Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Mike Pence

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:

How Loyal Was Mike Pence?

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.


  1. My question following that article was, what about Mile Pompeo? In 2020 I thought that Grenell and he were Trump's best allies.

    1. I've repeatedly expressed my view that Pompeo was no Trump ally.

    2. I know. However, they seemed to be on the same page on Iran, Israel, China, and the border.

    3. As director of the CIA during the early Trump Administration Pompeo had to know of and/or be involved in the coverup.

      Later, as Secretary of State Pompeo better expressed Trump's foreign policy than any other Trump Administration official.

      So many questions.

    4. @Cassander re: CIA, while that seems plausible and likely, is it absolutely true? Brennan ran the ICA op, but almost all the leg work was done by Comey and his cabal. Is it possible that the CIA portion of the effort - at least at the director level - was complete by the time Pompeo was there?

      Re: SecState, I agree.

      I get it that Pompeo was a DC insider and therefore rightly distrusted, but I don't see any clear signs of treachery or dissimulation between them, unlike with Pence.

      Pompeo may have been better at concealing it, but I just don't see the signs from my perch.

  2. Even the communist Red Army was too embarrassed to force a second generation of their soldiers to fight a war in Afghanistan. The fact that supposedly conservative and pro-military Americans could justify sending American boys into that 19+ year old meat grinder and that our generals have said nothing (when they were saying the war was lost a decade ago when they were lt colonels and I was a captain flipping the slide deck) is profoundly embarrassing and a stain on the honor of the American officer corps.

    If Trump ever believed in getting our boys out of there--and I believe he did--he should hold Pence in special contempt for advising him to delay the promise to the second term, and thus break it. I am trying to find religion so I can have faith there is a hell waiting for guys like that, and I've caught a glimpse or two of what it might look like.

  3. Despite that Jesus-freak costume that Pence wears, he didn't hesitate for ONE minute to (effectively) kill the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana when threatened by a couple of businesses.

    1. That readiness to bend was exactly what caused my reservations.

    2. Exactly. When I realized he was the governor who vetoed the RFRA in Indiana I could not understand why he was supposed to appeal to religious conservatives.

      I certainly will not be voting the ticket in the future. It's America First or nothing.

  4. Until the GOPe is gone will things change and I do not see that happening soon even with the best efforts of Trump. What I do see, though, is Trump’s wing attempting to reduce and, in essence, cow the GOPe. If successful, the GOP can truly be a force to reckon with and not an adjunct of the Democrat party.

    Just as the GOP at its inception was a stark contrast to the pro slavery Democrat party (promotion of slavery was an official Democrat party plank for numerous years), the GOP needs to be, again, a stark contrast against the Democrat party.

    This notion of GOP contrast has been around for decades, but it was mainly on issues that can be politically unpalatable for many or most. For example, how can you justify not to spend big federally on domestic affairs while enriching the top levels of US multinational corporations and sending billions of US $$ overseas for foreign aid. Ironically, that issue was once a very sharp contrast between Dem and Repub.

    Trump’s basic message is to take care of us, Joe Blow US citizen first, then help others in the world.

  5. I never trusted nor was drawn to Mike Pence. Or his wife Karen. If asked why, I would have difficulty coming up with specifics. I would be like my late Grandmother, who was present for my Grandfather’s business lunches in their home (that is what businessmen did in those days). A spectator throughout the lunch, watching them and listening to them talk, she would occasionally say afterward: “There’s just something about that man…” Invariably the man in question would turn out to be a bad business risk. If Grandpa had listened to her, he’d have dodged such a relationship. If he hadn’t...

    1. Yes. For example, I found it creepy that he was often stone-faced with Trump in official settings. Remember the glorious scene in the Oval Office with Chuck and Nancy early in the term? Trump was Trump — goading, teasing, argumentative. The Senator and Congresswoman were clearly uh... uncomfortable (you could almost hear Chuckie’s teeth grinding as he addressed Trump as “Mr. President”). Pence? He sat there like a statue as if he was above it all. I remember wondering what his game was.

    2. Intuition is the most powerful tool we have. As First Lady, when Melania Trump was asked if there were people within the President's administration that she didn't trust she immediately said "yes."

      Speaking of First Ladies, Jacqueline Kennedy mocked LBJ and Lady Bird by calling them "Uncle Corn Pone and his Little Pork Chop.

      That seems fitting, come to think of Pence and his Second Lady.

  6. Several months ago, Sundance of the Conservative Treehouse posted that there was someone very close to Trump that was working at cross purposes. His inference was Pence. I was a bit skeptical as Pence was doing excellent work on the Pandemic response. But we found out different when he went to ground after the election.

    Then the great betrayal on Jan 6th. He did the "lawful" action and not the "righteous" action. It put me in mind of Luke 6:6 - 11.

    6 On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. 7 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. 8 But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there.

    9 Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”

    10 He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored. 11 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.

    Pence failed the test and he all the good he has done will be removed.


    1. I don't think Pence had an obvious play on 1/6, so I can't get too worked up about it. I really can't put it on the same level as Jesus dealing with sabbath hypocrisy. What bothers me is seeing all of these other actions side-by-side. Treachery is not a good look for anyone.

      Pence never had my full confidence on account of his RFRA veto. Now it's down to zero. I wouldn't vote him onto an HOA board.

      It's America First all the way from now on. The GOPe is just taking us on the scenic route to destruction; I'd rather take the express lane and get it over with so we can rebuild while there are still people alive who remember liberty.

  7. My view is that Pence watched his future political career float down the Wabash with his inaction post-election. He would need Trump's endorsement should Trump not run; I doubt that will be happening.


    1. All one need do is look to Pence's strong ties to the Bush cabal to see how that malignancy metastasized throughout the four years of Trump's administration from the minute he was sworn in as POTUS.

  8. You put your finger on it DJL. If Trump has an army of voters then the establishment has either failed catastrophically or has miscalculated catastrophically in figuring that Trump would go away once they removed him from Washington. If Trump truly does have an army of voters, as Sundance believes, then all the GOPe is goners. Something tells me that Trump would not have issued his denunciation of Mitch if he wasn't certain of his position (he does have an army of voters behind him), and the fact that he went after Mitch indicates who the "head" of Republican Resistance is. Pence is a bit player, contemptible, pitiable at last. Trump is laying it all bare.

    Mark A

  9. There will be a lot happening between now and 2024.

    Right now the Repubs are in pre Tea Party mode with a purpose!

    At the state levels they will be pushing out all sorts of bogus "feel good" (vs affective) legislation / legal'eze to sucker their believers. (I'm glaring at you Texas / Florida!)

    In DC the clan will be beating back the denials of voter anger and playing their favorite helpless/hapless song of "if only we were in charge". The worse the Dems behave, the easier if is to sell the "lesser evil" line and keep Repub followers cheering their ilk.

    Mitch will be giving his globalist buddies the wink and nod while selling his consortium of retiring senators votes to the Dems for whatever causes they need. The more anti american/conservative the better it is for his friends. This also helps Repubs to sell the lie of "hold your nose and vote for us" to save your country.

    All of that while trump hovers somewhere between the threat(s) of pending fed/state charges, (betting on NY State or SDNY) and debating the kick off of a new party, or deciding to wrecking the old with a carve out. He has no constraints so this could be really fun to watch.

    In the meantime if the states keep avoiding effective voter law changes it really will not matter who runs in 2024! Some say this type of legislation takes time... I would say voter ID and registration laws have been circling around the drain for 20+ years in every state. Time is not the issue here, making excuses to keep avoiding it is the actual issue!

    The SCOTUS pretrial conference on Friday should be a hoot. I don't see three unrelated case regarding election fraud and various states level voting law changes being pulled into the same wrapper as being a good sign. Wood and Powell are in a high stakes poker game with Dominion at this point. Kelly is arguing something very different. All of that could have a big impact on 2022 and 2024. Or have no impact whatsoever because I would hate to see the public's reaction if those cases were to prevail. I'm betting much has been put into the topics of defusing and derailing for that reason.

    So much will change in the next three years, it's really hard to picture where we'll land. Much less with who we'll land, I kinda think the Pence topic is being floated around to see how pissed off people really are. (Polling for sentiment vs actual voting)