Since he was a very young man, Mike Pence wanted to get into politics. He was 29 when he first ran for Congress, failed, tried again when he was 31, and failed again. Then he became Indiana’s “Rush Limbaugh on decaf”, as he called himself, and when he ran for Congress the third time, in 2000, he won at the age of 41. After six successful terms in Congress, and election as Governor of Indiana in 2012, he was ready to run for President. He would run on his conservative, Tea Party record, a solid resume of accomplishment, and excellent political skills..
Back in 2013 he was taken seriously as a potential Republican nominee. I saw him at a December meeting of ALEC in Washington D.C., where he was a featured speaker, along with Sen. Ted Cruz. I saw them both, and liked Pence better. He was a natural, and gifted, politician. Cruz was not. Cruz was, and is, a brilliant legal advocate, but that’s a different skill set than what’s required of a great politician, like Reagan. Cruz is playing a part. Like Reagan, Mike Pence is a natural born Irish-American politician, and it comes easy to him.
2016 wasn’t the year for Pence. His “lane” was occupied by Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and to a lesser extent by Perry and Kasich. The financial support he needed didn’t materialize, and he didn’t run.
If Trump loses Pence will the favorite for the 2020 nomination, as he should be. He’ll be 61 and in his political prime, as prepared as a man can be for the toughest job in the world. He’d be a great President.
If Trump had political skills like Pence, he’d mop the floor with Hillary Clinton. It would be brutal. But Trump’s skill set is different than Pence’s. Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” says his grandfather told him something that every one should always bear in mind. We’re all born with a different tool kit. Some of us are good at some things, and not good at others. Pence showed Trump how to do a political debate. But is that in Trump’s tool kit? I guess we’ll find out Sunday.
I figured a few things out after seeing Trump in Reno yesterday. Trump is not a happy camper right now. I got the sense that he knows he’s in trouble, and needs to do something. He almost looked tired when he came on to the stage, but then you could see him rejuvenated by the enthusiasm of the crowd of 4,000 or so. I wasn’t close enough to him to really eyeball him, I must have been thirty feet away, standing behind four or five rows of people. I could tell he really wasn’t enjoying himself. This was work. He used a teleprompter, and stayed on message, but it was the same old, same old, the stuff he’s said dozens, if not hundreds of times before. It’s boring, and he doesn’t like doing it.
The Trump tribe are crazy about the guy, and would follow him off a cliff. If he said gee they’d turn right. If he said haw they’d turn left. They’re true believers. If he chose to exercise the Moses Option they’d go right along with him.
What could Trump accomplish as President that Pence couldn’t? Pence would win in a landslide, and be sworn in with a mandate, a mandate to implement the Trump agenda. Even if Trump wins he would remain a divisive figure. There are a whole lot of people who can’t stand him. How many people can’t stand Mike Pence?
There’s big difference between being Trump’s age, as am I, and being 57, like Pence. I, personally, was a hell of a lot stronger, physically, when I was 57, and I had more energy. I’m sure just about every man would say the same. Trump cam bow out, gracefully, and be a hero, or charge along, and humiliate himself and his family in defeat.
A lot hangs on that decision.