Okay, so Mike Pence didn’t lead the mostly Free World’s military response to Nazi Germany. And he may not have been president of Columbia University. But he has another singular attribute that Ike, as an understudy to Douglas MacArthur, would have understood. He survived 4 years of Donald Trump.
Not the Trump administration, which was excellent, but the man. The loutish, vindictive, and totally lacking in self-awareness man. To be the loyal conservative sidekick of a guy like that, even if-as sidekicks go-your Race Bannon look serves you well, is a seriously difficult proposition. But Pence pulled it off and then some. At the finish, what did he get for his noble troubles? A betrayal from Trump, when Pence wouldn’t twist the Constitution to Trumpian megalomaniacal ends, and a portable noose and gallows from the 45th president’s thuggish supporters on January 6th.
As such, Mike Pence has gained a lot of credibility as a stand up guy who puts duty and country above tawdry political calculations. A guy like that could make a superb president. He has the requisite experience in the House, as Indiana governor, and as veep. But even better, he has a temperamental advantage in this time of overheated hyperbole. He’s an adult and not a drama queen. Very much like Ike.
Right now Pence is not a frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 2024. Trump, DeSantis, Haley, Scott, and Noem are on that list. Any one of them would be superior to Biden and the last four would be superior to the first mentioned. However, Pence comes with that heroic moment on January 6th when he did his duty to America. Granted, that probably takes him out of the running in a party presently controlled by Trumpian populists. If we lived in a more mature epoch and had an electorate that was looking for reason and not emotional frothing, it would not. We haven’t seen such an America, well, since Ike.
Perhaps tempered by a depression and wars, voters then did not look for crass demagogues or weak men suffering from onset dementia. They prized leadership won under fire and a steady hand at the helm. Given their victory over fascism and ongoing struggle with communism, they weren’t looking for screaming ideologues or sidewalk Caesars in the White House. They had just beaten men like that in the European Theater of Operations. Competence mattered, maturity mattered, quiet sagacity mattered, as people who truly can lead don’t need to loudly announce their greatness every other second. Mike Pence knows that and conducts himself as such. Hopefully the former veep will stay in the public eye and President DeSantis can give him a serious Cabinet slot like Defense or State. We could do much worse than having Mike Pence striding the corridors of power once again.