Day 361 – Letter to Vice President Pence: Sycophant-In-Chief is Not A Positive Moniker. We Think You Know That? Right?
Image from CNN
Dear Vice President Pence,
Sycophant: a person who acts obsequiously toward someone important in order to gain advantage. Synonyms: yes-man, bootlicker, toady, flunky, lackey, servile flatterer, doormat, fawning parasite. (I have combined two dictionary definitions for sycophant). Mr. Pence, I am describing you. Joel K. Goldstein, a historian and an expert on Vice Presidents who teaches law at St. Louis University refers to you as the “Sycophant-in-Chief.” Not a flattering portrayal but one which appears to be apt. My question to you is does your devotional gaze at President Trump belie your innermost feelings, or are you really that enamored of your boss, or more likely are you looking ahead to being the Republican nominee in 2024? Remember Trump cannot fire you, so what do you have to gain by being his yes-man at all times? You must think that your loyalty to him will get you that nomination, but what if the object of all those fawning gazes falls? What are the chances you will fall with him? And do Americans really want a former sycophant to be Commander-in-Chief?
Let’s look at a brief overview of your career and see how it would play in a nation-wide bid for the presidency. Harry McCauley, retired editor of the Republic, newspaper in Columbus, Indiana says, “Mike Pence wanted to be President since he popped out of the womb. He’s very ambitious, even calculating, about the steps he’ll take toward that goal.” Ok- being ambitious is not a negative, right? But what about the people you hang out with and whom you are influenced by? Here are just a few. There is Paul Weyrich, the Moral Majority co-founder, who condemned homosexuality, feminism, abortion, government imposed racial integration, and who partnered with Lazlo Pasztor, former member of a pro-Nazi party in Hungary. You called Weyrich your friend and mentor (Jane Mayer, New Yorker, Oct 23, 2017). There is Cecil Bohanan, one of two scholars in your think tank who had financial ties to tobacco-company groups and for whom you wrote an essay which stated that “smoking doesn’t kill. A greater scourge than cigarettes [is] big government disguised as do-gooder, health care rhetoric” (Mayer). You were head of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation which published an essay arguing that unmarried women should be denied access to birth control. When as governor of Indiana you in 2015 sponsored the Religious Freedom Act, which essentially legalized discrimination against homosexuals by businesses, you faced boycotts of your state and only then did you withdraw your support for the bill. In 2015 you barred resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana, until federal courts struck that down. And then there are the Koch brothers who are among your biggest supporters. Mike Lofgren, a former Republican staff member says about you, ”He [is] as far right as you could go without falling off the earth” (Mayer).
During the Trump campaign, when the Access Hollywood tape surfaced, you claimed outrage in a letter to Trump but soon decided that you could stomach his assault on women and remained as his Vice President candidate. Since then you have remained silent in the face of all of the president’s outrageous racist comments. You must know that makes you complicit in his racism. The president apparently thinks that being a racist plays well with his base; is that the approximately 36% you are counting on to win the 2024 election for yourself?
Indeed, now that you are vice president, we hear little from you except when you are praising the president, but here are a few examples of public behavior. You host a Bible study group for Cabinet officers, led by minister Ralph Drollinger who has written “women with children at home, who either serve in public office or are employed on the outside, pursue a path that contradicts God’s revealed design for them. It is a sin.” And then there are your legal troubles over Mike Flynn and what you knew and when you knew it relating to the Russian investigation.
Finally to conclude with one recent glaring Sycophant-in-Chief instance as reported in the Washington Post Dec. 22, 2017 when you were in a meeting with Trump and Cabinet members after the passage of the Republican Tax bill in which you “gushed about Trump’s accomplishments every 12.5 seconds by offering 14 separate commendations for him in less than 3 minutes. Each bit of praise was addressed directly to Trump, who was seated directly across the table from you.” Here are a few: ”You’ve restored American credibility on the world stage.” (Pew research surveyed 37 countries and found a widespread collapse of trust in the United States President and in the U.S.) “You’ve spurred an optimism in the country that’s setting records.” (CNN poll showed that 63% of Americans feel that the country is moving in the wrong direction.) “You’ve actually got the Congress to do what they couldn’t do with [the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska] for 40 years.” (Yes, he did get drilling approved in the refuge; we’ll see how that goes when the first big spill happens.)
I hope this has been an enlightening look at you, Mr. Vice President. The question is: will enough of the American voters want a president with your far right background, who may be compromised re: the Russian investigation, who is complicit with silence on Trump’s racism, who may be serving a president who may not last a complete term in office, and who as VP has done little during his term except be Sycophant-in-Chief? Think about that the next time you fix that adoring gaze at the current president.