Mike Pence Thinks He’s Serious Contender For Leader Of People Who Yell ‘Hang Mike Pence’
Mike Pence wants to be president. No one thinks this is a remote possibility other than Mike Pence and whoever sells him invisible clothing. CNN reports that the former vice president has a brand new office in Washington DC, and is staffing up in preparation for a 2024 run ... for the presidency, which is a job he believes is somehow attainable for him.
There were two full weeks after Donald Trump sicced a violent mob on the Capitol when we'd have been fine with Pence as president instead of his unhinged boss. It would've saved Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley a lot of coup-related grief. However, Pence refused to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump, and he apparently struggled less with that decision than he did over whether to help Trump overturn the presidential election.
Pence let down MAGA and people who prefer to avoid a possible nuclear holocaust. That doesn't leave nearly enough voters for a winning coalition. Most Republican voters these days aren't interested in superficially moral, more-pious-than-thou candidates. They just want assholes who'll fight the culture war viciously and relentlessly. The GOP's future is clearly politicians such as Matt Gaetz or Marjorie Taylor Greene. Pence can't fake the funk as a Twitter troll.
But Pence remains undaunted. He's not clearing the field for Trump like Nikki Haley, nor is he pretending to wait until Trump officially declares his intentions.
"Mike is going to look at this and say, 'Where am I being called to serve?' " said one person close to Pence. "That's not going to be thwarted by any man or woman."
"If he feels called to do this," the adviser went on, "it's not going to be because of who else is in the race."
Pence claims he'll run for president because he's been called to serve God. We all know he's just hungry for power. It's the same voracious appetite that had him licking Trump's fascist boots for years.
People close to Pence think he can set himself apart from Trump, but he's ultimately just a blander, duller version of the horror show Republicans offer America. This isn't 2012. There's no longer a market for a polite Republican who unites the party around screwing the poor and doesn't actively "foment division." If he's paid attention since Trump's mob tried to kill him, he would have noticed that so-called “normal" Republicans with voting records that would make Ronald Reagan look like Ted Kennedy are nonetheless persona non grata because they either voted to impeach Trump (the second time) or wouldn't promote his Big Lie. The GOP is no longer a political party guided by ideas, even if their "ideas" were just grotesque Ayn Rand erotica. The GOP is guided primarily by unwavering allegiance to Donald Trump. That's why someone like Matt Gaetz remains in good standing while Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney will face Trump-backed primary challenges.
Pence's political career ended January 6. He might think his former boss has forgiven him, even though forgiveness is one of many human emotions that apparently escapes Trump. According to Bob Woodward, for whatever that's worth, Trump told Pence, "I don't want to be your friend anymore" if he didn't agree to reject the Electoral College results. Trump is a singularly graceless liar, but he does manage to keep promises that are rooted in petty vindictiveness. He's not changed much emotionally since his infamous 1992 interview with Charlie Rose.
TRUMP: I think that some of the people that were most loyal to me were people that I didn't think would be. Some of the people that were least loyal to me are people that I think I would have treated them differently. I think I would have treated different groups differently. I would have wiped the floor with the guys that weren't loyal which I will now do which is great. I love getting even with people but I will ...
ROSE: Slow up. You love getting even.
TRUMP: Oh absolutely ... If given the opportunity, I will get even with some people that were disloyal to me. I had a group of people that were disloyal ... they didn't do small things that would have helped. They didn't do large things that would have helped.
Pence was present when Trump systematically destroyed his former attorney general Jeff Sessions for a perceived betrayal, and in the end, Trump politically survived the Russia investigation. Trump endorsed Sessions's Senate primary opponent, Tommy Tuberville, which he likely considers a good bet: Tuberville was in the Senate all of three days when he joined Trump's attempts to overturn the election. Sessions was enough of an old-school institutionalist that he probably wouldn't have shredded the Constitution on Trump's behalf. Trump prefers politicians who are less decent somehow than Jeff Sessions.
There's absolutely zero chance Pence will ever return to the White House, but it seems as if Pence is delusional enough to make one last go at it. I guess he just hasn't had enough of Trump's public abuse.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."