Monday, July 31, 2017

Ex-Vice President Michael Pence: A Blog Response

Heartland Now blogger Michael Leppert recently predicted that Vice President Michael Pence will become President at some point. He claims he has been contacted by national media outlets wanting to learn more about Pence. He believes they are preparing for Pence to assume the Presidency in case President Donald Trump isn't able to finish his time in public office, or that he'll run for President himself either in 2020 or 2024.

I'm reading the tea leaves a little bit differently, but I'd like to address the issue of Mike Pence first.

Like Michael, I don't think Mike Pence has giving me a passing thought.  And I've been critical of his political sensibilities, and his style of governing. I've never met Pence before. But I've listened to his old talk radio show, and seen him in media appearances as a candidate and as a public official. And except for his god awful RFRA-era interview with George Stephanopoulos, Pence is someone who sticks to his talking points and sticks to them well. You won't get him to budge from them, and you aren't going to get some policy-wonk answers.

I also don't believe Mike Pence is a deep, intellectual conservative. Disagree with them all you want, and I often do, but I think there is some intelligent thought going on when people like House Speaker Paul Ryan, or the late William Buckley, talk about their conservative believes. I don't think that is the case with Mike Pence. I think he's someone who speaks very carefully, and doesn't want to be boxed in. His style of governing as Governor of Indiana reflected that, with Republican legislators sometimes (privately) griping that they were getting little guidance as to what then-Governor Pence wanted.

Despite spending over a decade in Washington DC as a member of the House of Representatives, he was never known as a wonk. None of the bills he introduced into the House became law, and he was much more focused on climbing the leadership ladder.

Now, let's address Mike Pence as Vice President.

First, are we sure he's still alive? Has anyone seen Mike?

Anyway, the beginning of the year, mainstream media wrote a lot of reports talking about the "outsized" "hat" in Trump's White House. The general consensus was that incoming Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Mike Pence were seen as the establishment figures, and had a large role in shaping much of the staff that would do the day-to-day work of the White House. Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who also lead the role as head of the communications department, was part of that group. And even though Attorney General Jeff Sessions was an early endorser of Donald Trump, his status as a former US Senator certainly put him in the Republican establishment camp too.

Nowadays, Spicer and Priebus are gone. Sessions is getting shit-talked by Trump on Twitter. And with establishment figures quickly winding down within the Trump White House, I think it is only a matter of time before that ire is directed to Pence.

Now technically, Vice President of the United States is an elected position. Pence can't be fired. He could be impeached, or be pressured to resign. Since President Trump can't fire him (and doesn't like firing people anyway), I think we'll be seeing the later at some point.

When? Who knows. Mike Pence has done a good job of making himself look good and keeping his head down. But at some point, he'll try to make a name for himself and it could backfire. And if it does, expect Trump to send up a tweet-storm and then we'll have the first Vice Presidential vacancy since the 1970s.

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