It is too amazing to be true. Donald Trump charged Arthur Culvahouse, the same DC lawyer who vetted Sarah Palin, with vetting his VP choices.
And Trump has ended up picking Sarah Palin, without the charisma.
One source who used to work as a senior staff member in the House of Representatives told me, "Pence, smart? I used to eat salads at the Rayburn cafeteria that had more brains than Mike Pence."
That certainly fits Mike Pence.
Mike Pence who, in 2001, still was seriously trying to claim that cigarette smoking wouldn't kill you, writing "Time for a quick reality check. Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn't kill. In fact, 2 out of every three smokers does not die from a smoking related illness and 9 out of ten smokers do not contract lung cancer."
Mike Pence who, just last year, looked like a deer in headlights on television, when asked to explain a law he just signed. He was completely unable to tell George Stephanopoulos if the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Reminder: a bill he just signed) would allow bakers and florists to refuse service to same-sex couples being married. The performance was widely mocked, and thought to be the end of his Presidential ambitions.
Mike Pence who, when asked if he believes in evolution, had to repeat the question, before giving a nonsensical response.
Mike Pence who either didn't read, or didn't understand, that he signed a law that requires women to bury or cremate their periods, if they contain a fertilized egg, leading to the Periods for Pence movement.
It isn't so much that Mike Pence is a lightweight in the brains department.
It's that Mike Pence is a lightweight in the brains department, and also ridiculously incompetent.
Remember that religious freedom bill that Pence signed, but couldn't explain? Upon finding out that it wasn't at all popular, that everyone realized it could be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians, and coming under pressure from a nationwide boycott of Indiana as a result, Pence was forced to sign an amendment protecting the LGBT community, thus taking out the reason religious groups wanted the original law in the first place. The result ended up being the whole ordeal was an epic waste of time, that needlessly had Hoosiers at each others' throats.
Pence, in his infinite wisdom, decided that banning needle exchanges would curb drug use, despite evidence to the contrary. What happened, because of inept Mike Pence? Oh nothing, just an explosion of HIV in the state. So much so that Pence was forced to sign needle exchanges back into law.
Mike Pence also once decided to start spending resources to develop a state-controlled news service, which would feed the media with prewritten stories, and be the one to break "news" (read: "propaganda") about his administration. When confronted with the fact that it was, well, kind of Soviet, Pence decided to stop developing the news service.
These are just some of the reasons that Mike Pence was very possibly on his way to being beaten for reelection as governor, by a state rep who hasn't been in politics for 14 years, before Donald Trump saved his hide.
How bad is his reputation in the state? Republicans want Pence out of Indiana. Reported CNN, "[Trump picking Pence] also makes for a good fit for Indiana Republicans, who are ready for Pence to go after a tumultuous first term in Indiana that has opened up a chance for Democrats to claim the governor's office."
Oh, the title of that piece? "Indiana GOP to Trump: Take Mike Pence, Please!"
Like the former Congressional staffer above, the people of Indiana and Republicans found out, pretty darned quick, that Mike Pence is as inept and bumbling as he is lacking in intellect.
This is Donald Trump's first presidential-level decision, and he didn't just whiff.
He whiffed very, very badly.
After November, when the post-mortems on the Trump loss are written, people will look back on Pence and think, "What was Trump thinking?"