I am writing as a lifelong Hoosier, lifelong Republican, and long-time supporter of yours.
I have a question.
Have you had enough yet?
I saw you standing by your new boss as he insinuated (again) that Ted Cruz’s dad was involved in the JFK assassination. The expression on your face was priceless. I also saw you laughing as he mocked Ted Cruz. I did not see the humor. I would like to think that you were laughing at the irony of this ignorant unprincipled demagogue mocking a principled man who is vastly superior to him in knowledge and intellect.
And have you answered Donald’s question yet? You know, he asked you if presidents are allowed to start superPACs. He wanted to know because he was considering starting and funding superPACs to defeat Ted Cruz and John Kasich in their next election contests. What a foolish, petty, vindictive man. Or is it a brilliant strategy to appeal to Bernie Sanders’ voters? Nah, he’s just a foolish, petty, vindictive man. Can you still look your friend Ted Cruz in the eye?
I also saw that you had the opportunity to try to explain Donald Trump’s statement that he would put conditions on us coming to the defense of Estonia if they are attacked by Russia. HE PUT CONDITIONS ON THE USA AIDING A NATO MEMBER IF THEY ARE ATTACKED!!! A NATO MEMBER THAT HELPED US IN AFGHANISTAN!!! And by the way, your attempted explanation was lame. All you did was change what he said. But of course you had to do that, because neglecting to help would be abrogating our treaty responsibilities, and for many reasons that is NOT okay. But if he becomes president and actually abrogates our NATO obligations, you as vice president will have no authority to change his position in order to avert the terrible consequences of his actions.
However, it will all be okay, because I saw you on 60 minutes saying that you know Donald will listen to you if/when you need to explain something to him like, I don’t know, by attacking former primary opponents he’s being a complete jerk, looking foolish, and working against party unity. So once you talk to him I’m sure it will be fine. And you can also explain that NATO has this thing called Article 5. It basically makes it all work. And wavering in our support is simply inviting Russian aggression. Yeah, he’ll listen to you. Everything will be fine.
But, seriously, even if he would listen to you (I’m guessing he won’t) I think he has issues that run a little too deep to be fixed by a few candid discussions in the oval office. Did you read the Washington Post editorial, Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy? The WAPO editorial board made the case that Donald Trump is unworthy of even being considered for their endorsement, and indeed is a threat that must be stopped. And here’s the thing — while some of their points may be debatable, their overall argument is tightly reasoned and devastating. In fact, it is the same argument that Trump’s conservative detractors (even you, privately?) have been making all along. Governor Pence, how does it feel to be on the ticket with a presidential candidate who is accurately described by one of the nation’s largest newspapers as being manifestly unfit for office?
But could there be a solution even to Trump’s overall awfulness? It was reported that he offered to put John Kasich in charge of foreign and domestic policy if Kasich would run as VP. Unfortunately, in the alternate universe we live in, it is actually plausible that the GOP nominee would make this offer. So it is plausible that he made it to you, and you are planning on making all presidential decisions, thus sparing us the awfulness of Trump. If anything like that is going on, I hope you see that it is not a solution. For one thing, obviously, there is no way to know that he would honor such a commitment. He probably wouldn’t. Does anyone think this greedy, vindictive man would forsake the opportunity to use the levers of power to benefit his business interests and punish his enemies?
I hope that soon you will see enough to realize he is not suited to be president. When/if you see that (perhaps you have already), you need to do the principled thing: leave the ticket and denounce his candidacy. Such a move would be unprecedented, but having such a clearly unfit major party candidate is also unprecedented. You would be reviled by many, but would be respected by others. You would even have the opportunity as an insider to sound the alarm, and (if you do this in time), rally the country around a 3rd party candidate, if someone jumped in at the opportunity brought about by your warning. (The group “Better for America” is said to have a candidate to be announced soon. It is likely that the candidate will be more conservative than Trump.) With 2 such unpopular candidates (from the main 2 parties) there would be a chance of success, especially since Trump might melt down.
Or you could just go ahead and run as his VP. There’s a good chance he will lose, and you won’t have to serve under a divisive, pathologically dishonest, casually mean, epically ignorant authoritarian who wears his overall awfulness on his sleeve and has an incoherent foreign policy.
Oh, one more thing. I heard you on 60 minutes refer to Trump as a “good man”. You also said it in a speech. It is not all that common for a vice presidential candidate to refer to the presidential candidate as a “good man”, but you have already said it at least twice. Do you know why it is rather unusual to hear that from a VP candidate? Because the ONLY reason to say it is that the presidential candidate’s goodness is in doubt. (If he really was considered a “good man”, you wouldn’t have to say it.) Probably never in our history has a major party candidate’s goodness been more in doubt. And the reason is that his awfulness is so much on display.
Ok, just one more thing. About your comparison of Trump to Ronald Reagan – Don’t do that again. Donald Trump is nothing like Ronald Reagan, and his message is a sad parody of Reagan’s principled, optimistic vision. Seriously, don’t do that again. It is genuinely bad for for America’s health, as it raises the blood pressure of most of Reagan’s knowledgeable admirers. Really. I mean it.
Again, It’s not too late. There is a way out. Take it.