Mike Pence was excellent last night. I had not really been familiar with him. Who knows every one-time Republican congressman? I don’t live in Indiana. So I was pleasantly surprised.
I’m not very happy with Newt Gingrich for selling out to Trump, but I could not suppress my personal preference for Gingrich as the Vice Presidential choice. Newt obviously has no real integrity, but he speaks well and delivers clear and cogent conservative ideas. Although Newt was in good form last night, I thought Pence, who followed him, actually outdid Newt as a performer, and I was able to understand, for the first time, exactly why Trump went with Pence.
Trump is not terribly intelligent and is intellectually lazy and self-indulgent, but he is not totally brain dead. If you watched episodes of “The Apprentice,” you’d find that Trump typically made what looked like the appropriate decision, he fired the contestant you and the rest of the audience thought deserved to be fired… most of the time. It is true that, occasionally, The Donald slipped into Third World Tyrant mode and arbitrarily decreed “Off With His Head!” capriciously, but by-and-large Trump’s choices made sense.
In the case of Pence, he clearly chose wisely. Pence speaks intelligently with self-deprecatory humor and projects Midwestern decency all over the place. If Trump wins, and then goes off cutting ribbons, banging White House interns, and playing golf with celebrities all day, leaving the Vice President to run domestic and foreign policy as has been predicted, things may actually work out pretty well.
If Trump wins, and then rapidly dies in office, it could be downright splendid.
However, I was reflecting on these happy thoughts, and I began to have a powerful feeling of dÃ©jÃ vu. Where had I had the same kind of thoughts before? I wondered. And it didn’t take very long, even at my age, to remember: every bloody election since 1988, in fact.
What is happening this year is really just another replay of the same deal we’ve been getting for more than a generation, for 38 years actually.
The winner of the GOP primaries is always some kind of less-than-really-principled-conservative, a Country Club Republican (George H.W. Bush), a moderate (Bob Dole), a compassionate conservative (George W. Bush), a consistent sell-out and democrat ally in the Senate (John McCain), a moderate Republican creator of Romneycare (Mitt Romney) and he always gets a hard-core, dyed-in-the-wool real conservative running mate (Dan Quayle, Jack Kemp, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan), in order to induce the GOP’s conservative base to come on board and support the ticket. Now it’s utterly non-conservative Donald Trump with Dudley-Do-Right conservative Mike Pence.
I kind of feel like I’ve been-here-done-that before, time and time again. You know the definition of insanity, don’t you? Doing the same thing, over and over again, and expecting a different result.