Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Mike Pence, President In Waiting, Sits on the Wiretap Fence

Paul Ryan to Mike Pence "I give him a month. Then it's you and me, baby."

When the current president was inaugurated, the world was treated to spectacular verbosity from him, with follow-up clean-up operations from Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway, and the occasional back-up from Mike Pence and Paul Ryan. It was double-down and treble-down overload on the news, the legitimate media, talk shows, panel discussions and Twitter.

Kept afloat by the ballast of his own bombast, the president threw his weight around all over the place. China, N. Korea, NATO, Mexico, Russia—no, not that one. The majority of the American people who didn't vote for him, the press...

I have the best people, this administration is running perfectly, like a well oiled machine. I have the best ideas, even God stopped it raining during my inauguration. Can you believe it, Arnold Schwarzenegger's a loser, Sad! You're gonna love it, we're gonna get the bad dudes out. I tell you, I have the best ideas, the best people, the press, they're the enemy of the people. The American people they love me, I have the best.

So many words. Thank God some of them were leaks. There were occasional moments of stark humor. Like when Sean Spicer gathered all his staff and commandeered their phones to check if any of them were the leak. Which pleasant occasion was leaked.

And the leak about the president roaming the corridors of the WH in a dressing gown, not knowing what to do.

That was fun. There haven't been many of those moments. Mostly it's been one dark day after another as the gigantic tidal wave of alternative facts threatened to wipe truth off the face of the planet. And the flood of stinking tweeting words just kept oozing. The oozer-in-chief on a high. Nothing's gonna stop me now.

Unaccountably things started going wrong. The momentum against the bigot that had started with Hillary Clinton was a counter-tidal wave that didn't stop at the inauguration. You can lie about the truth but you can't make it go away.

Messy noisy town hall meetings affecting Republicans, Mike Flynn caught lying red-handed, push back from Democrats, investigations up the kazoo, Republicans breaking ranks, Kellyanne Conway advertising for Ivanka Trump on national TV and sitting on the WH couch without her shoes. Sean Spicer in the dog house for wearing the wrong color suit and plugging his cheeks with too much gum. SNL - damn that SNL, the losers! And Putin very silent on the mutual-admiration society.

Then Jeff Sessions. Full-blown catastrophe for the president. The runaway train of his garbled mind that we thought was already in full bolt, really bolted. Or, to use another metaphor, the pressure-cooker exploded. What had been silly tweets, annoying tweets, weird tweets, clownish, childish, suddenly became actionable lies.

And the whole well-oiled verbiage-spewing machine shut down. Silence. Sweet silence. No presidential tweets, no Sean Spicer, no Kellyanne Conway, no Mike Pence or Paul Ryan. Odd, that. But the New York Times reports that behind the scenes, various (unnamed) staff called each other and the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, in a panic. Others told the Times that the president was on a high at first, but then sounded unsure of how wiretaps were actually executed, and asked "aides and associates" if an independent source could substantiate his claims. 

This would be the president who lambasted the press for using anonymous sources and whose government refuses to insist on an independent investigation into Russian interference in the elections and possible connections between Russia and Trump and/or his staff during his campaign.

On Monday at an off-camera gaggle, Sean Spicer, clearly off his game, chose to speak about  the president's complaints at CPAC that the press used anonymous sources. Spicer was of course quizzed on the wiretap accusations made by the president without evidence. He referred vaguely to "numerous reports out there". Nobody could pin him down. Not quite business as usual.

Then yesterday Mike Pence was interviewed on Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends and broke his silence in a way that spoke volumes.

“I think the president’s tweet speaks for itself. He’s expressed himself on it. And we’re very pleased that the congressional committees have made it clear that they will look into that matter, just as they’re looking into every aspect of it.”

Double-speak for, "This is too hot to touch. He made his bed. And, when congressional committees look into the matter, I'll be pleased with whatever the outcome is." Which is double speak for "Hallelujah! We're finally going be rid of this jerk so I can be president as God has ordained." Does Mike Pence want to be President? The Indy Star reported in 2016 that as Governor, he did think of it and even "stoked talk of it". He refrained from making a commitment until the April 2015 session ended.

Indiana law prohibits anybody running for state and local office on one ballot. So a bill was put forward by Sen. Mike Delph to change the law, but it was iced, and Democratic Party Chairman John Zody said that Pence "Appears willing to let others do his dirty work for him and refuses to get his hands dirty when it comes to his presidential ambitions or running state government." 

The man doing the dirty work, Mike Delph, lost his press secretary, his title as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and his leadership role of Senate assistant majority floor leader of communications. His seat was also moved into the minority, with Democrats, and across the aisle from Republican leadership. Punished by his own party.

The reason for such severe punishment? Delph violated GOP caucus protocol that prohibits public discussion of caucus affairs. He tweeted about a same-sex marriage amendment.