Thursday, January 26, 2017

For all the protests of Trump, he's a walk in the park compared to Mike Pence

Robert Reich was Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton. He's using his stature for a good cause, to keep alive the American Middle Class and the diversity of people in it. I like much of what he has to say and have even seen a few of his videos. He was a staunch supporter of Bernie Sanders when he was running for president and I appreciate his efforts to stump for Sanders during the campaign. His stature as a former member of the Clinton Administration provides for him access to high ranking current and former elected officials that allows him to get news most of us might not otherwise get.

So it is without too much surprise that I read Reich's personal recounting of an exchange with an anonymous former Republican member of Congress suggesting that most Republicans despise Trump and that Mike Pence is who they really like. Here is the exchange that you can find in Reich's public post on Facebook:
I had breakfast recently with a friend who's a former Republican member of Congress. Here's what he said:
Him: Trump is no Republican. He’s just a big fat ego.
Me: Then why didn’t you speak out against him during the campaign?
Him: You kidding? I was surrounded by Trump voters. I’d have been shot.
Me: So what now? What are your former Republican colleagues going to do?
Him (smirking): They’ll play along for a while.
Me: A while?
Him: They’ll get as much as they want – tax cuts galore, deregulation, military buildup, slash all those poverty programs, and then get to work on Social Security and Medicare – and blame him. And he’s such a fool he’ll want to take credit for everything.
Me: And then what?
Him (laughing): They like Pence.
Me: What do you mean?
Him: Pence is their guy. They all think Trump is out of his mind.
Me: So what?
Him: So the moment Trump does something really dumb – steps over the line – violates the law in a big stupid clumsy way … and you know he will ...
Me: They impeach him?
Him: You bet. They pull the trigger.
I have no doubt of the veracity of his account and experience here. I note also that the story was picked up by the very conservative news outlet, The Daily Caller. You can find their account of it here.

Yes, Trump has his problems and some might even say he's awful. While there are plenty of people protesting and making noise about how awful Trump is, they might want to take note that Mike Pence is far, far worse. Pence is a religious zealot. He would like to fashion America as a Christian Nation. We know this because of the kinds of things he has done in his home state, Indiana and his long history in politics.

I wrote this article about Pence as governor almost two years ago. While researching it, I learned how Pence wanted to make it OK for business owners to discriminate against the LGBT community based on their religious beliefs. This is just a smattering of what Pence is like.

Pence is a hard line establishment Republican. Compared to "clumsy" Mr. Trump, Pence knows how Washington works and how politics in general works. If Trump is impeached, or is removed from office some other way, and that could include voluntary resignation, get ready for a rough ride. In an article by Jeremy Scahill at The Intercept, they have taken notice of the lack of coverage of Pence, acknowledged the true and present danger of Pence as President and even as Vice President, and emphasized the enthusiasm of the religious right with Pence in the White House:
Pence’s ascent to the second most powerful position in the U.S. government is a tremendous coup for the radical religious right. Pence — and his fellow Christian supremacist militants — would not have been able to win the White House on their own. For them, Donald Trump was a godsend. “This may not be our preferred candidate, but that doesn’t mean it may not be God’s candidate to do something that we don’t see,” said David Barton, a prominent Christian-right activist and president of Wall Builders, an organization dedicated to making the U.S. government enforce “biblical values.” In June, Barton prophesied: “We may look back in a few years and say, ‘Wow, [Trump] really did some things that none of us expected.’”
To put this in context, the new Congress is 91% Christian. The majority in both houses are Republicans. According to the chart presented in this article at the Huffington Post, there are only two Republicans in Congress who are not Christian, and they are Jewish. Those Christian Republicans probably won't lose any sleep if Trump is replaced by Mike Pence.

It is also worth noting in the final passage of Mr. Scahill's article, which reads like a dossier on Pence:
President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and a slew of prominent Democrats have publicly said that Americans should give Trump a chance. 
I'm inclined to agree. This is not a call to defend Trump. I'm simply raising awareness that Trump isn't even remotely close to being as difficult as Mike Pence could be. It's nice that Mr. Reich has alerted us to an impending Trump ouster. Better still is for Reich to put that news in context with Mr. Pence waiting in the wings.
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