Twitter Facebook Instagram Google+ Tumblr YouTube E-Mail WhatsApp Sign In Check Close snapchat
Search
Exit Clear

Will Mike Pence Supercede Dick Cheney as the Most Powerful Veep in History?

Will Mike Pence Supercede Dick Cheney as the Most Powerful Veep in History?:

It’s going on two weeks since Donald J. Trump got himself elected POTUS just for fun (Are you used to that yet? I’m not.) yet his behavior keeps reflecting one self-evident truth: for all intents and purposes, the man has never held a job—at least not the boring kind most of us are familiar with, where you don’t get to impulsively make up—or bolt from—your new responsibilities.

What seems to have left him most chastened after his November 10th Oval Office meeting with President Obama was his “now you tell me?” discovery that being president is hard work. Because he’s Trump, the lesson didn’t stick. Hapless foreign leaders have been reduced to calling the Trump Tower switchboard to break the ice but without the benefit of any prep on Trump’s end (to us, not them). Perplexed State Department and Pentagon officials ready to start the handover waited for days to hear from the incoming Chief Exec’s sock puppets. Incredibly, Trump is still holding meetings devoted to expanding his business opportunities abroad.

With only two months to go until his inaugural, a hint of concentration might be nice. Instead, Trump is lecturing roundups of big-league news anchors in his boardroom and knocking everybody from The New York Times to Hamilton’s cast on Twitter so petulantly you’d think he’d lost the race. If this is a preview of how he intends to, ahem, “govern,” then we’d better accustom ourselves to realizing our unofficial president after January 20, 2017 will be that snow-capped human acorn, Mike Pence.

It’s unclear whether Pence got the same deal that was dandled in front of John Kasich, who Trump reportedly wanted as his number two. Supposedly, Donald Jr. told Kasich’s advisers that the Ohio governor would be responsible for two modest portfolios of no special interest to pops—namely, America’s domestic and foreign policy—while Trump horsed around making America look great again. (Naturally, Donald Jr. says that’s not how it went down, and doesn’t one look at the kid’s face tell you he’s never fibbed once in his life?)

This setup would leave Dick Cheney, the most powerful veep ever until now, looking like a Chihuahua dressed up as Darth Vader on Halloween. The upside or downside, depending on your POV, is that Pence, who once cited Cheney as his role model, is nowhere near being in Cheney’s league as a black-Beltway ninja. While Pence’s stint in Congress does give him the knowledge of Washington Trump lacks, one term as Indiana’s governor isn’t exactly Game of Thrones-level training in palace intrigue.

Cheney knew the Executive Branch like the back of Machiavelli’s hand. Plus, he didn’t have to worry about anything on a par with Trump’s outrageous vanity snafuing his work, as the Bushes have always been paradoxically secure in their own limitations. They value braininess just enough to pride themselves on knowing the best people to hire for whatever requires intellect. By contrast, Pence doesn’t project authority—or even calm, which is often a dandy substitute. Given how determined Trump is to cram his Cabinet with bee-in-the-bonnet Type A obsessives, can you picture them deferring to Pence because he’s the adult in the room? Even Pence isn’t sure he’s the adult in the room.

Right now, it’s anybody’s guess whether our Vice President-elect has the IQ to get through an airline-magazine crossword puzzle unbloodied, but we do know he’s a zealot. Self-identified as “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican—in that order,” Pence was a cipher outside Indiana until he signed one of the most anti-LGBT “religious freedom” laws to pass any state legislature, only to get it clumsily amended once the backlash hit. (The law now pretends to say the opposite of what it originally meant.) Saving God’s favorite country from the Gays seems to be his ruling passion, which isn’t true of Trump, who won’t care if their rights are trampled but also won’t care if they aren’t. That indifference is Pence’s dispensation to lead an antigay crusade.

However his Vice Presidency plays out, the contrast with Joe Biden is already stark. Though he’s got other virtues, Biden is, first and foremost, the most enjoyable Vice President imaginable, making him a useful sidekick in humanizing Obama. Since Trump doesn’t appear to have any friends—the New York boldface names he hobnobbed with until recently were largely for show—he’s as uninterested in achieving that kind of chemistry as Pence is incapable of supplying it.

With a Cabinet less likely to resemble Lincoln’s fabled team of rivals than Master Chef Junior gone haywire, there’s a good chance we’ll wake up most mornings not knowing who’s really running the country. We just know who’ll be blustering 24/7 about how great he is at it, mostly likely hundreds of miles from Washington.

Playboy Social

Never miss an issue. Subscribe and save today!

Loading...