Given the Vice President’s excellent performance Wednesday night against Kamala Harris, GOP pros who had written him off for 2024 are taking another look no matter what happens in 2020.
Mike Pence’s supposed weaknesses are myriad. Too white, too male, too quiet to rouse the base, a fine second banana, but no leading man. The same attitude caused Jack Warner, the legendarily blunt movie studio mogul, to say, “No. Jimmy Stewart for president, Ronald Reagan for best friend.” And we know how that turned out. Though the question still presents itself, is Pence Race Bannon to Trump’s Dr. Quest?
— Jeffrey Roberson (@Jroberson32) October 8, 2020
If he were to run for the 2024 Republican nomination his competition would be younger, more telegenic, and very possibly female. Names like former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, current South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Senator John Thune of South Dakota are all thought to be considering runs. Darkhorse governors like Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida can not be counted out of the equation. So, it could be a cattle call like this year’s Democrat lot.
But after 4 or 8 years of show pony Trump, granted a pony with solid achievements, the country and the party may yearn for Ward Cleaver type leadership. Though Pence, as he showed Wednesday, can provide that and more.
His deft disarming of and political jujitsu against Kamala Harris showed a slyly calculating man. A guy who patiently waited, like a camouflaged sniper, to set up his shot and then took it with stunning success. All night he lulled Harris into indifference then sprung traps she clearly was not expecting. He could do that to Republicans as well.
As a former, or sitting, veep he could raise money. As a former governor, he has led an executive branch. He now has national security credentials and is a known quantity to the people and party. Would all that work enough to make the grade?
He’d decide early, like 2021. Thus he’d have to roam the country picking up IOUs and campaigning for Republican candidates in 2022, much like another former veep did in 1966. Two years later Richard Nixon was elected president.
Pence wouldn’t be the only prospective candidate on that trail. But in office or out, especially after Wednesday, he’d suck up a lot of oxygen. And if he would be running against President Harris in 2024, he’d do to her again, probably worse, what he did to her Wednesday night.
He’d appeal big time to the evangelicals, as he’s one of them. The main street Heartland wing of the party would love him, as he’s also one of them. He has a very pro-business record, so Wall Street may come on board. And Trump? The guy is loyal. Thus probably he’d get behind Pence, and not with a knife. As such, the scenario for Pence is intriguing. It will start to play out very soon.