I keep seeing Mike Pence referred to as a coward. Pence deserves just about every insult you could ever throw at him. But I’m not sure “coward” is accurate. I think it actually gives him too much credit.
To call Mike Pence a “coward” is to suggest that he cares about the right thing, and that he can’t bring himself to do it. That’s not the case here, I don’t think. Pence was always going to strategically wait until Donald Trump became this non-viable, and then strategically dunk on Trump. Pence is just a careful, cautious, calculating scumbag.
Since Donald Trump entered politics, we’ve come to think of the most derangedly-behaving Republicans as the sociopaths. But when you’re talking about Mike Pence, here’s a guy who believes women should be little more than the property of their husbands, believes LGBT people should have no human rights at all, thinks that the government should exist to steal your money and give it to the wealthy, and somehow believes that God has told him to do all of these things.
Is Pence really any less sociopathic than Trump, just because Pence speaks softly? Is Pence less of a villain than Trump, just because Pence prefers using systemic voter suppression instead of violence to steal elections? In a lot of ways Pence is even more unhinged and dangerous than Trump. The only reason Pence was never as much of a threat as Trump is that Pence’s cardboard personality has ensured from the start that he’d never get any traction as a presidential candidate.
Mike Pence is no coward. That would require caring about right or wrong. It would require having some semblance of a conscience to begin with, and simply not being able to bring himself to do anything in accordance with it. Literally nothing about Pence suggests that he has a conscience, or character, or any sense of reasonableness. Pence is a particularly calculated sociopath who was willing to strategically sit back and take heat from Trump all this time, just so he could dunk on Trump cleanly once the rest of us worked so hard to whittle Trump down into irrelevance. Pence isn’t a coward. He’s something far worse. He’s the kind of sociopath who surely laughs at the rest of us for naively thinking he’s just some coward.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report