By impeaching him, Democrats paved the road back for Donald J. Trump’s reputation
“Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!” With this chant emanating from one element of the capitol building invasion crowd eight days ago, we could sense the life force of the heretofore unstoppable Make America Great Again coalition subsiding before our eyes (or is it ears?). Meanwhile, Twitter’s brains were in the process of moving forward with a lifetime ban for President Donald Trump, but the social media platform seemed to think it was okay to let “Hang Mike Pence” trend for hours after the president was removed last weekend. Hypocrites! Despite a makeshift noose having been hastily erected outside the capitol building, it’s doubtful anyone seriously believed the vice president’s life was in danger. This wasn’t the Place de la Révolution during the French Revolution, was it? After all, those were left-wingers who used the guillotine to such deadly effect, killing an estimated 40,000 people in the process (not all with the guillotine, mind you), including the King and Queen (Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette) as well as the original leader of the insurgency, Maximilian Robespierre. Left-wingers understand everything there is to know about mass killing. Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao Zedong weren’t exactly lovers of liberty, were they? Ditto Adolf Hitler (head of The National Socialist German Workers' Party, or Nazi Party). Real communists and socialists say what they mean and mean what they say. Enough of the history lesson. As reaction continues to trickle in after last Wednesday’s fateful penetration and subsequent takeover of the Capitol Building by a micro-fraction of the hundreds of thousands of Trump supporters in Washington, DC that day, the Democrats are living up to their well-earned reputation for going to extremes and never letting a good crisis go to waste. I predicted that the judgmental liberal faction would use the occasion to revoke as many of conservatives’ essential liberties as possible, and true to form, they’ve done everything -- and more -- towards achieving those ends. Voting to impeach Donald Trump yesterday was just one of the excesses. Now Democrats are engaged in a great intra-party debate as to when to actually try the soon-to-be former president for supposed “high crimes and misdemeanors,” which includes telling his backers on January 6 to go to the Capitol and peacefully let their views be heard. The people inside the Capitol chanting to stretch Mike Pence’s neck aren’t representative of the whole Trump movement, (Here’s a very sane version of someone who was actually there that day. A must read.) yet Democrats make it sound like the world fell in and Donald Trump must lose his political scalp because of it. Forgiveness is a Christian concept and there’s no give in the establishment class. Anyone who might’ve figured there would be calm and forbearance in the wake of Joe Biden’s election must feel the sting of reality today. For their part, Trump and Pence met earlier this week and agreed to work together until Biden’s inauguration. If the proverbial hatchet was buried between the leaders of the Republican ticket, what’s the use of Democrats trying to punish the enemy after they’ve consented to go? Nancy Pelosi and “Chucky” Schumer have been behind some bizarre plots in the past, but this one takes the cake. The Democrats’ personal vendetta against Trump might cost them in very tangible ways this time. They could squander their only chance to make Joe Biden look capable in his early tenure. Susan Crabtree wrote at Real Clear Politics, “... The only question is whether they will send the impeachment articles over to the Senate right away or wait for Biden to complete his first 100 days and have most, if not all, of his Cabinet confirmed… “As his presidency is set to begin, Biden seems torn by these developments. He could try to change the tone in Washington by leaning on his party’s leaders to forgo another divisive impeachment fight against Trump. But so far he hasn’t. On Monday, he signaled a willingness to entertain a ‘bifurcated’ first 100 days, sharing progress on his initiatives with a Senate impeachment trial. “’Can we go half day on dealing with impeachment and half day getting my people nominated and confirmed?’ he pondered Monday when pressed on the matter after receiving his second dose of the coronavirus vaccine. ‘I haven’t gotten an answer from the parliamentarian yet,’ he said.” Sure, Joe. We’ll just bend the rules -- whatever they are -- to make sure your party can roll over Republicans and pass the Green New Deal (or something equally unwelcome and destructive) if you ask for it. And Democrats get to put on another show at Trump’s expense even if he’s on the sixth fairway at one of his golf courses, sizing up the wind direction and firmness of the green. That’ll accomplish a lot, even if the stated goal is to ensure that Trump could never run again. Q for them -- if you’re so sure that Trump has irreparably offended every soul in America, why would you worry about a Trumpian return anyway? Most Republicans would agree that Trump’s political career is finished. Not only have the usual weak-kneed #NeverTrump suspects done their latest round of squawking and kvetching, some actual reputable conservatives, such as The American Spectator’s Emmett Tyrell Jr., have declared their permanent severance from the Trump train. Assuming Trump’s reputation will revive somewhat intact, it still doesn’t mean he’d be a viable presidential candidate again. A full capitulation and a complete reversal of his tendency to punch back at everyone -- including his own vice president, attorney general, cabinet members, etc. -- could help things along. But I don’t see it ever happening. He would cease to be Donald Trump if he changed so drastically. One thing that’s lost in all of this fixation and hysteria over Trump is the fact the left hates Mike Pence almost as much as it does Trump. Pence is a much harder man to demonize, however, as his unshakably moderate demeanor and unabashedly respectable personal history are hard to assail, even for the torturers of traditional American culture. Pence is as non-controversial as Trump is provocative. If Democrats did actually impeach Trump, it would conceivably give Pence a sympathetic leg-up on the next nomination and election cycle, since he would’ve been the next-in-line when his turn arrived anyway. Should Trump see impeachment (round two) as a grand opportunity? Beyond the obvious, a wise friend of mine suggested the other day that Trump should show willingness to have the matter run through the impeachment rinse cycle. He wrote that the always-on-offense Trump should offer a press release stating, “I WELCOME this process, which like the previous one is transparently partisan and counterproductive for the country’s ‘healing’ that the Dem candidate ran upon.
“Next, the Impeachment process will afford the opportunity to achieve all I ever wanted in the first place -- but the courts saw fit not to do and the national media was complicit by failing to independently investigate. Because of the TRIAL in the Senate my arguments/evidence of the election question will be heard to the largest audience as possible. “At trial, I (or my surrogates) will be able to speak before the Nation’s news media cameras and microphone. I’ll be able to submit evidence and subpoena testimony from those entities responsible; and my side will be able to request examination of software and equipment that is called into question.” All good points. Needless to say, it will be challenging for Trump to otherwise pin down the type of national forum to present his side of the story -- and force people to pay attention to him. A senate chamber chock full of bored looking senators (like a year ago this time) listening to House managers present their case -- again -- while relentlessly watching the clock to see what time the inane Biden-agenda legislative session was scheduled to begin… It’s a dream scenario for the restoration of Trump’s reputation. The media will talk all about Trump again and Biden will shrink before public view, unable to tout his administration’s latest initiative. Nothing quite like a completely fruitless exercise to get Americans sick of Joe Biden and his trusty sidekick Kamala Harris even before their inauguration’s leftover food expires in their refrigerators. Voters will remember the president-elect had the opportunity to stomp on this absurdity before he even took office, but didn’t stand up for himself. How credible will it look for Biden to talk about “healing” and “unity” when the talking heads will instead obsess over the latest impeachment tidbit? The prosecutors will pick out the most damaging seconds of the capitol siege video and try to tie them to what Trump said. Trump will pore over the evidence and provide a reasonable counter-argument to the assertion that the election was “legitimate” and he didn’t have a leg to stand on. At the end, Trump will be acquitted by the senate. A handful of outcast Republicans who care more about the love and adoration of the mainstream media’s cable hosts will join all the Democrats to convict, but the only thing accomplished will be to make Trump look sympathetic and reasonable. And seeing the frail and weak Joe Biden every day for weeks or months will also cast a positive (in comparison) light on the robust, rested Trump. Will the schism between Trump and Pence permanently sink the latter’s career as well? It doesn’t take a genius to speculate that Mike Pence wasn’t thrilled about how the events of last Wednesday went down, and longtime friends of the vice president said they’ve never seen him so angry afterwards. Hearing a mob demanding to hang you would send chills up the spine of anyone with a beating human heart.
Still, whether he chooses it or not, Pence’s political future is inexorably tied to Donald Trump’s tenure as president. Can’t you just hear the media’s questions if he runs for office again? “When was the first time you recognized that Donald Trump was a megalomaniac who only cared about himself? Did you feel your life was in danger that day? How close did they get? Could you hear them snorting? Did you propose a rousing rendition of ‘Kumbaya’ and ‘Give Peace a Chance’ with the Democrats around you? Did you forgive Donald Trump for inciting the melee? Do you still talk? If you won the presidency, would Trump be invited to attend your inauguration?” And, “Why were you dumb enough to accept a proposal from Donald Trump to be his running mate in the first place?”
The fake news media loves sensationalism. But beyond the shiny objects, is the breakup with Trump the end of Pence’s prospects as well? W. James Antle III wrote at The Washington Examiner, “Isolated from Trump for the first time in their tumultuous term together, Pence instead huddled with congressional leaders in both parties. He more clearly denounced the attack on the Capitol than the president. When the joint session certifying the Electoral College results resumed, he said, ‘Let’s get back to work.’ …
“Other potential 2024 GOP candidates have done more to distance themselves from Trump than Pence. Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton disavowed the effort to challenge the Electoral College results. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, once Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, told Republicans history would not be kind to the president’s words and deeds on Wednesday.
“But at a minimum, any enduring split with Trump will make it difficult for Pence to enjoy the kind of advantages George H.W. Bush derived from his close relationship with Ronald Reagan in the 1988 Republican primaries. Bush 41’s vice president, Pence’s fellow Hoosier Dan Quayle, already found it difficult to establish front-runner status four years later as the erstwhile second banana to a one-term president.”
As alluded to above, Pence met with Trump and they appear to be on better footing again. Trump supporters -- at least the ones who are organized and not overly reactionary -- realize Pence was in a tough spot. Without a thorough rehashing of the evidence before a national audience (like the objectors were trying to accomplish), there’s no way the election could be overturned. We could support Trump without diving over a cliff. Pence knows that -- and so did Trump.
It's impossible to foresee how Pence emerges from the events of the past two months. Some of it depends on Biden, some is up to Trump and still another part is Pence’s responsibility. Anyone who thinks they know the political future is either a time traveler no one would dare believe or full of baloney. For now, Democrats are the latter.