Bye, Mike - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Bye, Mike
Former Vice President Mike Pence (mark reinstein/Shutterstock)

While giving the keynote speech at the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa last year, Tucker Carlson offered an interesting bit of advice to conservative voters more and more alienated from the political class even in the Republican Party.

Carlson offered a number of items, some of which were a bit off the beaten track — support politicians who pursue beauty in public life was one. But perhaps the most salient of his offerings was this: “You need to be really wary of candidates who care what the New York Times thinks.”

Carlson’s remarks were mostly intended, people thought, as a shot at Nikki Haley — and rightly so.

But it turns out they hit home most of all with respect to Mike Pence, who made a political brand more than a decade ago as a politician who legitimately couldn’t care less about the propagandist legacy media.

That seems so long ago, doesn’t it?

Over the weekend, Pence showed up at the Gridiron dinner, one of the hoity-toity events in Washington in which the nation’s elite news media figures gather to congratulate themselves for another year of slavery to conventional wisdom and diminution of journalistic ethics and credibility, and sucked up to the audience in ways a John McCain or Mitt Romney would be envious of.

“History will hold Donald Trump accountable for Jan. 6,” Pence told hundreds of journalists at what is typically a jocular white-tie affair. “Make no mistake about it: What happened that day was a disgrace, and it mocks decency to portray it in any other way. President Trump was wrong. His reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day.”

Pence had used similar words to talk about Trump in his book — writing that his former boss’ “reckless words had endangered my family and all those serving at the Capitol.”

But his advisers saw the Gridiron dinner as an opportunity not just to echo those sentiments but to amplify them. They also believed it would help Pence win over his most skeptical audience these days: Washington insiders and journalists who have given him short shrift in the early 2024 primary.

“This was a different audience for him,” said Marc Short, Pence’s former vice presidential chief of staff and his senior adviser.

Pence world has long believed that the former congressman and Indiana governor could occupy the adult-in-a-room 2024 lane, in that he is uniquely positioned to speak truth to power now that he is free of the constraints of the vice presidency.

“Mike is in a different place where he can be sort of free and liberated in ways that I don’t think others in the field are,” Short said. “And so I’m not looking at it as to where he is at this moment. I believe that he’s got a good pathway forward.”

We’ll go ahead and dispense with Marc Short, who’s obviously exactly the sort of failure as a political adviser we’ve come to know and hate in the Republican Party. Now that Pence has taken his advice, it’s only a matter of time before Short resurfaces as the Lincoln Project’s newest associate and we’ll be able to contemplate all of the ways, beyond the obvious contempt for the GOP base, that he might also find similarity with John Weaver.

Or at least Rick Wilson.

Because Mike Pence has immolated himself in the same way that Weaver’s clients John McCain, John Huntsman, and John Kasich turned off their own party’s base: by treating them as America’s biggest problem.

The Politico piece excerpted above even has Pence’s camp quietly modeling him after John McCain, making one wonder just how stupid these people are. Even Mitt Romney generated more excitement in the GOP than McCain did — and thanks to McCain’s flaccid, pathetic 2008 effort, the country has been subjected to the Babylonian captivity that is the Barack Obama political era, which hasn’t just lasted the eight years of Obama’s term but in many ways has continued through Trump’s term and has fully metastasized during the current Obama Redux administration of Joe Biden.

To want to emulate McCain in any way given the destructive shame of his 2008 campaign isn’t just a sign of stupidity but insanity and even perhaps treason.

Mike Pence was not this political eunuch a decade ago. What on earth has happened to him?

To be blasting Donald Trump over Jan. 6 in the same weekly news cycle in which hours and hours of footage from that unruly demonstration has surfaced to implode much of the false media narrative of that day is a tone-deafness of a sort far beyond the borders of malpractice. And yet there Pence was.

Saying this: “We were able to stay at our post in part because you stayed at your post. The American people know what happened that day because you never stopped reporting.”

Actually, the American people know what happened that day because of Tucker Carlson. The propagandists and hacks in that room lied about Jan. 6. They led Americans to believe that Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher, when in fact Sicknick died of a stroke the next day. They styled Jacob Chansley, the eccentric Navy veteran the media dubbed the “QAnon Shaman” for his primitive costume, as a domestic terrorist when footage shows that Chansley attacked no one, was not violent or even impolite, and in fact stood at the Capitol door exhorting his fellow protesters to leave the premises after President Donald Trump called for them to go home via tweet.

And Pence is sucking up to these liars and bums as though he thinks they’re his real constituency.

He didn’t even make any progress on that score. Pence cracked wise about Pete Buttigieg, the transportation secretary so awful that a recent Rasmussen poll showed that a majority of Americans are now demanding his resignation, and made a somewhat funny joke about how Buttigieg is the first person to go on “maternity leave” and in so doing give everyone else “postpartum depression.” And for his trouble, he was trashed as a “homophobe” by presidential spokeslesbian Queen Karine Jean-Pierre.

Shockingly, none of Pence’s pals at Politico or the New York Times took up for him.

We should remember that it’s Mike Pence’s fault, perhaps more than anyone else’s, that Jan. 6, 2021, happened at all. It was Pence, you’ll remember, whom Trump put in charge of his administration’s COVID-19 response. And instead of thinking for himself and showing any initiative or leadership, he turned the whole shooting match over to leftist psychotics and Obama holdovers Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci, who whipsawed the country into lockdowns, useless masking, paranoia, and economic chaos for absolutely no benefit whatsoever. The book Birx later wrote was a self-congratulatory tour de force in which she bragged about lying to Pence and Trump to keep the country terrified and locked down into a state of societal collapse. (READ MORE: Birx’s Book Damages Trump and Disqualifies Pence)

And without those lockdowns and the failed Trump administration COVID response that Mike Pence was fully responsible for, there would have been no improbable and even implausible Joe Biden presidential election victory or any reason why furious conservatives, and federal informants and other agents provocateurs, would have wanted to show up at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

But Mike Pence fancies himself a dark-horse presidential candidate next year, and that closes off the kind of introspection and mea culpas that would make him even remotely interesting to the average Republican voter. It seems he and his savant political advisers like that fine. Because after all, Pence has Politico and the New York Times as new constituencies.

For all that’s worth.

Mollie Hemingway took one look at this farce of a sellout and shook her head.

“How many decades of political history have taught everyone with a pulse that Republican pandering to the media is a fool’s errand?” she asked. “In what world does this strategy make sense?”

In Bizarro World, Mollie. That’s where.

What Mike Pence is going to find, probably sooner rather than later, is that very few GOP voters live there.

But of course, there are donors who do. And since grifting the rich is the bulk of the game in politics — and it’s certainly Mike Pence’s game now that he’s turned his coat and gone over to the “pet conservative” side — it all makes perfect sense.

Bye, Mike. You once were interesting. Now you’re just another has-been pol hustling media appearances and checks from rich dunces who don’t know what time it is.

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Scott McKay
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Scott McKay is a contributing editor at The American Spectator  and publisher of the Hayride, which offers news and commentary on Louisiana and national politics, and, a national political news aggregation and opinion site. Additionally, he's the author of the new book The Revivalist Manifesto: How Patriots Can Win The Next American Era, available at He’s also a writer of fiction — check out his three Tales of Ardenia novels Animus, Perdition and Retribution at Amazon. Scott's other project is The Speakeasy, a free-speech social and news app with benefits - check it out here.
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