Thursday, May 20, 2021


The Washington Post's Aaron Blake seems to regard this as simple political pragmatism, although he acknowledges that it's pragmatism in an unhealthy politcal climate. I think it's something worse than that:
On Jan. 6, supporters of Donald Trump broke into the Capitol in an effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election. While doing so, some of them chanted “Hang Mike Pence” ...

As they were marauding through the Capitol, Trump offered his first thoughts on the siege. He took to Twitter not to call off the dogs, but to attack Pence....

Despite all of this, Pence’s brother, Rep. Greg Pence (R-Ind.), on Wednesday voted against a bipartisan commission to look into what transpired that day....

Mike Pence himself has apparently let bygones be bygones....
Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz also remain loyal to Trump even though, as Blake notes, Trump has insulted their wives (and slandered Cruz's father). Texas agriculture commissioner George P. Bush is still a Trump loyalist too, even though the former president has attacked many members of the Bush family.

Blake writes:
Cruz, Pence and George P. Bush, of course, have rather obvious personal political calculi. Cruz and Pence clearly have presidential ambitions, and right now in the GOP that runs through Trump’s base. Bush might be the only high-profile member of his family standing by Trump, but he also just happens to be the one Bush who is ramping up his political career. He appears likely to challenge Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) in a primary in which there will be a premium on Trumpiness — or at least keeping Trump disengaged. (Paxton spearheaded the far-flung effort to get the Supreme Court to overturn Trump’s 2020 loss.)
But at least in the case of the Pences, the deference seems like a sickness. The rioters wanted to kill Mike Pence. I can understand toadying to people who want to kill you, or kill a close family member, if you're enslaved or extremely poor or otherwise desperate, but the Pences are well-off men in their sixties. Mike Pence, if he chooses, can collect his generous retirement benefits, write his books, and rest on his laurels. Greg Pence wasn't even a politician until 2017, so it's not as if choosing loyalty to his brother over loyalty to Trump would mean he'd have to give up his life's work.

I grew up hearing Cold War horror stories about people who sold out family members to the authorities, in Mao's China or in the Soviet bloc. This happened, we were told, because the authorities were so terrifying, or because the people were so brainwashed that they loved their tyrant leaders more than they loved their own families. And then there was Winston Smith in 1984, who betrayed his girlfriend after facing down the rats in Room 101.

The final sentences of 1984 tell us that Winston Smith "had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother." Those words would seem to apply to Mike Pence, who continues to speak well of the man whose goons almost killed him. Fear? Brainwashing? Probably a bit of both. In this case, Big Brother isn't the government, and it isn't a tyrant (Trump is out of office anyway) -- it's the sociopathic movement that Republicanism has become. If it runs your life, you'd better love it more than you love your family, if you know what's good for you.

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