Mike Pence, for all his vanilla wafer posturing, is scary. Having Mike Pence as president would be going from the frying pan into the fire, or as New York Times columnist Frank Bruni puts it, it would be going from “kleptocracy to theocracy.” Bruni is reviewing a new book by Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio and Peter Eisner, “The Shadow President: The Truth About Mike Pence.” The title can be interpreted two fold, Pence is both doing a shadow campaign for president in case Trump folds and/or Pence is the shadow to Donald Trump’s persona. “Shadow” is a psychological term to describe the dark side of human nature, i.e., the deadly sins, that which is not socially acceptable. Superficially Pence may play the straight man and he may imitate the stable Republican counterpoint to Trump, there to “muffle his madness and launder his sins” but he is equally as bigoted and misogynistic as Trump, make no mistake. Plus, he shares Trump’s over-inflated ego. New York Times:
…he did something that predecessors hadn’t and “ordered up a collection of custom-embroidered clothes — dress shirts, polo shirts, and vests and jackets — decorated with his name and the words Governor of Indiana”; the strong possibility that he wouldn’t have won re-election; his luck in being spared that humiliation by the summons from Trump, who needed an outwardly bland, intensely religious character witness to muffle his madness and launder his sins; and the alacrity with which he says whatever Trump needs him to regardless of the truth.
In Pence’s view, any bite marks in his tongue are divinely ordained. Trump wouldn’t be president if God didn’t want that; Pence wouldn’t be vice president if he weren’t supposed to sanctify Trump. And his obsequiousness is his own best route to the Oval Office, which may very well be God’s grand plan.
“People don’t understand what Pence is,” D’Antonio told me. Which is? “A religious zealot.”
Zealot, dominionist, theocrat, take your pick. Pence is the front man for a long line of evangelical wingnuts who want to take over America. This idea dates back as far as back as Pat Robertson who came up with a plan for a “Christian” takeover of the government back in the 1980’s. He and others preached that there are 97,000 elective offices in the United States and all they need to do is put a born again Christian in every one. Pence eats up this dogma with a spoon. His main financial backers have been the Koch brothers, and fellow evangelicals Betsy DeVos and her brother Erik Prince.
You can thank Pence for DeVos. They are longtime allies, going back decades, who bonded over such shared passions as making it O.K. for students to use government money, in the form of vouchers, at religious schools. Pence cast the tiebreaking vote in the Senate to confirm her as education secretary. It was the first time in history that a vice president had done that for a cabinet nominee.
Fiercely opposed to abortion, Pence once spoke positively on the House floor about historical figures who “actually placed it beyond doubt that the offense of abortion was a capital offense, punishable even by death.” He seemed to back federal funds for anti-gay conversion therapy. He promoted a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
“He is absolutely certain that his moral view should govern public policy,” D’Antonio told me.
Bear in mind, if you think Trump is a liar, Mike Pence beats Trump at that contest hands down. Mike Pence lied through his teeth about not knowing of Mike Flynn’s lobbying work in Turkey, and he avoids discussion about Trump Russia, unless he is obsequiously parroting a Trump denial of same. He speaks not at all about his benefactor Erik Prince’s Russian connections, the biggest one being his 2017 visit to the Seychelles.
All of these dots connect. Erik Prince has had lucrative contracts with the United Arab Emariti government. At one point they paid his post-Blackwater security firm, Academi, a reported $529 million to bring in foreign fighters to help assemble an internal paramilitary force capable of carrying out secret operations and protect Emirati installations from terrorist attacks. Connect that with the fact that Prince made the aforementioned trip to the Seychelles concurrently with Jared Kushner’s discussions with Sergei Kislyak about setting up a back channel. Kushner also made a trip to the Middle East with none other than Steve Bannon and Mike Flynn for the purpose of selling nuclear reactors, a nuclear start up kit if you will, to the Saudis. Plus the UAE set up the meeting in the Seychelles between Prince and Putin’s representative.
If this isn’t cozy enough for you, Jeff Sessions denied knowing of anything having to do with the back channel to the Kremlin, only to later admit that he did in fact have at least two conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. Sessions is important to this discussion because next to Pence, he is the most vociferous theocrat in government, saying “secularists are unfit for government” and the only real truth is the religious truth which Sessions and his ilk preach.
Our government is infested by the unprincipled and the corrupt as never before. Add religion to that mix and you have a toxic blend. And make no mistake, that is exactly what Mike Pence wants to brew up, for power and for profit. Mike Pence is a religious zealot and he and Sessions and Mike Pompeo would happily install a theocratic dominion in Washington if they could get away with it. Mike Pence in the Oval Office would be a catastrophe and must be avoided at all costs.