INDIANAPOLIS – Vice President Mike Pence returns to Indianapolis on April 26 to tout President Trump and the Republican tax reforms. But this visit comes as his boss heads into what will likely be one of the most turbulent periods of his life.

President Trump appears to be heading into the homestretch of Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion probe, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York is investigating payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and another Playmate from his attorney and fixer Michael Cohen, whose office was recently raided by the FBI. Investigators have recovered a trove of recorded conversations that seem to involve the President’s closest friends and advisers, prompting Trump to insist that “client/attorney privilege is dead.” And on top of all that drama, Trump is also poised to meet with North Korean despot Kim Jong Un in a summit with truly scary nuclear ramifications.

Folks, this is epic stuff.

An additional subplot arose over the weekend: For the first time in their fascinating relationship, Pence found himself sideways with his boss, who has a penchant for firing subordinates via Twitter. Pence attempted to hire Jon Lerner as his national security adviser. Lerner had planned to split his portfolio with United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, and the arrangement, according to Axios, left Trump “hopping mad.” West Wing operators called the situation a “damn mess.”

Trump can’t fire Pence like he does with his cabinet. Up to this point, Pence had been so deferential to Trump that descriptions of their relationship range from “loyal” to “sycophant” to “bootlicker.”

On Wednesday, the Trump/Pence relationship was described in a new way by Axios: “What was most surprising … is how rarely the two men betray any friction. In fact, no one inside the White House has navigated Trump and the watch-your-back internal dynamic more adeptly than Pence, administration officials tell us. Pence’s unifying role has positioned him perfectly for all scenarios – solid in his standing as VP, and ready to lead if Trump were to be impeached or decide one term is enough.”

While popular with Hoosier Republicans, Trump is on thin ice nationally, with his Real Clear Politics polling composite standing at an anemic 41.9 percent. Paul Brandus, writing for Sabato’s Crystal Ball, points out that this puts Trump in the company of other politically weak modern presidents: Lyndon Johnson in 1968, Gerald Ford in 1976, Jimmy Carter in 1980 and George H.W. Bush in 1992. None of them served a second full term. Trump is the fifth president to win the Electoral College while losing the popular vote. Presidents John Quincy Adams, Rutherford Hayes, our boy Benjamin Harrison and George W. Bush were the others, and only Bush served a second term.

Axios describes the Pence modus operandi as thus: “He rarely offends or challenges Trump – and never in public or in front of others. In TV interviews, he treats the boss with deference that makes many cringe, but delights the Big Man. He has assembled his own team, loyal to him, and mostly savvy enough to keep their heads down and mouths shut. Pence is the happy, on-message Christian warrior. Since the campaign, Pence has played on his ‘aw shucks’ second-fiddle role, even joking about how much poorer he is than Trump. He told members at a Republican retreat that he comes from ‘the Joseph A. Bank wing of the West Wing.’ Trump loves that.”

The Trump/Pence union has been called the modern political “Odd Couple.” Some close to Pence fretted back in 2016 that this was a virtual “deal with the devil,” matching the profane, vulgar billionaire (as once described by Rep. Todd Rokita) with the devoutly religious, distinctly middle-class Pence. We all know that Gov. Pence’s reelection bid was on thin ice here in Indiana and the Trump lifeline was perhaps his best chance to get, in a twisted and tormented way, to the 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. address he covets.

If Karen Pence was offended by the emergence of the 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape in October 2016, one can only imagine what the Second Couple talks about at the end of a long day, with Trump’s past cavorting with porn stars and Playmates. Republican voters and evangelicals don’t seem to mind.

And the whole administration could find itself in a blender once Robert Mueller issues what will likely be the report of the 21st century.

So Pence returns to Indiana to preach tax cuts to the faithful next week. He will receive a warm welcome, if not hero’s. President Trump’s standing among Hoosier Republicans is extremely strong, though recent polls suggesting he will have a tough time carrying Indiana in 2020. An early demise of his presidency would be an anathema to Trump Republicans across Red State America. But the consolation for Hoosier Republicans is an early Trump exit would allow Pence to join the Indiana presidential pantheon of Lincoln and the Harrisons.

Pence has steered through the Trumpian figure eight demolition derby with the political attributes we here know so well: Tight talking points, maximum loyalty, and an ability (with RFRA as a notable exception) to execute policy and game plans with utter efficiency.

President Trump faces the gauntlet. In this specter, Pence is riding a rocket into history . . . one way or another.

(11) comments

Patriot23157

" While popular with Hoosier Republicans, Trump is on thin ice nationally, with his Real Clear Politics polling composite standing at an anemic 41.9 percent." Really let's show all the facts.
Presidents overall average over their whole terms (from GALLUP)
Harry Truman April 1945-January 1953 45.4
Dwight Eisenhower January 1953-January 1961 65.0
John Kennedy January 1961-November 1963 70.1
Lyndon Johnson November 1963-January 1969 55.1
Richard Nixon January 1969-August 1974 49.0
Gerald Ford August 1974-January 1977 47.2
Jimmy Carter January 1977-January 1981 45.5
Ronald Reagan January 1981-January 1989 52.8
George H.W. Bush January 1989-January 1993 60.9
Bill Clinton January 1993-January 2001 55.1
George W. Bush January 2001-January 2009 49.4
Barack Obama January 2009-January 2017 47.9
Out of 12 Presidents in 73 years President Obama is fourth lowest at 47.9%, behind Democratic Presidents Harry Truman 45.4 and Jimmy Carter 45.5 and Republican President Gerald Ford 47.2 (President Ford was not elected President, he came into office after Nixon resigned.) President Trump's numbers were not listed since he is still in office.
Presidents approval ratings at there lowest points have been historically lower than 41.9%.
Harry Truman February 1952 22
Dwight Eisenhower March 1958 48
John Kennedy September 1963 56
Lyndon Johnson August 1968 35
Richard Nixon July 1974 and Aug. 1974 24
Gerald Ford Jan. 1975 and March 1975 37
Jimmy Carter June 1979 28
Ronald Reagan January 1983 35
George H.W. Bush July 1992 29
Bill Clinton June 1993 37
George W. Bush October 2008 25
Barack Obama Aug. 2011, Oct. 2011 and Sept. 2014 38

bettermethanyou

It's interesting to me that RealClear Politics doesn't provide their methodology, it's nowhere to be found. Meanwhile Rasmussen, which polls people of political affiliation as they exist in the general populace shows Trump's approval at 50%. It was a nice try though "Patriot".

Patriot23157

The above approval ratings came from GALLUP as stated above. So nice try bettermethanyou.

bettermethanyou

Gallup? Accuracy? Please don't make me laugh. According to their methodology they don't even take voter registration into account in their polling anymore. That's not research, it's "whatever we want it to be". I'll take Rasmussen, not because they have a higher rating for Trump, but because their methodology is significantly more scientific in nature, resulting is significantly more accurate results, than any other polling organization out there. Thanks for the laugh, Patriot.

Patriot23157

Presidents 1st year accomplishments: Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Repealed Individual Mandate, Justice Neil Gorsuch, Set Record for First-Year Judicial Appointments to Federal Appellate Courts, Historic Reduction in Illegal Immigration, Crushing ISIS Caliphate, Resurgence of U.S. Economy — the American Spirit, Stock Market Records, Wealth Creation, Deregulation: Rolling Back the Militant Administrative State, Reviving the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act (VA Reforms), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Reforms, 81 Signed Legislative Accomplishments. He did all this while being under constant attack from the resistance left. Also three major Hurricanes in his 1st year. The President broke the record for the most done in 1st year, previously held by President Harry Truman.

mackjojo

Made up nonsense. This is a list of fallacies. What reputable sources back up any of these claims?

Patriot23157

Rasmussen Reports
Whether you agree with them all policy-wise or consider them significant accomplishments, is irrelevant. As a data journalism-centered site, we find records noteworthy and this is yet another record. The previous record was held by President Harry S. Truman.

Joe King

don't forget to add the 4 indictments for collusion with Russia and Money laundering....Oh, and the pornstar and playboy model being revealed that they were paid off...just saying...

Patriot23157

Show me one indictment for Russian Collusion. There are two for lying, and some for tax evasion and bank fraud. You can't just make up your own facts.

global hoosier

LIke AVenatti, Stormy's lawyer, I predict Trump will resign now that Cohen is due to be indicted.

strtdude

Howey brings up scary nuclear ramifications. Do any of you feel scared ? Are you losing sleep over it ? Get it ? So does Howey,it is his job to keep that nonsense up and running. He says the Trump administration is in a blender. More nonsense. The Trump administration is doing just what it was designed to do. Further the third worlding of America by making a joke out of the highest office in the land. In case none of you have noticed, It is our society that is in a blender. Trump and his fellow puppets are all doing just fine.

May the fascist industrialists have mercy upon our souls.

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