Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Friday, June 16, 2017

The King's loyal manservant

by digby

You've heard by now that Pence had to lawyer up. And I immediately guessed that Trumpie wasn't happy at the news which he would naturally see as Pence being self-serving. Hence this tweet.

This piece in the Washington Post should soothe King Joffrey:

But one senior White House official cautioned against the “toxic brew of a vice president who’s happy to be the No. 2.”

“One of his greatest strengths is that he never says no — but it’s important that he not be a ‘yes’ man,” this official added, speaking anonymously to offer a more candid assessment.

Pence suffered two high-profile embarrassments that have served to define his role in the administration’s early months: First, when he was misled about former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s contacts with the Russians, and again last month when Trump publicly contradicted him about the reasons for firing Comey.

One Pence loyalist described himself as at his “wits’ end,” adding, “There are some organizational gaps.”

One senior White House adviser said Pence was exasperated with the West Wing communications shop, which sent him out with a half-baked talking point to explain Comey’s ouster. But Pence’s office argues that Trump never undermined Pence with his public comments suggesting he fired Comey over the Russia probe; the president, the Pence team said, was simply adding more context to his decision and that it is not the vice president’s place to explain Trump’s decision-making process.

“The vice president stands by his comments and enjoys a great working relationship with all departments within the White House,” said Jarrod Agen, a Pence spokesman.

Although Trump and Pence enjoy a warm personal relationship, Pence allies say he faces two stark challenges. First, in a West Wing filled with competing factions vying for supremacy, the best interests of the vice president sometimes get lost. Perhaps more importantly, they say, Pence is simply too loyal and willing to parrot the White House message, even at his own potential peril.

One former Pence adviser described the vice president’s role within the White House as more of a “super senior staffer” than an empowered executive. Pence, who has an office in both the West Wing and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, is often seen floating in the hallways that connect to the Oval Office, not unlike other staffers. Another former aide mentioned Pence’s almost “military-style orientation toward authority.”

Faced with the revelation that Flynn had misled him over contacts with Russians, for instance, Pence had to be urged by staff to forcefully voice his frustrations with Flynn to the president, according to two people with knowledge of the incident.

And while aides said Pence does give Trump his honest and unvarnished counsel in one-on-one meetings, some Pence allies privately wish he would be bolder in asserting his opinions in the group debates the president enjoys.

The flip-side, of course, is that by publicly keeping his opinions close, the vice president — who, for instance, urged the president to withdraw from the Paris climate accord but did not crow about his victory — has not only engendered good will with Trump, but also managed to often steer clear of the sniping and power struggles that plague the administration.

“Pence has found a way to execute the balance between having enormous influence and being an honest broker, which is a hard thing to pull off,” said Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

[Shadow president or mere shadow? Pence seeks to reassure allies unnerved by Trump]

The vice president — who routinely tamps down talk of a future “President Pence” — raised suspicions among Trump loyalists when he launched his leadership PAC, “Great America Committee” in mid-May, just a week after Trump fired Comey and during a moment of particular political danger for the president. Though the group had been long-planned and approved at the highest levels of the White House — the outside group can, for instance, help pay for travel expenses related to campaigning — the timing was inauspicious.

Some in the West Wing wondered if the vice president was trying to position himself at the expense of Trump, and Roger Stone, a longtime confidant of the president, took to Twitter. “No Vice President in modern history had their own PAC less than 6 months into the President’s first term,” Stone wrote. “Hmmmm.”

Pence’s leadership PAC team had originally planned a bigger rollout, which they quickly scrapped, and both Ayers and Obst stressed to Trump aides that the group had been in the works for several months and was intended solely to help the vice president push the administration’s agenda across the country.

[...]Trump initially chose Pence, in part, because he looked like a vice president out of central casting — a sort of generically handsome politician, with a close-cropped helmet of white hair and a compact physique that seemed to recall an iconic, Republican male from a bygone era.

But under Trump, Pence, who heaps plaudits on Trump and frequently refers to his “broad-shouldered leadership,” has in some ways become a parody of a deferential vice president — a servant in waiting, eager to serve his master’s whims.

One Republican operative remembers a meeting with business leaders in the Roosevelt Room, to which Pence arrived late. Though there was an open seat at the table reserved for Pence near Trump, the operative recalled, the vice president stood on the outskirts of the room like a staffer before waiting for a break in the conversation to take his seat.

Others say differences in background and temperament have also prevented Pence from ever becoming a true Trump confidant. The president, after all, habitually evaluates others based on their personal wealth, and Pence — who joked on the campaign trail that he and Trump were separated by “a whole bunch of zeros” — can never compete with Trump’s mogul friends.

People familiar with the interactions between the two men say the president often finds ways to remind Pence who is the ultimate boss. He jokingly yet repeatedly ribs Pence for, as Indiana governor, endorsing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) over him in the state’s primary and often teases Pence about his far smaller crowd sizes — a quip Pence himself has deployed.

One person recalled that sometimes, when Pence speaks in a meeting, the president offers him a verbal pat on the head. “Wasn’t he a great pick?” Trump will say, with the tone of a dad whose kid finally said something useful.

Joel Goldstein, a vice presidential expert and law professor at St. Louis University, noted that Pence seems to enjoy significant face time with Trump and serves as a liaison to Capitol Hill, but added that he can come off as “sort of a sycophant-in-chief.”

“He runs a real risk in that so often his celebration of Trump is focused on how great Trump is, and not on the substance of the specific policies he’s trying to sell, and so I think that can end up making him look like he’s just sort of weak and not presidential and not dignified,” Goldstein said.
During a frenzied day when it looked like Trump might withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, Pence served as a conduit to the business community, many whose members called to voice their alarm. “I hear you,” he told the worried executives. “I’ll be right back to you.”

And once Trump had decided to remain in the trade agreement, Pence again reported back, telling them matter-of-factly, “It’s been taken care of.” Pence, one Republican operative noted, never tried to claim any credit for the president’s reversal.
He wouldn't want to make the King angry, would he?