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[-- this was originally slated for publishing on November 8th, and dates back to August. The boring laments about those departed to the lake are kind of embarrassing. But hey, it helped clarify my thinking when I wrote it, and invites correction of its assumptions. I add the picture of Lake Wateree in South Carolina to take your eye off my errors --] I think it's a safe pick, Pence being someone that won't steal the spotlight, but when he gets to the podium he does a good job and an eventual yes-man if he isn't already. Of the several issues on which he differed from Trump or for which he chastised Trump, Pence has fallen into line -- as reported widely today So, that policy clash is papered over. Trump needed to offer some kind of concession to get the anti-Trumpers out of his way. The anti-Trumpers in the Republican fold, those who would ordinarily vote Republican but cannot yet support Trump, what happens to them now that they are 'out of the way'? If you mean doomed efforts to forestall the inevitable coronation in Cleveland, I think that doom was expected no matter the VP choice. If you mean that the selection of a Republican conservative like Pence solves the problem of "NeverTrump" beyond the convention, I understand that perception. I would say that Pence is a 'safe' choice in ways that Gingrich or Christie would not be. No baggage of the same weight as on those two already larger men. A strict Ryan-like conservative in the House. Socially conservative and proudly Christian before all. Able to take direction from The Boss. A VP is always available, as stand-in for the Head of State duties of the USA, but otherwise has no Cabinet portfolio. It is in the interests of constitutional order that the VP 'shadows' the work of the executive, receives corollary briefings and homework to understand the tasks ahead in an administration, and also to understand the workings of the executive office, should a presidency be cut short. Politically, the executive can use the deputy as needed, to tour, speechify, meet the press, be 'ambassador' and ribbon-cutter and funeral-attender -- but the Decider need not have any warm or useful personal relationship with the second-in-line -- a VP may not even be consulted, merely instructed, and nothing says that he or she has to be listened to or accorded any gravity or power-space. I think the spare ambit of the job of leader-in-waiting requires doing the job as symbolic state function: per protocol and as the boss tells you to, within the margins the boss sets, with leash adjusted from time to time, in private. I think the key to a Pence role in a Trump administration is the relationship. And I have no idea what relationship will form by January. Will Pence and Trump speak daily going forward? Will Pence be a kind of stenographer and secretary (the good kind) and translator? Coach, sounding board, 'wise counsel' during final decision-making. Will he write his own scripts for speeches? These are all kind of pre-election queries. My gumption is that Trump will treat the governor as an apprentice, let him close enough to see how the magic is accomplished, and otherwise test him with small jobs and tasks. On the stump, he has a buddy, or a relay-racer now. The message co-ordination will be easier with a professional politician and former radio host like Pence. He very ably can wield talking points. The only drawback for Pence in the pre-election period (and entertaining Michael's faith in Trump triumph in November) is he is going to be perceived as the one other guy holding the bag. If Mr Trump gives unsatisfactory answers to the hoopla of the day, you know that Pence will be hunted for quotes, reactions, especially on the moralistic questions and on the entitlements questions. If Trump feeds hoopla by another 'outrageous' remark or policy, Pence will have to square the circle. He may be very good at that. Ultimately the choice to exploit Pence strengths and firm up 'the base' could mean that Donald Trump will say less about those issues where Pence is on record against Trump policies, ie, Muslim Ban, Curiel hoopla, Trade ... all of this contingent on the judgement of the Trump family that he can perform all the Bush, Quayle, Cheney, Biden, Gore chores. I am bothered a bit that Stephen will not be adding to election observations until the long ordeal is over. As long as Objectivist Living is committed to the Trump campaign, and as long as the chief promoter for Trump is the list owner, and as long as the Principle of Charity is abandoned, discussion can be strangled at birth or otherwise stifled. I will urge Stephen, with a barrage of backstage laments and special pleading, that he be and feel as free and confident to post his opinions as I do. I am a long way from our Fearless Leader politically, and have in the Trump thread some unpleasantly personal exchanges to look back on, but I say f#ck. So f#cking what. Giving up a voice here is giving up a voice. It makes me think something corrosive is flowing, where it is only disagreement finding a level. I always figured Objectivist and Objective-ish people (small or big O) had a leg up on folks without any Randian influence -- and a good framework for wrassling with differing opinions and observations. O'vishes can always appeal to big-R operations of reason, to protracted intellectual effort at inquiry , to mutual benefit by reality-testing hypothesis and suppositions, to blowing out superstitions and unreliable beliefs, to help each other clean the machinery of thought to make it more valid and convincingly 'correctible' in the Randian sense. Ultimately a Trump win will be explainable here by non-Trump voters, and a Trump loss will also be explainable by his fans and supporters. It would be shitty if only one 'side' group was left around here for the gnashing and wailing.