Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Mr. Pence, We Need to Talk about Donald

by Nomad

Trump's VP Mike PenceFormer Indiana Governor Mike Pence probably thought it was an honor to be asked to be Trump's VP choice. It's turned out to be just the opposite.

From the moment he   said "yeah, sure" to the offer, Donald Trump' running mate, Mike Pence, has found himself in series of ridiculous situations. 

There's no question that Trump didn't really want a running mate. Sharing the limelight isn't one of Trump's attributes. Selecting a VP was a mere politically-correct formality. Nothing Trump took too seriously.

By agreeing to become Trump's running mate, surrendering his post as governor of Indiana, Pence effectively destroyed his own political career in the pursuit of illusionary higher power. 
Pence ought to have known better.
After all, Trump didn't suddenly become the egomaniacal monster he is at this moment. It took a lifetime.
Obviously, Mr. Pence. your ambition superseded your common sense, There will be a price to pay. That price will be your continual humiliation before the entire nation. 

Unfortunate Name-Calling

One of those moments came up in the past few days. On Friday morning, Pence was speaking to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. Pence criticized the president for what he saw as conduct unbecoming:
“I don’t think name calling has any place in public life, and I thought that was unfortunate that the president of the United States would use a term like that, let alone laced into a sentence like that."
He was referring to the fact that Obama had labeled Trump "a homegrown demagogue." The dictionary describes the word "demagogue" as "a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument." 
So Obama's depiction of Trump is hardly what anybody would call a slanderous remark. 

Pence's condemnation requires more than the usual amount of political hypocrisy. After all, look at the list of names the GOP nominee has used over the last year .(h/t to Ashitha Nagesh for Metro.co.uk for compiling the list)
  • ‘Crooked Hillary’ – this one’s pretty self-explanatory 
  • ‘Corrupt Kaine’ – referring to Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine 
  • ‘Liddle Marco’ – about Marco Rubio, a former contender for the Republican nomination 
  • ‘Lyin’ Ted’ – talking about Ted Cruz, who was also in the running to become the Republican nominee 
  • ‘Crazy Bernie’ – Bernie Sanders, who was up against Hillary for the Democratic nomination 
  • ‘Goofy’ – he was talking about Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat 
  • ‘Low Energy Jeb’ – Jeb Bush, a Republican candidate and George W Bush’s brother
With the tactics of a successful playground bully, Trump's campaign has been built on the entertainment value of calling people names. Ha, ha.

On Monday, only three days after Pence's criticism of the president, Trump was speaking in the make-or-break state of Pennsylvania. In that speech, he said that Vermont senator Bernie Sanders had made a huge mistake in allying with Hillary Clinton. Sanders, said Trump, had 
"made a deal with the devil. She's the devil. He made a deal with the devil."
Trump Clinton DevilAt no time in US political history has a candidate stooped quite as low as calling your opponent the theological incarnation of evil. 
(In past elections, they considered the term "liberal" foul enough.)

Now Hillary Clinton has become Trump's devil woman. The kind of woman Cliff Richards warned us about in his song:

She's just a devil woman
With evil on her mind
Beware the devil woman
She's gonna get you from behind

But this also begs the question, who told Trump that Hillary Clinton was the devil? Putin? His priest? His neighbor's dog, Sam? 

Pity for Pence?

Apart from the name-calling hypocrisy, there's another larger question: Do Pence and Trump realize they are supposed to be working as a team?

Clearly, Mike Pence has, like a lot of Americans, just stopped paying attention to the unbalanced rants of his own running mate. 
Because most of Trump's speeches are ad-libbed and because Trump will literally say anything to get a response from his audience, Pence has no idea what Trump might say next or whether it will contradict what Pence has said the day before. 

No self-respecting politician should have ever put himself in that bizarre situation.  The conservative site RedState put it this way:
I'm not sure that I've ever seen an election before where the vice presidential nominee spends as much time distancing himself from the guy at the top of the ticket as we're seeing from Mike Pence this time around.
The article closed with a very unsympathetic summing-up to the woes of Pence.
I'd really like to feel sorry for the guy, but he could have avoided the serial self-beclowning involved in being Trump's running mate by the simple expedient of not doing it.

Looking Trump in the Eye

At a town hall in Carson City Nevada, Mr. Pence was finally asked a question he must have been dreading. Catherine Byrne, whose son is serving in the US Air Force and is currently deployed in the Persian Gulf, asked Pence:
“Time and time again, [Donald] Trump has disrespected our nation’s armed forces and veterans. And his disrespect for Mr. Khan…”
“Will there ever be a point in time when you’re able to look at Trump in the eye and tell him, ‘Enough is enough? You have a son in the military. How do you tolerate his disrespect?”
The crowd booed wildly at the woman who was, after all, asking a perfectly legitimate question.
Pence gave her this answer.
"Captain Khan is an American hero and we honor him and honor his family.”
Meanwhile, in Columbus, Ohio, Trump was saying something very different. In an interview with a local ABC affiliate, he implied that the Khan's grief was not genuine and, in denouncing him, they had a secret terrorist agenda.
"When you have radical Islamic terrorists probably all over the place, we’re allowing them to come in by the thousands and thousands. And I think that’s what bothered Mr. Khan more than anything else."
While Pence was honoring the Khans, Trump was accusing them of supporting terrorism.

A Deal with the Devil

Ultimately, the truth is that, you made this bed, Mr. Pence, so lay back and enjoy the pleasure of being Trump's running mate. However, in your ecstasy, you might want to keep in mind: It's not Bernie Sanders who has made a deal with the devil.

Back to that question in Nevada.
“Will there ever be a point in time when you’re able to look at Trump in the eye and tell him, ‘Enough is enough? 
Probably not.
Pence will continue to ignore what is becoming increasingly obvious to the rest of the nation? 
The Republican nominee Donald Trump has some kind of psychological problem. 

Pretending Trump is a perfectly normal person, perfectly capable of handling the pressures that come with the executive office must rank as the highest degree of irresponsibility. In addition, simply ignoring the Trump problem doesn't exist doesn't make it go away. 

In fact, Mr. Pence, you've become "an unbelievably nasty, mean enabler"- to quote the names that Trump once called Hillary Clinton.