Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Profile in Cowardice

     So, now we know at least some of what Mike Pence told Jack Smith's investigators earlier this year. And, while we're awaiting the inevitable crocodile roar from the swamp at Mar a Lago, here's what we do know per ABC's lede:
     "Speaking with special counsel Jack Smith's team earlier this year, former Vice President Mike Pence offered harrowing details about how, in the wake of the 2020 presidential election, then-President Donald Trump surrounded himself with 'crank' attorneys, espoused 'un-American' legal theories, and almost pushed the country toward a 'constitutional crisis,' according to sources familiar with what Pence told investigators."
     So, how did Pence confront this growing crisis from the Oval Office? Well, again, i give you ABC:
     "According to sources, one of Pence's notes obtained by Smith's team shows that, days before Pence was set to preside over Congress certifying the election results on Jan. 6, 2021, he momentarily decided that he would skip the proceedings altogether, writing in the note that there were 'too many questions' and it would otherwise be 'too hurtful to my friend.' But he ultimately concluded he had a duty to show up."
      Yes, you read that right. Pence's initial response was to simply duck out and hide in the shadows, where Republicans prefer to furtively scuttle. Pence's initial reaction was to not fulfill his Constitutionally-mandated duties to simply open the envelopes, count the electoral votes and bang the gavel at the right time after certifying them.
     Obviously, that's what he eventually wound up doing. But if he hadn't, it would've made him look almost as much of a sore loser as Trump. After all, if Gore could do it in 2001 after what he went through with Bush and his army of rat fuckers, including those on the Supreme Court, then so should Pence.
     But Pence's own notes, obtained by Smith's team from the National Archives, tells us more. Even up until late December he still considered the sociopath in the Oval Office, a "man" for whom loyalty is always a one way street, a "friend".
     That "friend" painted a target on his back in that infamous 2:11 tweet on January 6th in which he wrote, "Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!"
     Within minutes, the rioters were chanting, "Hang Mike Pence!" and they broke through the police line at the west end Capitol entrance. Trump knew damned good and well they were following his tweets in real time. It was an exercise in raw power unlike what he or any of us had even seen before and he watched it all unfold during those 187 minutes of criminal inaction.
     That was Trump's endgame. As the certification drew closer and closer, that was his final, desperate gambit- Have Pence assassinated at the Capitol so the certification would proceed with... who?

     Oh, yeah. Senator Get Off My Lawn.
     In fact, while Pence was getting the dry heaves at the thought of actually doing his job, ceremonial though it was, there were already plans underway to have Chuck Grassley to do it for him. Which obviously, would've made the certification look dodgier than it should have, especially if Grassley, as many of us suspect, would've sent the votes back the states.
     So maybe the baleful specter of Chuck Grassley, and Trump, throwing the United States into a constitutional crisis was a bridge too far even for Pence.
     And it took he and his family getting hustled out of the House chamber, with the rioters getting within 40 feet of him and his own, to get him to see at least some of the light.
     And what's truly despicable about Pence's revelations in both his book and handwritten notes was that he was concerned about hurting his friend's fee fees and thought that ducking out on his duties as President of the Senate was an acceptable compromise. Such cowardice makes us shake our heads considering that Trump would've happily watched Pence's assassination on live TV from the Oval Office's dining room.
     This is exactly where Pence's mind was at during those last few weeks of the administration, that, if there was going to be a constitutional crisis on January 6, better the blame for that be laid at Chuck Grassley's feet than his. Or maybe he realized at the last minute what Grassley had planned and decided to head that off.
     In those last few weeks of the Trump shit show that began four years earlier when he bounded into the White House like a five year-old determined to be the first kid inside a newly-opened FAO Schwazrtz and leaving his wife in the dust, this is where Pence's mind was at.
     So why did he take up the gavel that morning and, later, that night? Maybe he was worried about his place in history. Maybe he honestly did care about democracy. If he did, he did so in a roundabout way. But he really, really didn't want to do this and even asked his predecessor, fellow Hoosier Dan Quayle, how he could get around certifying the votes. And when Quayle told him he couldn't, that was probably the moment Pence decided that he couldn't take the heat and planned on getting out of the kitchen.
     But a real man with a spine wouldn't have had to equivocate or deliberate for a minute. The Constitution is pretty clear- In his or her sworn duty as President of the Senate, the Vice President must count the votes and certify the election, period. Full Stop.
     Pence, being a dithering dickhead about the whole thing, thought sticking his head in the sand would've been an acceptable alternative to actually doing his job.
     So, maybe it's best that Pence dropped out of the race. Because such cowardice is not a trait we should prize in a Commander in Chief.


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