Thank God for Mike Pence.
As we all know, presidential candidates tend to select running mates who will make up for the qualities they lack, and potentially reach undecideds. Pence is a calm, experienced, unwavering public servant. In other words, he’s the opposite of his easily provoked, inexperienced, and evolving boss in almost every way.
This often crosses the mind: “I wish Mike Pence were president.” I’ve thought that, said that, and others have, too. Democrats say the same thing. Let’s be honest about it, though. If Pence had run for president, he would have been an early out like Scott Walker. Too many voters hate boring. Mike Pence is nice, not dramatic or flashy, and doesn’t have a past filled with controversy.
On top of that, he’s an honorable man. His personal standards regarding his marriage, recently revealed from an older interview, show him to be focused on protecting his marriage, no matter what others think. He was largely maligned by liberals for his supposedly “prudish” behavior, but Pence doesn’t care. He knows what matters.
Pence’s presence is hugely reassuring to voters, even those on the Right who voted for neither nominee, such as myself. And he’s getting things done.
He’s a Trump Translator
This is an absolute necessity. Since his days as running mate during the campaign that would never end, Pence has been a great filter for his boss. During the VP debate, he calmly articulated his ticket’s plans for the future. He did this sitting opposite of Democrat and obvious hothead, Tim Kaine.
Now that Trump and Pence are leading in D.C., he is doing the same thing. This major role has been obvious to everyone, as CNN observed early in February. They weren’t wrong.
The role each vice president plays changes from administration to administration. With Trump, Pence has regularly been called on to say things like “what you heard there” or “the President is simply expressing” — phrases that attempt to lower the temperature on Trump comments that have angered Democrats and Republicans.
…explaining the uncharacteristically blunt Trump is not easy and Pence has regularly been asked to cool tensions and rebut critics for a President known to hold nothing back rhetorically.
On Sunday, after Trump lambasted the judge that blocked his immigration ban by labeling him a “so-called” judge, Pence tried to spin the President’s commentary as “refreshing,” not presidential overreach.
Whether you agree with Trump or not, it’s clear Pence translates his language so traditional Republicans feel a bit more at ease.
He’s a Congressional Bridge
Have you noticed that President Trump and a fair amount in Congress aren’t exactly best friends? Set aside the Democrats who hate him, and you’re left with Republicans who only feel slightly less acrimony toward him. But only slightly.
As my colleague Susan Wright noted here, Pence recently bridged the gap between his boss and the Freedom Caucus. They’ve been a popular Twitter subject for Trump as he directed frustration and accusations at them for ruining the disastrous AHCA, Obamacare’s kind of replacement.
No, we don’t have a brand new healthcare bill in Congress at the moment. That’s been moved to the back. Pence acted more as mediator than vice president, but those two seem to regularly coincide in the Era of Trump. The time is ticking for GOP members in Congress to get things accomplished before midterm elections. Hopefully, Pence will be the calm force that helps to spur things along.
He’s the Disciple of the Administration
Pence is giving great face to the administration by going forth and spreading the Trump doctrine.
The staunchly pro-life Pence ignited the crowd during January’s March for Life. He is scheduled to give the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame later next month, though some safe space students are protesting. Currently, he’s traveling through Asia, encouraging allies, and discussing North Korea, as Bloomberg reports.
Vice President Mike Pence pressed South Korea and Japan for better trade terms on Tuesday even as he affirmed U.S. support for its Asian allies in dealing with North Korea.
On the third day of a swing through Asia, Pence told a business group in Seoul that the U.S.’s trade relationship with South Korea is “falling short” and a trade agreement between the nations is under review. Later in Tokyo, he stressed the need for quick results as he helmed a new economic dialogue arranged by President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“When President Trump agreed to this dialogue, he envisioned this as a mechanism for enhancing bilateral commercial relations between the U.S. and Japan and achieving results in the near future,” Pence said before meeting his counterpart, Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso. “And I share that vision and that impatience.”
I don’t agree with everything coming from the Trump administration. I’ve flatly condemned some things and praised others. No administration should receive an automatic, broad stamp of approval or disapproval.
In regards to Mike Pence, though, it’s safe to say Donald Trump made a great choice. He is as effective a foil to Trump as there could have been. I’m not quite sure how their dynamic works, but it does.
Pence isn’t the vice president we deserve, but he is certainly the one we need. Here’s to hoping he will influence his boss for the better.