In good if unsurprising news, theocrat Mike Pence will not be our next President. Trump’s Vice-President and insurrection resistor quit the Presidential race yesterday in Las Vegas, telling the Republican Jewish Coalition to elect “principled Republican leaders”—i.e., not Trump;
“After much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to suspend my campaign for president,” Pence, who previously served as governor of Indiana, told the audience. “Let me promise you I will never leave the fight for conservative values, and I will never stop fighting to elect principled Republican leaders to every office in the land, so help me God.
“We always knew this would be an uphill battle, but I have no regrets,” Pence added. “The only thing that would have been harder than coming up short would have been if we’d never tried at all.
“I urge all my fellow Republicans here to give our country a Republican standard-bearer that will, as Lincoln said, appeal to the better angels of our nature, and not only lead us to victory but lead our nation with civility back to the time-honored principles that have always made America strong and prosperous and free” [Ari Blaff, “‘I Have No Regrets’: Mike Pence Suspends Republican Presidential Bid,” National Review, 2023.10.28].
“No regrets”? How about regretting signing on in 2016 with the self-absorbed monster who has left the GOP hostage to an amnesiac cult of Constitution-hating insurrectionists determined to burn Congress, the Constitution, and America down to the ground? That cult has forced the GOP to abandon its Reaganite principles and anyone like Pence who dares remind the voters of those principles:
Pence framed the GOP primary as a battle between populism and conservatism, frequently decrying what he called “the siren song” of the former. He did manage to shape the debate in limited ways, pressing candidates like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to embrace a 15-week ban on abortion and assailing biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy over his lack of experience. But his calls on the GOP to rekindle their support for international engagement amid the wars in Ukraine and Israel fell flat. His own brother, Rep. Greg Pence, would not support a recent fundraising package for the European nation.
Pence may never have had much of a chance. Despite his long-held presidential ambitions — he weighed runs in 2012 and 2016 — he faced a GOP electorate that had soured on his Reagan-era brand of politics. He received only two endorsements from his barn-red home state’s Republican congressional delegation, from Rep. Larry Bucshon and his own brother [Adam Wren, “It Ended in Sin City. But Mike Pence’s Campaign Was DOA for Months,” Politico, 2023.10.28].
Even the Republican Jewish leaders in front of whom Pence surrendered forgot their principles and Trump’s own recent comments against Israel to cheer for Trump:
Of all the Republican presidential contenders who spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual conference Saturday, Trump received the most sustained applause, with some in the crowd of over 1,000 people holding their iPhones aloft to get a picture of the former president.
He made no reference to comments he’d offered just two weeks ago criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and describing Hezbollah as “very smart” in the aftermath of the attacks in Israel that had killed 1,400. Nor did the crowd seem to fixate on them.
“People judge him for what he does,” said Matt Brooks, the RJC’s chief executive officer, referencing elements of Trump’s record like moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, “as opposed to the noise.”
…“He’s got an incredible reservoir of goodwill in the Jewish community,” said Brooks. “He’s the frontrunner in a multicandidate field, and there are people supporting the other candidates as well. … But there’s no question, you saw by the response today, the strength of his support” [Alex Isenstadt, “The Stage Was Set for the Non-Trump Field. He Stole the Show,” Politico, 2023.10.28].
Republican have evidently decided the only way they can win elections is to play to the small, crass, mindless fringe who care not one whit for whatever principles a washed-up actor from California once professed and who just want to keep getting their jollies by seeing a washed-up reality-TV personality throwing insults at everyone on TV. Pence made that decision in 2016 when he agreed to serve under Trump. That decision has left him, like Mitt Romney, with no home in his own party.