MSNBC's Rachel Maddow: House Candidate Pence Wanted to Cure Gays Instead of AIDS

Ever since Rachel Maddow compared Donald Trump winning the presidency to the Cuban Missile Crisis, I've doubted there is another politician who can provoke her to such hyperbole.

I was wrong, there is. His name is Mike Pence.

Maddow is hardly alone when it comes to this. Ask nearly any liberal for his thoughts on Trump and what follows is likely to involve the veins bulging in his neck and plenty of hand waving. But ask him what he thinks of Pence -- that's when you'll see real anger. Keep a fire extinguisher handy in case of self-immolation.

On her MSNBC show last night, Maddow made a claim about Pence that surely went over well with her regular viewers/cultists. Maddow began her rant by praising the Wayback Machine website, created back in 1996 by a San Francisco-based non-profit --

MADDOW: The Wayback Machine -- it is a national treasure. It's an international treasure. We have used it hundreds, probably thousands of times in the preparation of this show. Any time somebody tries to make something go away, that's the first place you look to see if you can find it, despite the efforts of the person who tried to disappear that information. It's always the first place you go. I mean, just, just take stuff in current news right now, I could give you a whole bunch of stories that we've got cooking right now, stuff that's going on in the current news cycle that we really only know about, we only have evidence to work from because of the Wayback Machine.

That's how we know, for example, that when the Vice President-elect first ran for Congress, he ran on a platform that the government should take back all the money it was spending to combat HIV and AIDS and the government should instead spend that money on curing people from being gay (quotes from Pence website) -- "Resources should be directed toward (those) institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior." Mike Pence ran for Congress saying let's not try to cure AIDS. Let's try to cure gay instead.

As so often the case for anyone scrutinizing Maddow's cartoonish commentary, she presents a target-rich environment.

Start with her transparent misdirection in implying that Pence has kept the specifics of his 2000 campaign hidden from public scrutiny and, if not for the wicked awesome Wayback Machine, alas, it would be lost to the ages. Notice that Maddow cites no evidence to support this, relying instead on her repeated assertions to cover the base.

After he was elected to the House in 2000, Pence was re-elected in 2002 -- and 2004 -- and 2006 -- and 2008 -- and 2010. Then in 2012 he was elected governor of Indiana. Earlier this month, as I'm sure you recall, Pence was elected vice president. All of which is a roundabout way of pointing out that the Pence campaign website cited by Maddow was created seven campaigns, and seven campaign websites, ago.

Then there is the characteristic Maddow deceit in claiming that candidate Pence in 2000 "ran on a platform" of transferring federal money to gay conversion therapy while letting those diagnosed with AIDS perish from neglect. Anyone actually reading the Pence 2000 campaign website (thanks, Wayback Machine!) quickly notices the extent of Maddow's deception.

Right up top for the "Pence Agenda" that year, entitled "A Guide to Renewing the American Dream," is ... "tax relief." Next up -- "tax reform." Followed by "Rebuilding the Military." Then "Restoring Moral Integrity", "Campaign Reform", "Education Reform", "The Right to Keep and Bear Arms" and "Welfare Reform."

It is not until this point, after more than half a dozen other priorities were cited, each with numerous specific provisions (18 for "Rebuilding the Military" alone), that the Pence campaign turned its attention to "Strengthening the American Family." Here is the specific provision cited by Maddow in its entirety --

Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure than federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.

Operative word here -- "behavior" -- not, orientation. For example, safe sex instead of the unprotected version, as taught to children in public schools for decades. Avoiding illicit intravenous drugs. Monogamy instead of frequent visits to gay bathhouses (which were barred by court order in San Francisco in 1984 from allowing sexual activity on their property, several years after the outbreak of the epidemic).

By the way, there are nine other subjects cited by the Pence campaign after "Strengthening the American Family", including health care reform, regulatory reform, Social Security reform, etc., you get the idea.

All told Pence highlighted 18 subjects in his 2000 campaign agenda -- and 129 specific provisions within them. Maddow cites a single one of the provisions, representing 0.7 percent of the entire agenda, and proclaims this was the Pence platform in 2000.  Careful not to blink, you might miss it.

Since the left cannot credibly accuse Trump of homophobia, they've turned their animus toward Pence and it has nothing to do with an obscure provision from a distant campaign. The real reason that liberals loathe Pence is his unapologetic opposition to the liberal sacraments of abortion on demand and same-sex marriage. Since Pence won't waver in these heresies, he must be destroyed instead, with character assassination the cheapest weapon available.

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts