In Which Politico Attempts to Cast Mike Pence as a Suburban Sex Symbol

Charles P. Pierce
Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN - Getty Images

From Esquire

We largely retired our old nom de shebeen for Politico, largely because of the excellent work done by a) its congressional correspondents, and b) the people at its magazine platform. However, we keep it handy in case of emergencies. Like, say, this one. Welcome back, Tiger Beat On The Potomac.

The latest POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, for example, found substantially wider gaps in Trump’s favorability among registered voters (-15), suburban residents (-14) and women (-25) than in Pence’s (-6, -7, -16, respectively).

One former Pence aide, who accompanied the vice president to numerous rallies and campaign events in 2016, said his folksy Midwestern charm disarmed suburban women who openly admitted to cringing at the thought of their children behaving like Trump. He has long had the same effect with white evangelical Christians, a demographic that quickly coalesced behind Trump when he tapped Pence to be his vice president, and has largely stuck by the duo ever since.

Mike Pence—objet d’amour. Nope. Not seeing it. Not a bit of it. Not even a glimmer. And what’s with granting anonymity to somebody for as banal a quote as that? We continue.

People close to Pence use phrases like “polite pressure” and “micro-targeting” when they talk about the role he will play in 2020. If the campaign had its own line of vice presidential merchandise, T-shirts and ball caps would be emblazoned with “Reassure, reinforce” — a nod to Pence’s primary objectives as the No. 2 surrogate. “Pence just has that quality about him. Him delivering remarks in a more intimate setting is equal to Trump speaking to a 50,000-person rally in Texas,” said the person close to Trump.

(It is here where it probably should be noted that these towering skills in small groups were so powerful that the entire state of Indiana wanted Pence gone as its governor before this president* went all American Pickers and intercepted the truck on the way to the landfill.)

The most interesting part of the piece, as is usually the case for beat-sweeteners like this one, is why the piece was done and why it was done now. Plainly, a lot of someones “close to” both Pence and the president* want the case for keeping him on the ticket out there in a conspicuous way. In the deepest part of my optimistic madness, I wonder if part of the motivation for it was getting the country ready for President Pence if things go sour in the Congress. However, then my rational mind kicks back in, and I realize that the latter possibility is as implausible as imagining Mike Pence as the hot lust object at every suburban church's bake sale.

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