The White House / Flickr mike pence...
The White House / Flickr

One thing you have to say about Donald Trump, and I mean using words with more than four letters in them. He certainly has a habit of surrounding himself with a cast of colorful characters. Steve “Multi Shirts” Bannon, KellyAnne “Alternative Facts” Conway, Sean “The Largest Inauguration Crowd” Spicer, Stephen “The Power of the President Shall Not Be Questioned” Miller, Reince “Thank you For The Blessing of Serving You”” Priebus, Jeff “Senator, I Don’t Honestly Recall” Sessions, Anthony “I Love This President” Scaramucci, and Sebastian “The Alpha Males are Back” Gorka.Quite a rogues gallery to be sure.

And who do we have here, sitting right in the middle of it all? Well, bless me if it isn’t little Mike “Mr. Library Paste” Pence. In this crowd, Mike Pence looks like Ron Weasley, with his hand-me-down robes at the Tri-Wizard ball in Harry Potter. He fits in like a pron star at a Royal wedding. So quiet, so soft spoken, so polite, so down to earth. He should be encased in a plastic hamster bubble around these people, to keep his from getting his nice, shiny shoes muddy.

Folks, don’t you believe one little bit of it. Mike Pence is not some folksy Gomer Pyle in a $3,000 suit. Mike Pence is a battle hardened, career politician Pence had enough smarts and political savvy to get elected to the United States House of Representatives, and keep doing so. And he garnered enough reputation and name recognition to come back home and be elected Governor of Indiana. Nevermind the fact that he was so shitty at it that his chances of being reelected were at best 50-50 when Trump scooped him up. Mike Pence has been around politics long enough to have seen, heard, and probably done most everything. The thought that he could be conned by a bunch of political shit ball throwing screeching howler monkeys is absurd on the face of it.

It didn’t use to matter. For a long time the job of Vice President was considered to be almost entirely ceremonial. It was kind of like being the backup quarterback on the New England Patriots. You weren’t never gonna get a snap unless Tom Brady was in the hospital in critical condition. But that’s not so true anymore. The thought of having Sarah “Caribou Barbie” Palin one heartbeat away from the Presidency may have cost John McCain the election. Joe Biden offset Barack Obama perfectly, providing sage counsel and knowledge about foreign affairs, a weak subject for Obama. And now, Trump needed a Mike Pence to provide a clean, wholesome alternative persona to his own pervert-in-a-raincoat personality.

It’s easy to let the buffoonish incompetence start to slop over to everybody else, Lord and little fishes, Trump couldn’t even get friggin’ Elton John to sing at his inauguration ball, much less attract anybody who didn’t get their degree from a university on the inside of a matchbook cover to come and work for him. It’s easy to see why he’s clueless as to what’s going on around him. Not so with Mike Pence. When Mr. Pence came to Washington, he brought almost his entire administrative staff with him from the Governor’s office. These are seasoned professional political staffers, who know what information they need, and know exactly where and how to get it. You wanna know how Mike Pence knew Michael Flynn was lying to him? Because if he really didn’t know, you would have read and heard about a departing Pence staffer for not making damn sure that Pence knew.

Do yourself a favor, alright? Don’t fall for Pence’s shtick. He isn’t some Mr. Greenjeans charachter, in a pair of Ohskosh overalls, with a stalk of straw hanging from his hair. He’s will ing to play the “Golly gee, aw shucks” fool for the same reason Kevin Spacey’s character played a weak, sniveling creep with a deformed hand in “The Usual Suspects.” Because he’s a professional. Pence ran as Trump’s sidekick in 2016 with the idea of parlaying it into a book deal and a 2020 run himself. Now that he’s actually and surprisingly the Vice President, he’s more than willing to fluff Trump on command. He can see where this is going, and he just needs to stay close to Trump long enough for the Senate to impeach Trump, and then he’s being serenaded with “Hail to the Chief.”

There’s just one small problem with this master plan, Stan. They’re not impeaching Trump. And now, the Mueller investigation has gotten out of control, expanding far beyond the sins of Trump and his doofus offspring. The problem isn’t that Pence has lied, it’s that he has lied stupidly, and obviously. Someone as simple as Pence would more likely be found in a group hoe than the White House. Pence traveled frequently with Trump to campaign appearances, and Trump is someone who couldn’t keep his big, fat mouth shut it they used surgical staples on it. If Trump knew of collusion, chances are Pence did as well, Trump coldn’t stop himself from blabbing. And since Trump was only a candidate, any conversations would not be covered by Executive Privilege. Pence was the head of the transition team, he saw any background vetting information that came in. This could be extremely damaging in terms of Flynn. With as leaky and incompetent as this White House staff is, I have a hard time in believing that not a single Pence aide would have snuffled out the fact that Sally Yates had come to the White House and spilled the beans on Flynn, and made damn sure that the boss knew about it.

But there is one silver lining to this dark cloud.Robert Mueller is “following the evidence wherever it leads” with great gusto. Mike Pence has been in too close a proximity to Trump for too long, and too many of his statements and excuses have made their way into the media, and properly ridiculed. If he hasn’t already done so, I would be amazed if Bob Mueller ends his investigation without at least poking a stick in that particular hole, just to see what slithers out. And Mike Pence is not the President, so there’s no Executive Privilege escape hatch for his staff and anybody else Mueller talks to to be able to crawl through. Don’t touch that dial.

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