Mike Pence

Obamacare got some bad news late Thursday afternoon. State officials in Indiana announced that premiums for residents buying insurance on their own next year would be 72 percent higher than the premiums such people typically pay this year. They also announced that the typical cost for an individual plan next year would be $570, up from $255 this year.

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Now that Mitt Romney is officially the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, and we have some distance from the primaries that decided it all, it’s time to consider the lessons. Otherwise, poor memories, shaky analysis and self-serving spin will combine to congeal a conventional “wisdom” that is anything but. As someone who obsessively chronicled every twist and turn of this very odd nomination contest for TNR, here are my five top takeaways: 1.      Mitt Romney is a very lucky man.

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When you see a primary challenge against a long-time member of Congress, the incumbent usually enjoys the advantage of at least nominal support from the party establishment.

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Aaron Blake argues today that present-day circumstances make it more likely that Members of the House can win presidential nominations, something that as he notes hasn’t happened for some time. He points to former Speaker Newt Gingrich and current Members Mike Pence and Michele Bachmann as potentially viable national candidates this time around. I continue to disagree. Let’s see what we have here. First, I think Blake undercounts past House candidacies during recent (post-reform) history.

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Decision Time

The Republican Party—and indeed much of the media establishment—is living in a fantasy world when it comes to 2012. To hear most of the pundits and soothsayers tell it, the presidential nominating contest is still a long way off. The GOP heavies we’ve been talking about since 2008, such as Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and Tim Pawlenty, are all terribly flawed: Mitt’s got his RomneyCare; Newt has been a national pariah; Huck has money problems; Palin is toxic outside her base; and T-Paw induces narcolepsy.

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Here's Wall Street Journal editorial page writer and conservative movement apparatchik Stephen Moore writing up the Draft Mike Pence movement: Mr. Pence won the straw poll at a gathering of more than 1,000 social conservatives in Washington, D.C., over the summer—besting Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, and presumptive front-runner Mitt Romney. One concern is what Sarah Palin's intentions are, since she would have a huge funding base if she runs.

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There are plenty of conservatives who can't wait for a knockdown brawl over the federal debt ceiling this spring. As South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint put it, "We need to have a showdown, at this point, that we're not going to increase our debt ceiling anymore." Likewise, three GOP presidential hopefuls (Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, and Mike Pence) told The Wall Street Journal today that they opposed any lifting of the debt ceiling by Congress unless it was accompanied by strict spending cuts.

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Mike Pence comes out against the tax deal, and adds this caveat: Pence also implied that the compromise is unconstitutional, saying, "this deal was largely negotiated by leaders in the Senate and the White House, despite the fact that the Constitution clearly says that bills relating to taxes should begin in the House of Representatives."   The phrase "Constitutional conservative" has been popping up quite a bit the last few years, and figuring out what it means has been a little difficult.

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Weekly Standard publisher Terry Eastland spent some time with Mike Pence and is blown away by the depth of his thinking. Here's how the puff-piece begins: It may be startling to imagine the American presidency as a train that “has run off the rails.” But that’s the metaphor Indiana Republican Mike Pence chose in a speech he gave at Hillsdale College on September 20 titled “The Presidency and the Constitution.” Elected last month to his sixth term in the House of Representatives, Pence also delivered a version of the speech in mid November to the Federalist Society in Washington.

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&c

-- John Judis defends Wikileaks, but James Rubin thinks it undermines the left. -- Mike Pence does his best John Shadegg impression. -- Leslie Nielsen's best quotes.

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