Let us take a moment to consider the case of Michael Richard Pence, the former vice president of the United States, who dropped from view after the inauguration of President Joe Biden. As the new president began to repair the desolate landscape left behind, as Congress considered impeaching the former president’s incitement to riot on January 6, Pence was not to be seen. Some humanists even thought that Pence, somewhat rehabilitated by simply performing his ceremonial duty on January 6 after the murderous mob receded, would stand up and criticize The Big Lie.
But we heard nothing – Pence did not decry the actions of the man whose supporters would have hanged him outside Congress. Pence did not volunteer a word in support of democracy. It was said that he was couch hopping around Indiana, not ready to take permanent residence anywhere.
It was announced meanwhile that Pence would become a “distinguished visiting fellow” at the Heritage Foundation, the conservative Washington think-tank that never severed ties with the impeached insurrectionist president. Pence, said Heritage President Kay C. James, was “a man of faith, principle, and character [and] Vice President Pence is a heroic protector and defender of the Constitution and the values that unite us as a nation.”
Pence was largely silent, yes, until he fired up his Twitter account on Wednesday, February 17 to eulogize Rush Limbaugh, the rightwing radio talk show host who Pence idolized and considered his mentor.
“He was the anchor of Conservatism, giving voice to a movement and fighting for the ideals,” Pence tweeted.
“Rush Limbaugh’s legacy will live on for generations in the hearts of the millions of Americans he inspired. His matchless voice will never be forgotten. May God comfort his family and all those who loved him. God Bless Rush Limbaugh.”
The same Rush Limbaugh who mocked the disabled, espoused his racist view as party favors, mocked the victims of AIDS, disparaged the gay community, the list goes on. Even in the aftermath of the former president’s Big Lie, Limbaugh largely condoned the attack on Congress.
“We’re supposed to be horrified by the protesters,” Limbaugh said on his program a day after the insurrection. “There’s a lot of people out there calling for the end of violence … lot of conservatives, social media, who say that any violence or aggression at all is unacceptable regardless of the circumstances.”
But Limbaugh went further, equating the insurrection with the revolutionaries of 1776: “I am glad Sam Adams … Thomas Paine … the actual tea party guys … the men at Lexington and Concord, didn’t feel that way.”
Pence the silent, however, who could have testified before Congress about an insurrection that might have killed him, endorsed Limbaugh one final time – his mentor and the man he said was instrumental in helping him enter politics at all.
Said Pence: “Rush Limbaugh gave voice to the ideals and values that made this country great, he inspired a generation of American conservatives, and he will be deeply missed. Rush Limbaugh made Conservatives proud and he made Conservatism fun.”
Sing along with him, once more: Limbaugh “made Conservatism fun.”
Thanks, Mike Pence the bold, for filling us in on your version of fun.