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Trump can "pardon" Mike Pence—and the vice-president deserves it

When Daniel Webster turned down the offer of the vice-presidency in 1839, he explained it this way: "I do not propose to be buried until I am dead."

Will Rogers said the vice-presidency is the best job in the world—all he has to do is get up every morning and say "how is the president?"

And Dan Quayle, George H. W. Bush's vice-president claimed that the responsibility of the VP can be summed up in one word, "to be prepared." Quayle was neither a linguist nor a mathematician.

Dick Cheney shot a person and Spiro Agnew resigned in disgrace. Al Gore championed the environment and Richard Nixon later became president. Categorizing the office and pigeon-holing the men who filled it are fruitless endeavors...which brings us to Mike Pence. In a job with no description other than to kind of hang around, he was incredibly adequate, almost spectacularly nondescript.

But on January 6, 2021, he can decide whether his legacy will that of a loyal political partner to the president, or as the man who tried to destroy the Constitution; for it is Mike Pence who will announce officially and formally before a joint session of Congress that Joe Biden is the 46th president of the United States, but it is a frivolous lawsuit brought by Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas that may force Pence to choose between loyalty to Trump and loyalty to the rule of law.

I believe that Pence wants to do the right thing (he has implied it) and probably will, but I also hope that Trump will sanction his doing so—that the president who honors nothing but slavish loyalty will recognize that he has received from Pence four slavishly loyal years, and that the vice-president has done his job and needs to be released from any lifetime taint of treason and/or stupidity.

Don't misunderstand me—Trump's narcissism would make it easy for him to demand that his vice-president throw the election into further chaos. But in the end, Pence realizes that Joe Biden will be the president.

Since none of us has forgotten the fall from grace of Jeff Sessions, we know that expecting Trump to come down on the side of decency is foolish; but the idea that he might not permanently sully the name of a loyal disciple lies within the realm of possibility. Of course if Mike Pence falls on his sword next Wednesday, we'll probably know why.

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