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Paul Meringoff, posting at Powerline, discusses former Vice President Mike Pence’s positioning for a presidential run in 2024.
The Washington Post reports that Mike Pence and his allies are gearing up for a possible run at the presidency in 2024. According to the Post, Pence’s friends and advisers say he’s likely to run for president, especially if Donald Trump doesn’t.
But even if President Trump doesn’t run in 2024, as Mirengoff notes —
One potential problem for Pence is that he refused, in his Senate role, to do Trump’s bidding when it came to blocking Joe Biden from becoming president. Some of Trump’s most ardent supporters consider Pence a turncoat because of that refusal.
Pence calls January 6 “a dark day at the Capitol” and says his focus is “entirely on the future.” This stands is contrast to Trump, who in his various interviews seems focused largely on the past.
In my view, Pence’s actions on January 6 count in his favor.
This last sentence is where I disagree with Mirengoff. I do not count Pence’s behavior in his favor. Pence was instrumental in General Flynn’s outster in the early days of the Administration. As subsequent events have proved, Flynn was successfully targeted by the Obama Administration and the Deep State (but I repeat myself). Pence was presumably unwitting in whatever role he played. It is still unclear to me what Flynn did to lose Pence’s confidence. Whatever it was, in hindsight it was no doubt manipulated by other actors.
Watching Pence left me with the impression that he was a decent man. His calm and measured demeanor was always a welcome counterpoint to a more dramatic President Trump. In Pence’s public comments before the 2020 election he always seemed to support President Trump’s policies. But what did he learn from watching the Deep State’s operations against President Trump and his family? Did he see an injustice and seek to defeat it? Or did he see his long understanding of politics confirmed and commit himself to playing by traditional Republican rules that made “good guys” win just enough so that “bad guys” could win most of the time?
As Mirengoff also states —
The Post reports that Pence wants “credit for what he sees as the good of the Trump administration.” This raises the question of whether Pence influenced that administration and, if so, in what ways.
There’s no doubt that Pence influenced the administration. Trump entered office with very little knowledge of the Republican Party. Not all that long before, he had been a Democrat.
Pence, a Republican insider, was there to help guide Trump when it came to selecting key personnel like White House chief of staff and the Cabinet. Pence wasn’t responsible for all of these selections — Trump took advice from other sources, too. But Pence was probably the most influential, and it was thanks in part to him that Trump imported the GOP establishment into his administration.
In my view, and eventually in Trump’s, many of those thus imported were sub-optimal selections, to put it gently.
Mirengoff lays out a compelling case for Pence being duped far too often. Here I agree.
But I have titled the post “Is Mike Pence a Decent Man?” and it is to that question I return: A decent man would have seen by November 2020 the terrible distortions wrought by President Trump’s enemies. A decent man would have hungered for the fight. A decent man would have chosen a way to get the constitutional outcome without accepting the irregularities as normal. Had Pence done what he so often did on Trump’s policies — articulating in a calm and clear manner what the problem was and how the solution was important — he would have done the nation a great service. Instead, he slipped back into a comfortable Republican role of amiable loser, vowing to fight another day.
If you are a political operative, it is the smart move because your assumption is that the game goes on indefinitely and giving the other side the opportunity to make a hash of it only improves your chances next time around. But the Progressives are not playing around. They.don’t.want.a.next.time. And Pence’s failure to help articulate and implement a strategy that would have resulted in confidence in the presidential election rather than assuming “fraud in an acceptable range”, makes him as culpable as the Progressives for what is happening now.
If you don’t believe me, maybe you can credit John Stuart Mill with some insight —
Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. He is not a good man who, without a protest, allows wrong to be committed in his name, and with the means which he helps to supply, because he will not trouble himself to use his mind on the subject.
We can substitute “decent” for “good” in the quote above. So, no, Mike Pence is not a decent man. Change my mind.Published in