Mike Pence: The Most Presidential Of Vice Presidents

Mike Pence: The Most Presidential Of Vice Presidents


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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I need to say from the start that I was never a fan of Mike Pence.

For much of his political career, he advocated a brand of stifling Christianity which has no place in a pluralistic, secular society — to say nothing of the fact that he was one more relentlessly right-wing Republican.

And, then, as vice president, he seemed to imitate furniture: he just always appeared to want nothing more than to slide into the background not to be seen or heard.

And in an era of increasingly consequential vice presidents, with his obsequiousness to the point of self-abasement, Pence almost seemed like a relic of a bygone era — a vice president built for an earlier time.

But all of that changed on January 6.

Unlike many of his fellow elected Republicans who that day would make common cause with insurrectionists and seditionists storming the US Capitol to object to Joe Biden’s lawful election as the incoming president of the United States, Vice President Pence made clear that he would stand for the Constitution and stand for our democracy.

And Pence kept his resolve even as the domestic terrorists who were perpetrating their violence in the name of Pence’s boss not only denounced him for upholding our Constitution — but had the unmitigated evil to set up a gallows outside and begin chanting, “Hang Mike Pence!”

Of course, we know that the insurrectionists didn’t win that day. In no small part because our vice president absolutely did “the right thing.”

It’s clear from that moment on, Pence had stepped up to suddenly become one of the most consequential vice presidents. Even as Donald Trump held back from fully deploying the National Guard that day, it was reportedly Pence who stepped in as de facto commander-in-chief to get the Guard in place.

Also, Pence’s speech while presiding over the Senate late the night of January 6 after the terrorists had been repulsed was heartfelt and beautiful. I must admit that it even brought a year to the eyes of this non-fan.

And I suspect that history may well yet reveal that there was more to it than we are now generally aware between Trump and Pence that night of January 6 back at the White House. That the vice president’s role in defending our democracy from the madman Trump and his mob of terror goons may be even more than we’ve been led to believe.

Then in all the days that would follow in the waning Trump administration, the more Trump himself disappeared from view, Pence came out front and center. He thanked troops guarding watch over the impending inauguration. He led the security meetings back at the White House.

And, finally, Pence made the absolutely right choice to forgo Trump’s silly, cowardly early departure from Andrews and instead officially represent the outgoing administration in the peaceful transition of power at President Biden’s inauguration.

Through it all, it’s absolutely true that Pence was “just doing his job.”

And he’s not a hero, the way, say that Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman is for his actions that day of January 6, leading terrorists away from the lawmakers who they were literally hunting.

But as Vice President Pence was “doing his job” — and doing it in a most presidential fashion — it must be acknowledged that he likely made a choice which carried a personal sacrifice for his ambitions.

In doing what he did, Pence very likely threw away any chance he might have had in the near future at the Republican presidential nomination.

Again, yes, Pence “just did his job.”

But he did it knowing that he would pay a price — and he did it anyway.

And, for that, I suppose that even this non-fan owes the guy a modicum of credit.

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