Sympathy For the Devil
(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
“Six times tonight, I have said to Governor Pence: I can’t imagine how you can defend your running mate’s position on one issue after the next. And in all six cases, he’s refused to defend his running mate, and yet he is asking everybody to vote for somebody that he cannot defend.” - Sen. Tim Kaine, 10/4/16
“Negative campaigning is wrong... A campaign ought to demonstrate the basic human decency of the candidate.” -Indiana Governor Mike Pence, "Confessions of a Negative Campaigner", 1991
Last night, while the spiritual descendants of Josef Goebbels (aka Twitter) were going crazy censoring Guccifer 2.0-loving accounts like Stalin and Mao on black beauties, something fascinating happened- An interesting Vice Presidential debate broke out.
While American voters are certainly entitled to know the upper and lower halves of a presidential ticket, it still makes little sense why they bother televising debates between those of the latter. After all, it seems the only reason to have them in the first place is so the underside of the ticket can defend the upper from the inevitable attacks, as if the cynically-chosen VP running mate has to atone for the character deficiencies of someone they perhaps often never meet prior to the convention (the classic case being, of course, Sarah Palin and John McCain). Hardly ever is the voting record or the bills signed into law or past positions of the underside tickets ever mentioned. They're like Moms and Dads called in to a parent-teacher conference to defend their troublesome children against critical educators.
And last night was no exception. According to CNN and their worthless instant polls, Pence won the debate simply by not screaming his head off like Tim Kaine, who at times looked like a balding mouse with his tail caught in a trap. Up to a point, one can understand the Senator's subdued hysterics- Pence's selective, Swiss cheese memory seemed to forget everything that Trump ever said. In fact, when called to defend Trump's most outlandish statements and actions (such as creepily tweeting about phantom porn by a Miss Universe contestant at 3 in the morning after his debacle with Hillary Clinton), Pence took the high road and simply denied he ever said or did those things.
Which, I guess, is the most sensible tack for a wildly mismatched Republican to take for being inappropriately grafted onto the campaign of a gutter-minded, gutter-sniping scumbag such as Trump. It certainly is more energy-efficient than explaining to a shadow-boxing Democrat trying to live up to Joe Biden's rabid-weasel-on-speed standard in these things how he could fat shame a former beauty contestant who probably rebuffed Trump's sexual advances. Or how he could in good conscience insult troops with PTSD or a Muslim Gold Star family who'd lost a son in Iraq or any of about 200 other atrocities Trump's visited on our sensibilities these past 16 months.
And, as the NY Times' Frank Bruni openly asked, how could a Christian conservative like Pence, who signed into law perhaps the most draconian anti-LGBT law in American history, even stand to be next to Trump after his countless infidelities, indelicacies and needless imbroglios? One word-
He Who Rides the Coattails Also Smells the Farts
And sometimes enduring the flatulence is worth it if you'll hear "Hail Columbia" every time you enter a public venue and get you into the Naval Observatory and almost unlimited access to the Oval Office, an enduring, if vague part, of American history. Don't be fooled by Pence's bland demeanor and equally bland shaved orangutan face- He's just as ambitious as anyone for a slice of the posterity pie. There is nothing else that explains how a guy like Pence can stand even being next to a guy who's been in more vaginas than Tampax and has viciously assaulted in speeches and on Twitter some of the weaker, more powerless people in this country.
Well, this also explains Hillary Clinton's "sticking by her man" after his own man's many, many indiscretions. She wanted to live in the White House, too, and get a jump start on her political career. Hillary Clinton is such a vicious bitch, she once seriously floated the idea of drone-striking Julian Assange during a State Department meeting in 2010. This handily explains why she'd hired a private dick like Jack Palladino. Palladino's the kind of seedy down-at-heels character you'd see in a lurid crime movie designed to make the real detective look heroic by conspicuous relief.
Palladino's job was to look into Gennifer Flowers' accusations against Bill Clinton by talking to co-workers, ex boyfriends, anything to destroy Flowers' credibility. As proof of how scummy this guy was and how scummy these tactics, Clinton has repeatedly denied ever hiring a private eye to discredit accusers or even of directing the movement to discredit all the women accusing her husband of sexual or attempted sexual infidelity. Mike Pence may list being a Republican third on his character check list but Hillary Clinton is a politician first and party designation be damned.
The seduction of even promised or potential power can do that to the nicest of us (and, despite her diplomatic bona fides, Hillary Clinton is not among the nicest ambassadors for the human race) and Mike Pence is just as easily seduced by being in the center of power as anyone else, especially as Donald Trump has promised to make him more powerful than Dick Cheney. No doubt, Pence, religiously regnant at the prospect, is already thinking of setting up his own Savonarola fiefdom on Capitol Hill and short-stroking dreams of Catholic primacy.
So Mike Pence will dutifully play the part of the lap dog for now and smile or grimace as the situation calls and blithely ignore Donald Trump's calliope of hatred for women, especially plus-sized ones, Mexicans, Muslims, Rosie O'Donnell and all his other high profile critics. And sometimes, it's not the idiot bloviating at the podium you have to worry about- It's the psychopath in waiting sitting in the shadows behind the podium that you have to watch. Sarah Palin proved that much and so had Hillary Clinton.