Pence Is The Timepiece

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By:  RK Coffey

The slow disintegration of the Trump presidency is being met with predictable glee by his political opponents. Many are hoping for a swift end either through an impeachment or resignation via a Mueller-inspired indictment. Concurrently the Democrats are searching for ways to paint the entire Republican Party with a Trumpian brush before he is compelled to leave office so they can win control of Congress. Short of somehow getting Venezuela or North Korea to start a war, it is becoming increasingly difficult to see how The Donald will be able to serve out his full term.

Each self-imposed gaffe, ill-conceived tweet and political screw-up moves the needle closer to empty. CEOs leaving Trump advisory councils will eventually be followed by people within the administration resigning for the sake of their future careers.  If actual criminal malfeasance is not found, it will be this steady drip of incompetence and deteriorating popularity that will eventually compel Congress to act.

Until the next midterm elections, the power to remove this President from office rests with current Republican held Congress. If the leadership sees that continuing an association with their useful idiot in the White House will lead to a Democratic take-over of Congress, they will move to protect their majority. But the person to watch in this opera is not Ryan or McConnell, but rather Mike Pence.

The Republican leadership considers Trump a means to an end. Why else would they provide political support to someone who has offended everyone from Gold Star families, the disabled, and multi-billion dollar corporations to our oldest allies and a sitting Senator that is an acclaimed war hero? Granted that the Republicans couldn’t “repeal and replace” Obamacare. That very public defeat was both predictable and not nearly as important as what the Republicans have been able to achieve since January 20th including a massive roll-back of administrative regulations covering the environment and business practices and changes in immigration policies as well as the appointment of an arch-conservative Supreme Court Associate Justice.  Going forward the Republicans want to continue with de-regulation at the behest of their corporate donors, appoint a slew of conservative judges to Federal courts and pass a massive tax overhaul bill that will undoubtedly benefit their upper bracket patrons. They cannot afford to become politically paralyzed by a President without the common sense to never, ever to say anything about Nazis, the KKK and others of their ilk except that they are horrible.

The Republican leadership will eventually decide that Trump is too toxic to their ambitions. But before jettisoning the Trumpster, they will want to be certain that Pence is both malleable and able to rein in his somewhat extremist religious views to avoid a repeat performance of this White House circus. We will know the tipping point is approaching by looking at Mike Pence’s appointment schedule. When Pence is doing less ribbon cutting and is instead taking more meetings with Republican leadership, major donors and corporate money big-wigs, it’s time to look for the moving vans at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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