Mike Pence is running hard to be the Mitt Romney of 2024, the controlled opposition establishment Republican nominee who will run for president and lose gracefully. Or if he somehow wins, he will do the Left’s bidding, but in a restrained, ostensibly conservative way. The formerly genuine conservative Pence showed that again Saturday at the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, an annual event where speakers usually keep things light. The famously stone-faced former veep may have been incapable of cracking jokes, but he sure went all-in on making his remarks as heavy as possible and signaling that he would happily carry water for the Left, repeating his claim that Trump endangered his life on Jan. 6 — even as the Left’s Jan. 6 narrative is in a full state of collapse.
According to a Sunday report in the New York Post, Pence told the Gridiron Club audience, “President Trump was wrong. I had no right to overturn the election. And his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day.” Pence has said this before, and it’s a strange thing for an alleged conservative to say, as it is a prime Leftist talking point. Trump criticized Pence for lacking “courage,” and Pence has repeatedly claimed that this put his life in danger. Yet Trump did not call for any violence against Pence. The Left has adopted as a consistent strategy the contention that any criticism of Leftists is tantamount to violence and results in their being inundated with death threats from right-wing yahoos.
Of course, this never works in the other direction: Leftist criticism of patriots is never violence and never results in threats. For Pence to say that Trump’s criticism endangered him is to parrot a Leftist talking point that is designed to shut down all criticism of the Left. It’s irresponsible and short-sighted for Pence to aid and abet the destruction of the freedom of speech.
Pence even went on to say, “And I know that history will hold Donald Trump accountable.” Did Mike Pence read Das Kapital over the winter and become a true believer? It’s likewise a core Leftist talking point that history is trending in an inevitable and discernible direction, and that they’re on the right side of it. That’s why they call themselves “progressives.”
It’s unlikely that Mike Pence has actually become a Leftist, but he is certainly talking like one of their useful idiots. This is especially true in light of the fact that he went on to say, “But it was there, in that small office just off the Senate chamber, there was a small television set, and we watched what was unfolding outside — the mayhem and the rioting. You could hear it echoing outside and soon thereafter in the hallways.” This was just feeding the Jan. 6 mythology of a mob of violent, crazed MAGA protestors, stirred into a frenzy by Trump, storming the Capitol. Like the Jan. 6 Committee, Pence ignores the fact that Trump told protestors to proceed “peacefully and patriotically.”
It was also striking that he chose Saturday to say all this, after the nation was treated to startling new evidence, and a week of discussion of that evidence, of how the entire Jan. 6 “insurrection” narrative was a hoax, akin to the Russian Collusion farce. Is Pence going to claim next that he has inside knowledge that Trump was in cahoots with Putin?
His new remarks are jarring and tone-deaf, but Mike Pence actually made his choice long ago. Few recall today, especially Pence himself, what he said on Jan. 4, 2021: “I promise you, come this Wednesday, we’ll have our day in Congress. We’ll hear the objections. We’ll hear the evidence.” Yet just two days later, without explanation, he was singing a very different tune. And now this.
What Pence himself is getting out of all this remains unclear. Maybe he really does think that he can become the Republican establishment’s choice in 2024, and that a Pence/Cheney ticket could sweep him into the White House on Jan. 20, 2025. Given how the 2022 elections went, he could conceivably become the Republican candidate, although he has aroused almost no voter enthusiasm and would have to be imposed upon the electorate rather than chosen by it. If he does become the nominee, however, it’s virtually certain that he would just have been chosen to play the role of the Washington Generals facing the Democrats’ Harlem Globetrotters. From the sound of his recent statements, he would play this role eagerly.