Mike Pence has long believed that his ascent to the vice presidency was the result of divine intervention, that it was all part of God's plan. If that's true, then boy oh boy, God is sure messing with his head.
What a divine disaster! For four long years he affixed his lips to the capacious tush of a tyrannical demagogue, but in return, all he got was a MAGA mob calling for his head. One of his old buddies, Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, told the press, "I've never seen Pence as angry as he was (on insurrection day). I had a long conversation with him. He said, 'After all the things I've done for (Trump),'" this was the thanks he got.
Now the squeeze is even worse. House Democrats gave him an ultimatum: Either he uses his veep powers to invoke the 25th Amendment and oust the terrorist-in-chief, or the House will impeach Trump for inciting violence against the American government.
Even though Pence took an oath to defend the Constitution "against all enemies, foreign and domestic," he isn't likely to invoke the 25th (doing so would cement his rep as a MAGA traitor), so it looks like he's destined to be roadkill. He didn't sign up for any of this. He's feeling very aggrieved.
This is what happens when you make a Faustian pact with evil.
Pence was an evangelical Indiana governor with cloudy re-election prospects when Trump's advisers (notably Kellyanne Conway) plucked him for stardom. The self-righteous moralist sealed his fate on July 15, 2016 when he married an amoral opportunist.
In the service of his own long-game presidential ambitions, and with robotic obsequious silence, he then proceeded to bless everything - the "grab 'em by the p-word" scandal, the caging of kids at the border, the hush payments to a porn star, the impeachable pressure on the president of Ukraine, the sociopathic incompetence that has helped kill 350,000 citizens, the relentless lies about our free and fair election process... the list is far too long to recap, and I doubt you have the stomach to endure it one more time.
No wonder conservative columnist George Will has called Pence "America's most repulsive public figure." Suffice it to say that Pence will be enshrined in the hall of infamy for standing astride his alpha male, rotely nodding at the latest pearls of Trumpian wisdom, like a bobblehead doll that kids get free at ballparks.
Did Pence somehow fail to notice, in all those years, that the mob boss ultimately threw every loyalist under the bus for the unforgivable sin of not being loyal enough? That every time a loyalist felt compelled to bail (to preserve a shred of dignity, or salvage a reputation, or simply flee), Trump's predictable response was to feed that person to the MAGA wolves? Did Pence truly believe, or did his God goad him to believe, that he would somehow escape such a fate?
As recently as Jan. 4, while stumping in Georgia for the two (now defeated) Republican senators, Pence was still echoing Trump's lies about election "irregularities," and vowing that on Jan. 6, during the Electoral College count, "we'll have our day in Congress, we'll hear the objections, we'll hear the evidence."
It was only when the clock metaphorically struck midnight - when he was forced to choose between the Constitution and the authoritarian, when he was forcibly hustled from the Senate chamber because the goons stoked by Trump were calling for him to be hanged - did he finally don his big boy pants and draw a line in the sand.
Too late! Whatever happens next, his abject servility will be etched in the history books. Although I suppose things could be worse. The first of Indiana's five veeps was a guy named Schuyler Colfax. He was dumped by Ulysses S. Grant after one term, and he ultimately dropped dead at a train station. Nobody knew who he was until somebody searched the body for ID.
On other hand, maybe Mike Pence's fate is worse.
Copyright 2020 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia and a Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, writes at DickPolman.net. Email him at [email protected]