Not long ago I ran a tweet by Emerald Robinson (Newsmax WH correspondent) that suggested that the GOPe's goal for 2024 is to run a Pence/Haley ticket. Fortunately, that ploy--and I doubt Robinson was engaging in narrative building--has fallen rather flat, so far. Major donors are reportedly shunning Haley.
Today American Greatness has a must read article entitled:
Pence was perfectly suited to be vice president . . .
for Mitt Romney.
The article, written by Carmen Catanzaro (a pseudonym for "a Republican insider") isn't a full blown expose, but it does present a highly unflattering portrait of Pence--if a flattering portrait would have included portraying Pence as loyal to the guy who pulled him off the rubbish heap of politics in Indiana and gave him entree to the power broking circles in and around the White House. In other words, the answer to the title question is: Not very, if at all. Catanzaro portrays Pence as a Boehner, Ryan, Romney Republican, who reliably advanced the Neocon goal of an Imperial America:
As a member of Congress, Pence was never distinguishable in philosophy, rhetoric, or policy from John Boehner or Paul Ryan. As Trump’s running mate both in 2016 and in 2020, Pence resembled Mitt Romney’s 2012 running mate—and Romney himself—more than a fitting understudy to Donald Trump.
In his vice-presidential debate against Tim Kaine in 2016, Pence contradicted Trump’s policies on both Russia and Syria. Trump found it necessary to rebuke Pence over his remarks on Russia.
When Trump chose Pence as his running mate I had my reservations, but assumed that Pence was brought on board the campaign in order to solidify Trump with one of his key target demographics--the Right to Life movement and Reagan Dem Catholics of the Upper Midwest. That may have been the goal, and if so the choice of Pence probably helped Trump. However, it soon became apparent that Pence's other role would be (as a former congressman) to interface with the GOP's DC Establishment. That role became problematic from the very start, because that meant that Pence's job--from the GOPe' standpoint--was to help to surround Trump with Establishment and Interagency types who would thwart Trump at every turn. That became the story of the Trump administration.
The other day in a comment I noted the early firing of Michael Flynn as the eye-opening moment for me with regard to Pence. I was convinced that Pence could--and of course, should--have smoothed over the patently baseless Kislyak kerfuffle. But he did nothing of the sort, instead greasing the slide for Flynn's departure and later persecution. Here's what Catanzaro has to say in that regard:
During the first month of Trump’s presidency, it was Pence who forced Trump’s unjust dismissal of National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, saying that Flynn had misled him. The question remains: did Pence torpedo Flynn with malice aforethought, or was Pence duped as a useful idiot by the get-Flynn lynch mob that had been set into motion by Barack Obama, Joe “Logan Act” Biden, James Comey, and John Brennan?
Three additional examples, all from foreign policy, speak volumes regarding Pence:
During Trump’s first year in office, when the president indicated he wanted to make good on his promise to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, what did Pence do? He cut short an official overseas trip to team up with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Flynn’s unworthy successor, H.R. McMaster, in pressuring Trump to back down. This was an occasion when Trump was brazenly, publicly humiliated by his own subordinates.
Pence attempted to install, as the vice president’s national security adviser, Nikki Haley’s top aide at the United Nations, while planning to allow this aide to work simultaneously on both Pence’s and Haley’s staff. Trump was informed that this man, Haley’s former pollster Jon Lerner—a man with essentially no background in national security policy or foreign affairs—had been responsible for big-spending anti-Trump ad campaigns in 2016. Trump ordered Pence to halt his plan to hire Lerner. The president was widely quoted on the occasion as having exclaimed, “Why would Mike do that?”
In 2019, Pence was at it again. Pence showed his neocon colors boldly when he took a high-visibility role in promoting the administration’s very un-Trump-like push for a “regime change” operation in Venezuela. Pence and the rest of the neocons are right, of course, that it would be in the United States’ interests for Communist dictator Nicolás Maduro to be removed and replaced by a pro-American leader. But their nonsensical embrace of a young, untested CIA acolyte, Juan Guaidó, was as absurd and feckless as any of the regime change and “nation-building” follies of George W. Bush.
Of course this raises the question: Who fixed Pence up with Trump in the first place? The answer is: Kellyanne Conway, who has a history as a political consultant for Pence. Now, my impression has always been that Conway has been a loyal supporter of Trump and gave him excellent political advice. That view tends to be borne out by the fact of her extended tenure advising Trump. It will, therefore, be fascinating to see what Conway has to say in her forthcoming book, which is said to decry the backstabbers surrounding Trump.
If either Pence or Haley gain any sort of GOPe support that will be a signal of that the party is fundamentally unserious and out of touch with their future. It shouldn't be long before we get some more signs.