Is Mike Pence Really the Future of the Republican Party?

It was the speech the nation desperately needed.

Thirteen months ago, that is, not at the close of the news day on a dreary Friday in February 2022.

But former vice president Mike Pence’s related declaration, before the Federalist Society on Friday, that “President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election” hath some hailing him as a hero nonetheless.

“Bravo Mike Pence,” George Conway tweeted almost immediately. Federalist stalwart Conway is (not that it matters?) the husband of Kellyanne Conway, who’s about to make bank on a book about her years fluffing Trump. Mr. Conway was a leader of the petty and partisan push to impeach President Bill Clinton for you-know-what. But he turned Never Trump, and I respect him for that, but I worry that Never Trumpers are turning into Maybe Pencers… and that would be wrong. the Wall Street Journal editorial page called it Pence’s “finest hour.”

“Look, I understand the disappointment many feel about the last election. I was on the ballot,” Pence joked Friday. “But whatever the future holds, I know we did our duty that day.”

A few hours earlier, the Republican National Committee voted not only to censure Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger—both of whom voted to impeach Trump after the January 6 insurrection, and joined the House Select Committee to investigate that scandal—but to name the insurrection “legitimate political discourse.”

That’s why Pence’s 13-months-late weak-sauce rebuke to Trump was kinda brave… but also pathetic. It nonetheless won plaudits from pundits and some Never Trumpers and even some supposed Democrats—but most importantly, it inflamed the debate over whether Republicans are maybe, finally, belatedly or just-in-time pulling away from Trump and going… home. Maybe Pence is home?

The anti-choice Slinky-spined theocrat should be nobody’s idea of ​​a solid home, let someone alone who should hope to occupy the Oval Office. Whether he did something good on Friday or not, he is terrible. According to records compiled by the House January 6 Select Committee and many journalists, Pence knew pretty much everything Trump was planning—and said nothing about the treason he saw at the time. And very little afterwards, when he came into direct danger. (Believe me, I did think about whether that constituted courage. I decided it constituted loyalty to his tribe.)

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