That sound you heard in Washington DC, last Wednesday, wasn’t just the crash of shattering glass, but was the sound of Mike Pence’s political ambitions crashing to the floor.
Mike Pence, who attached his career to the flaps of a billionaire television star in the hopes of rising to the top spot, has discovered that Donald Trump is willing to drag those coattails through the rising muck. In the meantime, Trump kept his own hair out of the cesspool by staying seated on the back of others.
When Trump chose Mike Pence for his running mate in July of 2016, Pence filled a significant pothole in the road to the White House. Trump was a television celebrity, real estate tycoon and showman, but had never held public office, nor managed the affairs of government at any level.
Pence, on the other hand, served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, and was the governor of Indiana, before being tagged to run with Trump. Pence had a role to play in the campaign. Mike’s business-like demeanor was designed to instill a legitimacy — a professional, competent image when knitted to the flamboyant, tough-boy bully image of The Donald.
That’s the way campaigns work in the modern era. Image is king. Deficiencies in the presidential candidate are filled by the adequacies of the number two. Carter did so with Mondale. Clinton with Gore, Bush with Cheney, and so on.
The pairing can be of great benefit to the veep as well. Skilled politicians often are cursed with the television charisma of clabbered milk (think Richard Lugar, Bob Dole), and sitting near the presidential quasar can sometimes help hopefuls absorb the afterglow of the limelight.
I imagine that moribund Mike’s hopes were that he could be towed in the wake of Trump’s media star power into the White House much like George Bush, Sr. ascended after Ronald Reagan.
However, like any partnership, the sins of one are bestowed on the other. Mike Pence has paid, and will pay, dearly for his miscalculation. Yet it is difficult to blame him. On the rapper spectrum, Pence thought he was sharing the stardom line with Will Smith, only to find Ganksta N-I-P on the other end.
It’s hard to think of a person in a tougher position than Mike Pence. The man deemed just a week ago as a “real friend” by Trump and the storm-the-castle crowd, became the target two days later of the president’s “very special” protesters for failing to stymie the electoral vote certification. Some reports claim that the aim of a few rioters was literally to grab Pence and hang him.
Democrats once critical of the vice president, are now lauding him for standing up against Trump. They now consider him an ally in ousting the sitting President, and urge him to lead the petition of the 25th Amendment.
I can’t imagine how Pence will approach this final week in office. I’m sure he feels like Sampson after stopping in at Delilah’s salon for a trim. His only hope for political salvation appears to be pulling the temple down on himself.
If Mike Pence attends the Joe Biden inauguration like he plans, more attention will be focused on him than even the new president. Because by then, the decisions Pence makes in these few days — one way or the other — will secure his place in history as perhaps the most significant vice president ever.
It might not be satisfying when you have eyes on being president. But, maybe that will be enough to make amends for what Donald Trump has cost him.

John O. Marlowe is an award-winning columnist for Sagamore News Media