“The Idea That Pence Would Represent A New Post-Trump GOP Unity Is Fantasy”

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Robert Kuttner of the American Prospect posted this comment today as the pre-amble to his newsletter. It’s so on point.

President Pence, What’s Not to Like? I’ve heard otherwise sensible people say that removing Donald Trump would not be a good idea because then we’d get President Pence and then Republicans could regroup.

You gotta be kidding. For starters, Pence is one of the worst retail politicians in American politics.

You have to be pretty lame to be on track to face defeat as an incumbent Republican governor in Indiana. Pence agreed to be Trump’s running mate only because he was in such trouble at home.

Also, Trump’s removal and the installation of Pence would split the Republican base. Pence has none of Trump’s animal appeal as a faux-populist for the hard-core Tea Party base.

The idea that Pence would represent a new post-Trump GOP unity is fantasy. And don’t discount the power of post-Trump recriminations as Republicans face a blue blowout in the midterms.

Pence is a conventional, evangelical far-right politician. That’s poison in the socially moderate swing-district suburbs. And as a bonus—unlike Trump, there is almost no risk that Pence will blow us all up.

A weak candidate and a fractured Republican Party. Bring it on!

Bottom line on Mike Pence: he’s a loser that already ran his course in politics and he was one of the few Republicans even willing to consider the number two position on the ticket with Trump. He was predicted to lose his re-election as governor and so his options were so limited as to be non-existent: take a chance on the roulette wheel of Trump or retire young. And then there is this consideration, which is the elephant in the room that nobody talks about. There’s a better than 50/50 chance that Pence is going to go down in the Trump Russia scandal as well. American Prospect:

Unlike Gerald Ford, who was a Republican insider but a complete outsider to the Nixon White House, Pence may not have entirely clean hands.

As head of Trump’s transition team, Pence evidently knew plenty about Michael Flynn, and he may well have known a lot more. Though Pence does not have to answer to Trump’s other grave misdeeds, such as firing the FBI director after he refused to go easy on Flynn or personally profiting from office, Pence could well get swept up in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

It would be truly bizarre, unprecedented, and constitutionally tricky to remove the president and vice-president simultaneously. Something like this nearly happened in the Watergate affair, when an entirely separate investigation revealed that Nixon’s VP, Spiro T. Agnew, had extorted bribes and not reported them on his taxes while serving as Baltimore County executive years earlier. (Nixon sure had a gift for picking talent.)

Agnew was allowed to plead guilty to one criminal count, on condition that he resign the vice-presidency. That was in October 1973, only ten months before Nixon was forced out. Imagine if Agnew had succeeded Nixon.

Not only did Pence know all about Flynn, but it defies logic that as the mentee to Erik Prince for decades that he wouldn’t have known about Prince’s meeting in the Seychelles for the purpose of establishing a back channel with the Kremlin.

Just ruminating on these ideas because Trump Russia is heating up and these are issues we may be dealing with in the very near future. The raid on Michael Cohen’s office may uncover who knows what. Maybe Pence and Trump will be forced out simultaneously, an historical precedent to be sure, and then what do we have, Kevin McCarthy as president? Dear God.

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