Mike Pence

Written by  //  May 17, 2018  //  Politics, U.S.  //  No comments

Trump is no longer the worst person in government
Vice President Pence sometimes seems to agree with President Trump just by looking at him. Here are some of the ways he does it. (see video)
(WaPost) Vice President Pence sometimes seems to agree with President Trump just by looking at him. Here are some of the ways he does it. (Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)
Donald Trump, with his feral cunning, knew. The oleaginous Mike Pence, with his talent for toadyism and appetite for obsequiousness, could, Trump knew, become America’s most repulsive public figure. And Pence, who has reached this pinnacle by dethroning his benefactor, is augmenting the public stock of useful knowledge. Because his is the authentic voice of today’s lickspittle Republican Party, he clarifies this year’s elections: Vote Republican to ratify groveling as governing.
Last June, a Trump Cabinet meeting featured testimonials offered to Dear Leader by his forelock-tugging colleagues. His chief of staff, Reince Priebus, caught the spirit of the worship service by thanking Trump for the “blessing” of being allowed to serve him. The hosannas poured forth from around the table, unredeemed by even a scintilla of insincerity. Priebus was soon deprived of his blessing, as was Tom Price. Before Price’s ecstasy of public service was truncated because of his incontinent enthusiasm for charter flights, he was the secretary of health and human services who at the Cabinet meeting said, “I can’t thank you enough for the privileges you’ve given me.” The vice president chimed in but saved his best riff for a December Cabinet meeting when, as The Post’s Aaron Blake calculated, Pence praised Trump once every 12 seconds for three minutes: “I’m deeply humbled. . . . ” Judging by the number of times Pence announces himself “humbled,” he might seem proud of his humility, but that is impossible because he is conspicuously devout and pride is a sin.
Between those two Cabinet meetings, Pence and his retinue flew to Indiana for the purpose of walking out of an Indianapolis Colts football game, thereby demonstrating that football players kneeling during the national anthem are intolerable to someone of Pence’s refined sense of right and wrong. Which brings us to his Arizona salute last week to Joe Arpaio, who was sheriff of Maricopa County until in 2016 voters wearied of his act.
[Jennifer Rubin: This is why Pence’s sickening embrace of Arpaio is so important]
Noting that Arpaio was in his Tempe audience, Pence, oozing unctuousness from every pore, called Arpaio “another favorite,” professed himself “honored” by Arpaio’s presence, and praised him as “a tireless champion of . . . the rule of law.” Arpaio, a grandstanding, camera-chasing bully and darling of the thuggish right, is also a criminal, convicted of contempt of court for ignoring a federal judge’s order to desist from certain illegal law enforcement practices. Pence’s performance occurred eight miles from the home of Sen. John McCain, who could teach Pence — or perhaps not — something about honor.
Vice President Pence left the NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 8 as several 49ers players knelt in protest during the national anthem. (Amber Ferguson/The Washington Post)
Henry Adams said that “practical politics consists in ignoring facts,” but what was the practicality in Pence’s disregard of the facts about Arpaio? His pandering had no purpose beyond serving Pence’s vocation, which is to ingratiate himself with his audience of the moment. The audience for his praise of Arpaio was given to chanting “Build that wall!” and applauded Arpaio, who wears Trump’s pardon like a boutonniere.
Hoosiers, of whom Pence is one, sometimes say that although Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky and flourished in Illinois, he spent his formative years — December 1816 to March 1830 — in Indiana, which he left at age 21. Be that as it may, on Jan. 27, 1838, Lincoln, then 28, delivered his first great speech, to the Young Men’s Lyceum in Springfield. Less than three months earlier, Elijah Lovejoy, an abolitionist newspaper editor in Alton, Ill., 67 miles from Springfield, was murdered by a pro-slavery mob. Without mentioning Lovejoy — it would have been unnecessary — Lincoln lamented that throughout America, “so lately famed for love of law and order,” there was a “mobocratic spirit” among “the vicious portion of [the] population.” So, “let reverence for the laws . . . become the political religion of the nation.” Pence, one of evangelical Christians’ favorite pin-ups, genuflects at various altars, as the mobocratic spirit and the vicious portion require.
[Dana Milbank: The week that proved God exists — and has a wicked sense of humor]
It is said that one cannot blame people who applaud Arpaio and support his rehabilitators (Trump, Pence, et al.), because, well, globalization or health-care costs or something. Actually, one must either blame them or condescend to them as lacking moral agency. Republicans silent about Pence have no such excuse.
There will be negligible legislating by the next Congress, so ballots cast this November will be most important as validations or repudiations of the harmonizing voices of Trump, Pence, Arpaio and the like. Trump is what he is, a floundering, inarticulate jumble of gnawing insecurities and not-at-all compensating vanities, which is pathetic. Pence is what he has chosen to be, which is horrifying. (9 May 2018)

17 May
Actually, Pence’s Toadying Is His Best Shot at Becoming President
In looking at various scenarios for near-term presidential elections, it’s helpful to separate Pence’s chances at becoming a GOP presidential nominee from his party’s chances of winning a general election — 2020 could be a tough year for any Republican nominee. Remember: the GOP has been on the short end of the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections. Demographic trends are famously not moving in their direction. And totally aside from the other problematic issues the Trump presidency has created, the odds of a major economic turndown by 2020 are pretty high, and that’s not even taking into account the possibility of trade wars or other political disturbances.

14 – 15 May
Wherever Pence goes, Trump—at his petty best—shows up to steal the spotlight
(Daily Kos) If anyone ever harbored the notion that Donald Trump’s travel schedule had anything to do with international diplomacy or even helping the Republican party through the midterms, forget about it. The chief motivation behind public appearances of the pettiest and most pitiful of all presidents primarily revolves around making sure he upstages his vice president, Mike Pence.
When Pence was slated to keynote the National Rifle Association convention that Trump never even planned on attending, for instance, Trump suddenly wanted in, writes Politico. … Pence is in the corner, all right—planning his rise-from-Trump’s-ashes 2020 bid for the presidency. May they both take each other down in a blaze of ignominy.
Pence vs. Trump civil war ripples through the West Wing as Pence positions himself for misfortune
(NYT evening brief) Vice President Mike Pence is seizing a big role in the midterm elections. Trump allies aren’t happy about it. With the White House lacking a strategy for November, Mr. Pence has stepped into the void, speaking at dozens of Republican events and shaping the president’s endorsements in crucial races.
That has worried Trump loyalists who see the vice president forging his own power base, possibly with an eye on an unpredictable presidential election in 2020. Above, Mr. Pence and his wife, Karen, at a rally last week in Elkhart, Ind.

10 May
Mike Pence tells Mueller ‘it’s time to wrap it up’
(CNN) The vice president’s comments to NBC News are his most direct yet in pressuring the special counsel to drop the investigation, which President Donald Trump has frequently referred to as a “witch hunt.”
“Our administration has provided more than a million documents; we’ve fully cooperated in it, and in the interest of the country, I think it’s time to wrap it up,” Pence said in an interview.
Sens. Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham responded to Pence’s remarks, both defending Mueller’s process.

Jan/Feb
God’s Plan for Mike Pence
Will the vice president—and the religious right—be rewarded for their embrace of Donald Trump?
(The Atlantic Magazine) It’s easy to see how Pence could put so much faith in the possibilities of divine intervention. The very fact that he is standing behind a lectern bearing the vice-presidential seal is, one could argue, a loaves-and-fishes-level miracle. Just a year earlier, he was an embattled small-state governor with underwater approval ratings, dismal reelection prospects, and a national reputation in tatters. In many ways, Pence was on the same doomed trajectory as the conservative-Christian movement he’d long championed—once a political force to be reckoned with, now a battered relic of the culture wars.
Because God works in mysterious ways (or, at the very least, has a postmodern sense of humor), it was Donald J. Trump—gracer of Playboy covers, delighter of shock jocks, collector of mistresses—who descended from the mountaintop in the summer of 2016, GOP presidential nomination in hand, offering salvation to both Pence and the religious right. The question of whether they should wed themselves to such a man was not without its theological considerations. But after eight years of Barack Obama and a string of disorienting political defeats, conservative Christians were in retreat and out of options. So they placed their faith in Trump—and then, incredibly, he won.
In Pence, Trump has found an obedient deputy whose willingness to suffer indignity and humiliation at the pleasure of the president appears boundless. When Trump comes under fire for describing white nationalists as “very fine people,” Pence is there to assure the world that he is actually a man of great decency. When Trump needs someone to fly across the country to an NFL game so he can walk out in protest of national-anthem kneelers, Pence heads for Air Force Two.

2017

A long and highly informative profile
23 October
The Danger of President Pence
Trump’s critics yearn for his exit. But Mike Pence, the corporate right’s inside man, poses his own risks.
By Jane Mayer
(The New Yorker) Pence, who has dutifully stood by the President, mustering a devotional gaze rarely seen since the days of Nancy Reagan, serves as a daily reminder that the Constitution offers an alternative to Trump. The worse the President looks, the more desirable his understudy seems. The more Trump is mired in scandal, the more likely Pence’s elevation to the Oval Office becomes, unless he ends up legally entangled as well.
Pence has taken care to appear extraordinarily loyal to Trump, so much so that Joel K. Goldstein, a historian and an expert on Vice-Presidents who teaches law at St. Louis University, refers to him as the “Sycophant-in-Chief.” But Pence has the political experience, the connections, the discipline, and the ideological mooring that Trump lacks. He also has a close relationship with the conservative billionaire donors who have captured the Republican Party’s agenda in recent years..

15 May
Trump doesn’t embody what’s wrong with Washington. Pence does.
By Richard Cohen
(WaPost) When history holds its trial to account for the Donald Trump presidency, Trump himself will be acquitted on grounds of madness. …  Such will not be the case for Mike Pence, the toady vice president and the personification of much that has gone wrong in Washington. On any given day, Pence will do his customary spot-on imitation of a bobblehead. Standing near Trump in the Oval Office, he will nod his head robotically as the president says one asinine thing after another and then, maybe along with others, he will be honored with a lie or a version of the truth so mangled by contradictions and fabrications that a day in the White House is like a week on LSD.
I pick on Pence because he is the most prominent and highest-ranked of President Trump’s lackeys. Like with all of them, Pence’s touching naivete and trust are routinely abused. He vouches for things that are not true — no talk of sanctions between Mike Flynn and the Russians, for instance, or more recently the reason James B. Comey was fired as FBI director. In both instances, the president either lied to him or failed to tell him the truth. The result was the same: The vice president appeared clueless.
I don’t feel an iota of sympathy for Pence. He was among a perfidious group of political opportunists who pushed Trump’s candidacy while having to know that he was intellectually, temperamentally and morally unfit for the presidency. They stuck with him as he mocked the disabled, belittled women, insulted Hispanics, libeled Mexicans and promiscuously promised the impossible and ridiculous — all that “Day One” nonsense like how the wall would be built and Mexico would pay for it.

23 January
The Radical Crusade of Mike Pence
He’s trampled on the rights of women, LGBTQ folks and the poor. Then there’s the incompetence. Meet, quite possibly, the next president
(RollingStone) During my travels across the self-proclaimed Crossroads of America, I learned that Mike Pence had once paid his mortgage with campaign funds, dragged his feet during an HIV epidemic and a lead-poisoning outbreak, signed an anti-gay-rights bill that nearly cost Indiana millions of dollars, lost his mind on national TV with George Stephanopoulos, and turned away Syrian refugees in an unconstitutional ploy laughed out of federal court. And he ended his gubernatorial term unpopular enough that his re-election bid in a Republican state seemed dicey at best.
… So what do we know about Pence? The governor benefited greatly from the wall-to-wall “Trump is a crazy monkey throwing feces” media coverage during the fall campaign, in that his record was undercovered, but it’s out there and suggests that his impact as vice president will screw African-Americans, women, the poor and any other square peg in round America. His concerns for the parts of Indiana outside his comfort zone toggled between disinterest and disdain.

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