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The Right Resistance: Mike Pence’s Freedom Agenda is a winner; is he back in the 2024 conversation?

Did Mike Pence just beat Donald Trump to the punch?

Less than a week before Easter, I’m not quite prepared to suggest that Pence’s political career is on the verge of a classic American resurrection, but it might be close. The former vice president under former president Donald Trump has taken a lot of lumps from all directions since his apparent refusal to upset the counting of the 2020 Electoral Votes, and many, many, including myself, left the mild-mannered gentleman from Indiana on the funeral pyre of expired politicians.


A little like Trump himself after the horrific month of January last year, Pence has slowly begun to display a little life, which has led to speculation that maybe his future prospects aren’t quite as bleak as they looked in the weeks after the 1/6/21 debacle at the Capitol. The 62-year-old former constitutional second-in-line still looks as young and fresh as he did when reciting his oath of office over five years ago and he’s taken all the right steps lately to reinsert his name into the 2024 Republican presidential nomination conversation.


How far Mike gets is yet to be seen, but at least now it doesn’t appear his chances are as remote as a dart thrown at a board in a pitch-black room scoring a bullseye. Pence launched his own political group, Advancing American Freedom (AAF) and devised his set of governing principles, simply known as the “Freedom Agenda”, and he’s beginning to draw attention from observers who might long for the policy direction of the previous administration yet are still searching for possible alternatives to Donald Trump part deux.


Longtime conservative columnist and commentator Cal Thomas wrote at The Washington Times:


“[Mr. Pence's] proposed reforms begin with culture. To him that includes ending federal funding of abortion and promoting adoption; teaching patriotism in public schools; supporting law enforcement and repealing bail reform laws; finishing building the border wall and deporting all undocumented migrant criminals and gang members; ending amnesty and sanctuary cities; make in-person voting the primary method for casting ballots while always requiring voter identification; save and protect women’s sports.


“In reference to his and Mr. Trump’s administration, Mr. Pence proposes to ‘Re-establish policies that promote not just American energy independence, but also American energy dominance.’ He wants universal school choice and the elimination of the Department of Education. Ronald Reagan’s secretary of education, William Bennett, tried that but failed because Congress wouldn’t go along. Maybe a Republican Congress and later president would now, especially with all the controversy surrounding school boards and the nonacademic subjects the left wants to force on children, starting in kindergarten.


“There’s plenty more in the entire document, which Mr. Pence hopes will work for Republican candidates in the coming election.”


Yes indeed, there is much more. Check out Advancing American Freedom’s website and have a look for yourself. In his piece, Thomas compared the Freedom Agenda with Newt Gingrich’s and Dick Armey’s Contract with America, the center point of the GOP’s 1994 push to recapture the House majority after Bill Clinton’s tumultuous first two years in office.


Big Bubba Bill tasked wife Hillary with formulating a plan for national healthcare, which was heartily unpopular. Gingrich saw an opening and ran with it. Will Mike Pence’s “Freedom Agenda” enjoy similar success? Like with the original Contract, Pence’s ideas were introduced to help Republican candidates ahead of this year’s midterm elections, but could easily serve as the foundation for a 2024 presidential campaign as well.


The mystery is whether Pence himself could garner the type of enthusiasm and grassroots backing that his old boss did in 2015/2016. That’s a mighty big “if”, but there are a number of factors in Mike’s favor should he decide to give it a shot:


First, Joe Biden’s administration is every bit as awful as Trump and Pence indicated it would be during the 2020 campaign. It’s hard to recall now, but the vice president’s late August Republican convention speech -- delivered against the dramatic backdrop of Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbor (Where Francis Scott Key famously penned his legendary ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ poem) was themed “Joe Biden’s America.”


Don’t forget that Pence (among others) received a heavy dose of criticism for speaking to a respectably sized gathering outdoors during the height of COVID-19 national fright. I don’t recall the “super spreader” term being specifically applied to the occasion, but scaredy-cat Democrats and the hypersensitive Trump-hating media couldn’t get enough of branding Republicans like Pence as irresponsible for daring to defy the oppressive lockdowns imposed by Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx. Pretty much everything Pence predicted on that night has come to pass. It might be worth revisiting what the vice president said. He was a good man then, and still is. Joe Biden’s corruption and incompetence is assisting Pence in demonstrating it. Second, Kamala Harris has aided Pence by highlighting how important the vice presidency can be in American politics.


It's safe to say, Americans don’t really think much about the vice presidency unless the vice president him/herself injects himself/herself into the news. For four years, Pence let Trump do the talking and worked behind the scenes to steer the political novice on policy. Harris has been loathsome in her public deportment and doesn’t know squat about policy other than always choosing the most “woke” option to promote. Like with Biden, Harris’s putrid performance as VP will shine a positive light on Pence’s relatively quiet and respectable tenure as Trump’s veep. Some conservatives might not want Pence to replace Trump because of personal differences. But his execution in office was nothing but admirable. Can the same be said for Kamala Harris? Third, if Trump somehow opts against running again, Pence could easily morph into a compromise candidate who’s acceptable to a wide range of Republicans, including the party establishment.


Informed people don’t need a reminder, but there are over two and a half years until the 2024 election, and at least a year or so (or more) before the primary campaign starts formulating. Donald Trump looks like a Phoenix rising from the ashes right now, but the longer time goes on, the more voters may start looking at other Republican candidates.


We know the GOP establishment would NEVER consider another Trump run. But they might look at Mike Pence as a Trump success story without the oodles of drama. Here’s thinking they’d probably prefer Nikki Haley for the role, but she’s not electable. Under the right circumstances, Pence could be. Conservatives like Cal Thomas are clearly already onboard, and Kellyanne Conway helped to supply input to Pence’s “Freedom Agenda”. The right ingredients are there -- would they mix to create a delicacy or a flop?


Four, Pence was about as non-controversial as Trump was controversy-generating.


I’m not going out on a limb to indicate the American political situation is super heated at present. Donald Trump was terrific for those folks who enjoyed his punching back at the Democrats -- the liberals deserved every blow and then some. And needless to say, senile Joe Biden hasn’t been the “healer” he promised to be. Longtime followers of politics recognized he was a phony, and that he’s as nasty and divisive as anyone in the nation’s capital.


The corporate establishment media has even more egg on its collective face for perpetuating the “Biden is a consensus builder” ruse. All one needs to do is look at Joe’s fierce defense of scumbag son Hunter to know what kind of man he really is.


Mike Pence could change the dynamic. Pence is no rollover wimp, but he would represent a return to a more dignified sense of calm in partisan politics. He’s a solid conservative, and he’s hard to assail for being “mean” like Democrats always try to pin on Republicans. American voters could actually prefer Pence’s brand of “boring” after what we’ve been through this century. Fifth and last, Pence’s calm demeanor would make it much harder for Democrats and the media to savage in an attempt to distract from the real issues and make it all about personality, which they always do.


Every four years liberals attack the man who earns the Republican nomination as being “unfit” to lead the United States because of poor temperament. Remember the narrative? George W. Bush was shown as a hard drinking party boy in college who didn’t take things seriously and wouldn’t work well in the White House because he was an intellectual lightweight who couldn’t control his own urges. John McCain, they said, was a hothead who might’ve spent too many days in confinement at a communist North Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp. They speculated that he'd start wars just because of anger issues.


Even the plastic flip-flopper Mitt Romney wasn’t trusted. The media dug up an incident from his high school days where Mitt allegedly bullied a homosexual classmate. Then they said he was cruel and heartless because he put the family dog up on the roof of their station wagon, purportedly revealing his unfeeling and rogue-ish nature. Barack Obama got a pass from the journos despite admitting to being a dope smoking leader of the “Choom Gang” in his youth, but nobody ever said politics was fair.


There’s no need to rehash how the fake news media assaulted and bludgeoned Donald Trump. It was the stuff of infamous legend.


Pence, on the other hand, has been thoroughly vetted already. This isn’t to say the dreadful media won’t dredge up something in his past from fifty years ago, but it is much less likely with a man who’s already been near the top and lived to tell about it.


If Mike Pence is to regain his once lofty status in the Republican Party, he’s got a long road to travel. Helping the GOP win congressional majorities in this year’s midterm elections would be a good first step. He’ll receive much goodwill for introducing his “Freedom Agenda”; let’s see how far it takes him.


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