October 31, 2023

Mike Pence

“Former Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday dropped his bid for the Republican presidential nomination… ‘It’s become clear to me: This is not my time,’ Pence said at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual gathering in Las Vegas. ‘So after much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to suspend my campaign for president effective today.’” AP News

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From the Left

The left argues that Pence should never have agreed to work with Trump.

“The decision by Mike Pence to end his presidential campaign on Saturday was a bow to what had finally become inevitable… But the root of his campaign’s collapse — and, very possibly, his political career — goes back to 2016, when Mr. Pence accepted Mr. Trump’s offer to be his running mate
“‘He got it completely wrong,’ said the Rev. Rob Schenck, an evangelical clergyman and a one-time leader of the anti-abortion movement who gave ministerial counsel to Mr. Pence 20 years ago but later turned against him because of his affiliation with Mr. Trump… ‘There must have come a point where Mike either thought, ‘I can get the better of Donald Trump or I can rise above his immorality,’’ Mr. Schenck said. ‘He has had to do too much accommodation and adjustment. It might have been fatal to his leadership.’”

Adam Nagourney, New York Times

“In signing on to Trump’s 2016 campaign, there was a clear transaction at work. Pence, then the governor of Indiana, would bring a gravitas and respectability to the chaos that had surrounded Trump’s run. His conservative bona fides were unquestionable, he sat at the nexus between old-school corporate-friendly Republicans and evangelical Christians, and he would offset the latter’s questions about the irreligious man at the top of the ticket…  

“In exchange, Pence could duck out of his struggling re-election campaign and stake his claim as the heir to the party… Then, against all expectations, Pence found himself living in the Naval Observatory. Though he spent the following four years working plenty behind the scenes, publicly Pence did little to distinguish himself beyond fawning over Trump…

“Where the former president once needed Pence as a gateway to evangelicals, Trump is now their choice despite his many, many sins. Pence’s phase of the culture war, which he fought even as LGBTQ rights were on the rise, has given way to a new Trumpist version, louder and social media-driven in a way the soft-spoken Pence can’t match. And the base especially doesn’t want someone who they see as having betrayed Trump by refusing to ‘stop the steal.’”

Hayes Brown, MSNBC

“Trump is faring better today than even when he was on the cusp of the nomination in 2016, when the highest he ever got was 49% support in the final CNN poll, released the first week of May 2016. Today, the former President has been consistently parked north of 50% since April… Trump’s chokehold on the GOP has proven more durable than even some of his supporters had expected.”

Philip Elliott, Time

From the Right

The right praises Pence’s character, but acknowledges that his campaign was always a long shot.

The right praises Pence’s character, but acknowledges that his campaign was always a long shot.

“Even before election to Congress in 2000, Pence was a great proselytizer of conservative philosophy through presidency of a state think tank and through a statewide Indiana radio show. In Congress, he immediately became a fierce but always civil leader of fiscal conservatives, bravely but respectfully standing up to a president of his own party (George W. Bush) when Pence thought Bush was spending too much…

“[As governor] he was an effective tax-cutting, education-reforming chief executive who expanded early childhood offerings and road building without busting the state budget or bond rating…

“Pence’s greatest service, though, came as vice president… Most of the actually competent executive agency political appointments in the Trump administration — the Cabinet secretaries and undersecretaries who fixed the regulatory idiocies of President Barack Obama — were chosen by Pence and his staff. Trump’s border policies were an abject failure until Pence led negotiations that led to the ‘Remain in Mexico’ agreement.”

Quin Hillyer, Washington Examiner

“Critics who say he should never have accepted the VP nod should thank heaven he was there on Jan. 6, 2021. Mr. Pence stood up to Mr. Trump’s public and private pressure to stop the electoral vote count. He followed his conscience to recognize the constitutional limits of his role, and he did the right thing in a political crucible, though he had to know he was damaging his future presidential prospects…

“Mr. Pence also made a contribution this year in calling out the drift among some of his GOP competitors toward isolationism. He may have been the wrong messenger, but he offered a message that Republican voters should hear about Russia, Iran, China and an unprepared America…

“Hamas’s murderous invasion of Israel is a reminder of what can happen when a nation begins to believe it is safe from its enemies behind walls—or two oceans.”

Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“Pence’s hand was forced by his difficulty qualifying for the third debate. But there was never really any doubt that if he concluded his campaign couldn’t win, he’d get out rather than take any of the vote share from other non-Trump alternatives. Other candidates should prayerfully consider his example. At the end of the day, the political weather didn’t favor the former vice president’s candidacy. That says more about the weather than about Mike Pence.”

The Editors, National Review

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