As onetime presidential candidate Al Smith used to say, let’s look at the record.

It was indeed in April 2015 that Crystal O’Connor, the Christian conservative co-owner of Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, answered a local news reporter’s hypothetical question anticipating the Supreme Court’s same-sex “marriage” decision: “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no.” 

Note that Ms. O’Connor did not say Memories would not serve non-heterosexuals under any circumstance. In fact, per the station, Ms. O. sensitively pledged that “if a gay couple … came into the restaurant to eat, they would never deny them service.” 

It appears Ms. O’Connor and her business partner father had read the title of that very Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) Pence referred to – which the then-Governor had just signed and was intended to protect people of faith in exactly such a circumstance – and figured that their religious freedom was indeed restored, or at least preserved.

Silly them.

Because the entire global LGBTQ-to-the-nth-power-and-fellow-traveler horde equally kindly and sympathetically responded: 

“Unleash hell.”

With trolling. Media distortions. Flaming Yelp reviews that drove their rating down to a solitary star. And most disturbing, ominous phone and social media threats to their business and persons that temporarily caused Memories to shutter and the entrepreneurs to go into hiding.

Which of course led Pence to take that “strong stand on Indiana Constitution’s commitment to religious freedom,” fighting to the last to vindicate the rights of his constituents to “freely exercise their religion.”

Well, not so much.

It turns out that the alternative sexuality crowd weren’t the only ones to go full Maximus on Christian liberty.  “Activist corporate America” along with stars of stage, screen, and arena unleashed their own volleys against the legislation that inspired the O’Connors’ nuanced response to a hypothetical question. 

Threatened withdrawals of business. State, municipal, and corporate travel boycotts. Conference pullouts. Canceled concerts. 

Surely here is where Pence actually did evince that “strong stand” against the “large and powerful Wall Street financiers” driving “the new trend of woke capitalism,” defending the bill and the protections it afforded the O’Connors and other Christian conservatives.

Not clear you’re catching the drift here.

More like joined his fellow Republican leaders in running like scared rabbits and warp-speeding a statutory “fix” to RFRA in less than a week. A “fix” in the same manner as a lethal dose of fentanyl.

In fact, said “fix” undermined the very freedoms it was passed to protect while creating out of whole cloth, Supreme Court-style, entirely new rights for their tormentors.

Which led one prominent Christian leader, speaking for many peers, to pronounce the fast-tracked backtrack a “train wreck.” And by the way, Memories, left to hang in the wind, now is truly a memory.

Contrast Pence’s Internet-time about-face with his Commander-in-Chief’s firm stance when screaming meemies, “crooked porn lawyers” and other assorted character assassins attempted to slice-and-dice Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. 

Or Gov. Ron DeSantis’s take-no-prisoners counteroffensive when his legislative initiative to prevent bureaucrats and activists from grooming kindergartners was mislabeled “Don’t Say Gay,” pummeled by the corporate media, and opposed by the Sunshine State’s most powerful business interest.

It’s easy to write forceful “me-too” op-eds when others on the Right have opened the front against ESG, or go with the flow when elite opinion joins with an admitted “conspiracy” to give your boss the bum’s rush. It’s quite another actually to “take a strong stand” and oppose economic extortion aimed at your claimed allies when your own political career is on the line.

So Mr. Vice President, with more than due respect, “stay in your lane” of following the elite, establishment crowd in caving to woke capital – preferably, right out of the 2024 race.

Bob Maistros is a messaging and communications strategist, crisis specialist, and former political speechwriter. He can be reached at

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  • Worrying about Pence is like battling global warming by outlawing soda straws.

  • There are two candidates: Trump and DeSantis. I’m happy with either one in the White House. My home is Texas. When the primaries come next year, I expect things to be settled. November 2024, I’m voting straight GOP, and Pence won’t be it.

  • Pence is a Republican corporatist; he has always talked a good game in the prelims, but then “evolved” when the pressure was applied by his business buddies and bad press. As a congressman his novel solution to the illegal alien problem was to have them leave the country and then advance those who did to the front of the line for “legal” immigration. Oh, and he was open to having the illegals only “constructively” leave the country, rather than actually be required to exit before being given preferential treatment on immigration. Thanks to the above and other problems he was a poor bet for reelection as Indiana’s governor (against an opponent who was an undistinguished hustler and film-flam man whose campaign was based on his mustache) when Donald Trump threw him a lifeline by picking him as the VP candidate. And to cap it off, Pence’s handpicked replacement as Republican lieutenant governor who succeeded Pence when he resigned to run for VP was even more of a corporatist stooge and trimmer than Pence was.

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