Having just brought the site to the attention of a lot of family and friends, I intended the next post to be on some weighty public affairs topic that retirees have time to ponder. However, a good friend called my attention to a piece that George Will just did in The Washington Post on Vice President Mike Pence:
Mr. Will’s piece is, at bottom, a visceral lament at the disintegration of the traditional Republican Party, but he does it through a blistering denunciation of the Vice President’s slavish behavior toward and in support of the President. Although I love words, Mr. Will’s use of “oleaginous,” “toadyism,” “obsequiousness,” and “lickspittle” all in the introductory paragraph took some doing ;). (For those that remember William F. Buckley, Jr., I’m wondering whether even he ever used “oleaginous”).
As for the Republican Party, Mr. Will’s despair arises from what is apparent to all: for good or ill, the party’s traditionalists have abdicated to the President and the party’s populists. (In a future post, we’ll make Noise addressing whether the party’s traditionalists and populists actually even constitute one coherent organization any longer, and the ramifications of that).
As to Mr. Pence, I made Noise last January on the Vice President’s kowtowing toward the President, supposing that Mr. Pence understands that, as with any Vice President, his primary duty is to ready himself to be President, and speculating that given the hyper-partisan circumstances existing in our country today, he and his intimates had spent time calculating whether he will better be able to smoothly ascend to the presidency “if the time comes” by now adhering closely to the President or by putting some daylight between them. (He is the one member of the Administration that the President can’t fire for disloyalty.) I concluded that he had decided that if he needs to assume power, the transition will be smoother if he now clings to the President.
Mr. Will’s venting of spleen was undoubtedly emotionally satisfying, and to a certain extent aligns with my own sentiments; however, neither of us has the responsibility of being one step away from the Presidency. Here’s hoping that Mr. Pence and his team have indeed carefully considered the factors involved if he has to assume the presidency, and have chosen the wisest course by having him so fawningly support the President. As time passes, I confess that I’m giving less credence to the approach he’s adopted. Americans like a President to be strong. Nobody of any political stripe will follow a bootlicker [perhaps the only word of the type that Mr. Will didn’t use ;)].