The Emancipation of One Mike Pence?

In full football withdrawal (Pro Bowl, yuck), I spent the weekend rewatching a few of my favorite movies. One of which was Birds of Prey And the Fabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn. Politics has become such a national obsession; even a fantasy starring the beautiful Margot Robbie reminded me of Mike Pence. With the events of January sixth fresh in their rearview mirror, Republicans are making public statements encouraging their followers to bring guns to voter polls. Republican candidate for Michigan state senate Mike Detmer told a room of would-be voters, “So if you ask, ‘what can we do?’ Show Up armed,” said Detmer.

Harley Quinn’s world is set in dystopian Gotham City, where every problem is solved at the point of a gun, the blade of a knife, or an explosion; it Sounds a lot like the GOP. Much like Harley Quinn, who publicly broke up with her “Puddin,’” Mike Pence stood before a group of lawyers at the Federalist Society and broke up with his Joker. Pence is now a political target, no longer under the political protection of Donald Trump. Also, like Quinn, Pence is holding out the hope for reconciliation. To his credit, Pence did say Trump was wrong, but he made sure to hedge his comments. The former Vice President linked his words to current VP Kamala Harris, using her as a straw woman. “Under the Constitution, I had no right to change the outcome of our election, and (Vice President) Kamala Harris will have no right to overturn the election when we beat them in 2024,” Pence said.  

Mike Pence needs to read the crowd, not just the room of well-heeled lawyers he delivered his latest remarks. Pence did this before at a Lincoln-Reagan dinner in Manchester, New Hampshire, in June 2021. After saying he and the former President would never ‘see eye to eye’ on the insurrection, he followed that mild rebuke with “ but I will always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years.” Was it the complete mishandling of the Covid-19 virus, the hundreds of thousands of resulting deaths, the millions of job losses, failed businesses, two impeachments, or the crash in the economy that makes him most proud?

What is left of reasonableness in the Republican party is no longer representative of the GOP writ large. Polite applause and respectful debate from the elite are no longer the GOP. The people who stormed the gates at the Capitol called for armed conflict at polling stations, amassed weapons for war on the U.S. military and police in a Virginia hotel, plotted to kidnap the Governor of Michigan, and tried to steal an election; are the GOP. So, although Mike Pence may still be harboring the fantasy of someday being the Republican candidate for President, the party has moved well past his form of conservative crazy. Even though sponsoring a bill to strip gay people of equal rights or taking away a woman’s right to body autonomy, Pence’s trolley has not wholly jumped the tracks, and in today’s GOP, that disqualifies him. Maybe red and black variegated tights and a bat would help…?  

Continue to Vote for Change.

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