Tomorrow's Monday, Friday was two days ago, and that means it's time for the Donald J. Trump administration to come on television and brazenly lie to the assembled reporters and audience in a little get-together we like to call da Sunday shows.
We need to take a moment here and give Trump designated vice-manchild Mike Pence his due. We were all somewhat flummoxed as to how the Trump-Pence combination would work out, given Trump's contempt for people with actual governing experience or, say, thoughts of their own, but what I think most of the press missed in their initial Pence coverage is that Mike Pence is, himself, about as monumentally dishonest as you could get without being Donald Trump. His willingness to set himself down and eagerly lie his hindquarters off about whatever ridiculous claim Donald Trump has made the previous week is remarkable.
Anyone who suspected Mike Pence was chosen for either his ideologies or for electoral considerations got played, once again: Mike Pence appears to have been chosen for an ability to distance himself from plain facts in a way that would cause other so-called Godly men stomach cramps. Not Mike Pence. Mike Pence can lie about anything.
And with that, let's take a look at Pence's This Week performance, Act III, an extended explanation to George Stephanopoulos as to just why, even though the soon-to-be president is clearly and unapologetically lying about millions of illegal votes being cast against him, it's "refreshing" for him to do so.
Note that this is a multi-minute conversation. Stephanopoulous is over and over again pointing out that the president elect is flatly lying. Mike Pence earnestly defends his position that doesn't give a rat's ass if his boss is lying or not:
STEPHANOPOULOS: And no one is questioning your victory, certainly I'm not questioning your victory. I'm asking just about that tweet, which I want to say that he said he would have won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally. That statement is false. Why is it responsible to make it?
PENCE: Well, I think the president-elect wants to call to attention the fact that there has been evidence over many years of...
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's not what he said.
PENCE: ...voter fraud. And expressing that reality Pew Research Center found evidence of that four years ago. [ed: Pence is lying about this, too, as the Pew Research Center author has previously stated and as Stephanopoulos himself repeats.]
STEPHANPOULOS: That's not the evidence...
PENCE: ...that certainly his right. But, you know...
STEPHANOPOULOS: It's his right to make false statements?
PENCE: Well, it's his right to express his opinion as president-elect of the United States.
I think one of the things that's refreshing about our president-elect and one of the reasons why I think he made such an incredible connection with people all across this country is because he tells you what's on his mind.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But why is it refreshing to make false statements?
PENCE: Look, I don't know that that is a false statement, George, and neither do you. The simple fact is that...
STEPHANOPOULOS: I know there's no evidence for it.
PENCE: There is evidence, historic evidence from the Pew Research Center of voter fraud that's taken place. We're in the process of investigating irregularities in the state of Indiana that were leading up to this election. The fact that voter fraud exists is...
STEPHANPOULOS: But can you provide any evidence -- can you provide any evidence to back up that statement?
PENCE; Well, look, I think he's expressed his opinion on that. And he's entitled to express his opinion on that. And I think the American people -- I think the American people find it very refreshing that they have a president who will tell them what's on his mind. And I think the connection that he made in the course...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Whether it's true or not?
PENCE: Well, they're going to tell them -- he's going to say what he believes to be true and I know that he's always going to speak in that way as president.
What a gentleman we have here. What a bold thinker. What a brave Child of God, and the rest of it. But Mike Pence has his feet planted firmly on the only dry land left in the Republican Party: Facts aren't facts anymore, what really matters in leadership is expressing a refreshing counterpoint to reality. One that will, presumably, better serve the ambitions of the speaker.
Honestly? Mike Pence is the symptom of a failed country. A nation that would elect someone like that despite listening to him is a nation in decay; once you get to the point where the point of a government is not to govern but to burnish Dear Leader's last fact-free proclamation issued from atop his golden toilet you are well afield of anything that could improve, or protect, or even minimally sustain the population that put you into power. Donald Trump you can brush aside as a one-off, or fluke; a governing coalition of the factless and dishonest, though, people willing to sell their souls and constituents both, whether it be Pence, or Gingrich, or Ryan, or McConnell, or Christie, and on it goes, took a long time to bring into fruition.
Donald Trump may be evidence that a good portion of the American people have given up on the notion of government as anything but a reality show with particularly high stakes; Mike Pence is evidence that the party surrounding Trump is indeed hollow and substanceless. A tip of the hat to him, for being the vice-poster child of a party that has decided to have no moral compass at all.
Step on up here and collect your trophy, Gov. Mike Pence. It took a lot of work to get this far, but you had it in you. You had it in you all along.