There's several reasons why Pence has a lot of internet grassroots support. We can start with the bailouts.
Five months earlier, on a Friday, TARP had been proposed. The original three-page legislation sought $700 billion instantly, no time for questions; Pence's staff figured the cost would be about a billion dollars a word. On Saturday, Pence announced his opposition but thought the bill would pass the House 434 to 1. On Monday, however, other members started approaching him, almost furtively, "like a secret society." A week later, the House rejected TARP, 228 to 205.
Four days later, the House passed TARP's second, 451-page, pork-swollen iteration, 263 to 171. That weekend, Pence, who voted no, was at a Boy Scout jamboree at the Henry County Fairgrounds. He was approached by a man who had no scout there but wanted to thank Pence for opposing TARP. The man said that although he had lost his job the day before, "I can get another job but I can't get another country."
TARP was what woke a lot of people up, but what separate's Pence is that he is consistent on this issue, and that this goes back to the Bush years as well.
On Nov. 21, 2003, Pence's third year in Congress, the House was about to vote on the Bush administration's proposal to add a prescription drug entitlement to Medicare. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed the day before, Newt Gingrich had excoriated "obstructionist conservatives" who "always find reasons to vote no." Some recalcitrant Republican members, whose reasons for saying no to enlargements of the welfare state are conservatism, were brought to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. for presidential pressure. Pence told the president he was going from the White House to his daughter's 10th birthday party, and he said he opposed the new entitlement because he wanted to be welcome at her 30th, which he might not be if, by deepening the entitlement crisis, he produced higher taxes and a lower standard of living. Early the next morning, Speaker Dennis Hastert disgracefully prolonged the House vote for two hours and 52 minutes, until 5:53 a.m., time enough to separate enough conservatives from their convictions. When Hastert asked Pence what it would take to win his vote, Pence replied: Means-test the entitlement.
Impossible, said Hastert. Two Republican congressmen who, like Pence, that night stuck to their conviction that America had quite enough unfunded entitlements have risen - Pennsylvania's Sen.-elect Pat Toomey and South Carolina's Sen. Jim DeMint.
If Obama runs his mouth and scolds and lectures Pence about Bush's spending, Pence can tell him that he, unlike Bush is a fiscal conservative. Bush is a fiscal conservative only compared to the current idiot in chief sitting in the Oval office. Pence stood up to Bush, and Hastert. Pence and his Republican Study Committee also proposed and pushed a balanced budget...back in 2006. He also voted against No Child Left Behind.
I don't expect Mike Pence to run, but if he does, he has my support. The number one reason is consistency. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. When the pressure is on, can I count on this person? It's easy now to talk about fiscal conservatism. It wasn't that popular in political culture back in 2002-2006. I don't trust those who all of a sudden claim a new "conservative awakenining" at election time (Romney). Pence has been there and done that.