Vice prevaricator

After the vice-presidential debate, the polls and the media were pretty unanimous in declaring Governor Mike Pence the victor, largely on style points.

In a world where impressions count for more than substance, it is all too easy to forget the ancient wisdom of Virgil who said, “Trust not too much in appearances.”

The story line after the debates made the case for Pence’s victory with statements like “Governor Pence repeatedly turned to the camera when he answered questions, making clear he understood that the real audience wasn’t in the room but watching on TV.” “The Indiana governor was calm, cool and collected throughout a stark contrast to the fast-talking (and seemingly nervous) Kaine.” “Kaine interrupted too much and tried to say too much.” “Pence was folksy, down-to-earth, and used his previous experience as a radio show host to deftly deflect Kaine’s attack lines.”

Amazingly, even reports that noted Pence’s denial of Donald Trump’s video-recorded positions on a whole host of issues gave little weight to these untruths.

Pence was declared to be the victor because of his stylistic fabrications, which were characterized as effective deflections.

Here are some of Pence’s “effective deflections”: He nonchalantly denied that Trump had ever said that Russian thug and dictator, Vladimir Putin, was a better leader than President Obama, that NATO is “obsolete”, that more countries, including South Korea (which Pence had said previously should be denuclearized) should have nuclear weapons.

He further waved away the statements Trump has made that we should deport all undocumented immigrants, that women who have abortions should be punished, that Russia had not invaded Ukraine, and that we should restrict Muslims from entering the country.

He had no reasonable answer for why Trump promised to release his tax returns but has yet to do so, nor for Trump’s outrageous statement that “When Mexico sends its people they’re not sending their best. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume are good people.”

Arguing that Hillary is a liar or an even bigger liar than Pence does not change the fact that in his very first appearance in front of the entire nation, Governor Pence was essentially misstating the facts over and over again by saying in essence, “Trump never said those things he actually said.” Recalling the old line that “you can’t put lipstick on a pig,” a cartoonist recently depicted Pence serving as Trump’s cosmetologist.

Because of this display of masterful duplicity and charade of responding with unmistakable, easily provable falsehoods, many Republicans soon began touting Pence as their Party’s front-running candidate for the Presidency in 2020.

As his successful, self-serving performance clearly indicated, Pence’s goal for the debate was to promote his own future nomination and not Donald’s election. And now, after the release of the tape of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women, some Republicans are calling for Trump to drop out and for Pence to be made their nominee.

But shouldn’t Pence’s deft but dishonest performance raise similar concerns?

As a born-again Evangelical, he surely knows that the truth, rather than deliberate lies, shall ultimately set you free…and so should everyone who is still giving him a pass.

Let’s be perfectly politically incorrect about this. While many in the GOP have condemned other Republican leaders like Paul Ryan and Mitch O’Connell for endorsing Trump, they now want to replace Trump with the one who so skillfully applied lipstick to the Donald J. Trump pig. Many of us, including Mitt Romney, John Kasich and Bob Gates, recognized Donald Trump’s character flaws early on and swore never to vote for him.

Mike Pence, on the other hand, went out of his way to legitimize this unfit GOP Presidential nominee by continuing to defend the indefensible Donald J. Trump.

And to reward Pence’s performance, and his consistent negation of the Christian evangelical fervor he always flaunts so proudly, many Republicans now want to replace the self-admitted sex offender with his pimp.

Tim Mannello


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