You know who ELSE was a VP with insatiable ambition?
October 28, 2017 4:55 PM   Subscribe

 


Indiana checking in here: I know you'll find it hard to believe but Pence is worse than Trump on a lot of levels. PLEASE LET MUELLER HAVE GOODS ON PENCE.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 5:04 PM on October 28, 2017 [72 favorites]


A President Pence would have two huge advantages over President Trump. Firstly, he wouldn't have the cult of personality going for him. Secondly, Pence won't accidentally start a nuclear war.

I have no patience for people who talk like President Pence would be worse than Trump. None whatsoever. Trump is sui generis. Only Nixon can go to China, only Floyd can play 7/4 on the radio, and only Trump can get away with blatant nepotism and shamelessly lining his own pockets in public with (so far) impunity. The Republican establishment is terrified of Trump, and getting primaried from the insane fringe of the right.

I voted for Clinton and would do so again. But goddammit, I'll take Zombie Richard Nixon, Dick Fucking Cheney, or Mike "Can't talk to a girl without Mother" Pence any day of the week.
posted by tclark at 5:05 PM on October 28, 2017 [66 favorites]


he wouldn't have the cult of personality going for him

no, just the regular kind of cult
posted by ragtag at 5:09 PM on October 28, 2017 [18 favorites]


Wow, going from Trump to Pence... Not a great perspective... We have a saying in Spanish: Ir de Guatemala a Guatepeor. The question is who is your Guatemala... I'm NOT defending Trump, never-ever, but, you know, the Devil you know...
posted by omegar at 5:12 PM on October 28, 2017 [8 favorites]


Harold Ickes, a longtime Democratic operative, argues that—putting aside the fear that Trump might start a nuclear war—

I have concerns about the structure of this argument.
posted by allegedly at 5:14 PM on October 28, 2017 [65 favorites]


Don't we get Ryan if both Trump and Pence go down? I'm pretty sure it's assholes all the way down, folks.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 5:15 PM on October 28, 2017 [40 favorites]


"But goddammit, I'll take Zombie Richard Nixon, Dick Fucking Cheney, or Mike "Can't talk to a girl without Mother" Pence any day of the week."

You're only saying that because he hasn't passed a law requiring you to report monthly on the products of your menstrual cycle because it's now a crime to miscarry but fail to report, and the shed tissue has to be cremated or buried so SAVE YOUR MAXI PADS LADIES!

Pence is a garbage human who hates women, hates religious freedom, hates the poor, literally wants to prosecute gay people, and has Koch money and can pass shit through Congress. His policies on drugs have killed countless Hoosiers. He is a BAD PERSON with some actual political skills. If he were president, Obamacare would already be repealed.

True, Pence will probably not instigate a nuclear holocaust. But Pence is going to be a lot more effective at getting terrible things passed in Congress. We're much better off if he gets impeached too.

(He is also so phenominally stupid that he does not know the stock market can go DOWN as well as UP. Hence he favors private investment accounts for retirement, because they never go down, and thus there will never be any broke old people who need government help! Dumb as a Pence Fost.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:15 PM on October 28, 2017 [134 favorites]


King Ralph style mass electrocution please
posted by The Whelk at 5:20 PM on October 28, 2017 [10 favorites]


Yeah, Trump is evil, but dumb, inept evil. Pence has more horrifying positions than Trump on a lot of issues and the political skill to likely be better at getting an agenda enacted. He may be stupid but he lacks the sort of short-sightedness and ineptitude that so far has hamstrung the Trump administration. Yes, I hate the nepotism and the narcissism and the pockets-lining, but that none of that will really matter to anyone after he leaves office. They don't have ongoing effects like bad laws do.
posted by axiom at 5:21 PM on October 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


TFA: During the tumultuous 2016 Presidential campaign, relatively little attention was paid to how Pence was chosen, or to his political record.

True, but then many of us now how to interpret Hal Ashby's Being There(1979)
posted by lazycomputerkids at 5:23 PM on October 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


PLEASE LET MUELLER HAVE GOODS ON PENCE.

Tellingly, Pence sent his own lawyer to sit down with Mueller over the summer. He's already set himself up for obstruction of justice by making contradictory public statements about the Comey firing. Before that, he was thick as thieves with Manafort, notably during the transition when Manafort had supposedly distanced himself from Team Trump. He's in as deep as any of the White House crew.

Fun fact: When he was in Congress, Pence's fellow Republicans nicknamed him Mike Dense.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:23 PM on October 28, 2017 [37 favorites]


The thought of President Pence makes me wish that I was through with perimenopause already (more than usual, I mean).

Also I find it's easier to fight against something when you aren't personally affected by it (by which I mean I can fight for abortion rights because I don't have to worry about access for myself anymore).
posted by elsietheeel at 5:23 PM on October 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


TFA: Pence, who has dutifully stood by the President, mustering a devotional gaze rarely seen since the days of Nancy Reagan...

I chuckled.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 5:25 PM on October 28, 2017 [10 favorites]


"Don't we get Ryan if both Trump and Pence go down?"

This is an open Constitutional question, and an interesting one! I've talked about it before, but to reiterate and quote myself:

Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 says (bold mine throughout):
In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.
The Presidential Succession Act of 1947 provides the current list of successors that goes VEEP, Speaker of the House, etc. HOWEVER, the Appointments Clause of the Constitution (II.2.2) says,
He [the President] ... shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
And the Incompatibility Clause (I.6.3) specifies that:
No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office
So arguably -- and it has been so argued from James Madison up to the present (here's some post-9/11 testimony to Congress on the problems with the current statute) -- members of Congress cannot succeed to the presidency because they are not and Constitutionally cannot be Officers of the United States, which is a legal term of art that refers to members of the executive branch appointed by the president (etc etc).
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:26 PM on October 28, 2017 [34 favorites]


Pence is merely a political problem. We've had those before and we'll have them again.

Trump is terrifyingly disconnected from the real world results of his actions. It's not that he's indifferent, it's that he really does consequences explained to him. That's not a matter of right and wrong, it's a matter of being qualified,
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:27 PM on October 28, 2017 [20 favorites]


Buy guillotine futures.
posted by Slinga at 5:29 PM on October 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


Yeah, Trump is evil, but dumb, inept evil.

A dumb, inept evil who has been more corrosive in 9 months than any President in US history. At the drop of a tweet, do you not seriously believe that he would not have tens of thousands of Nazis out in the streets killing minorities, gays, and liberals? I'm not exaggerating. Call me old-fashioned but I would rather fight someone politically who is from a common, banal, and yes, entirely horrible sort of evil.

Trump has normalized Nazism in the US. Have we already forgotten? Trump is a howling gyre of madness, fueled by the worst America has to offer, and those people are proud. They're happy, and they want blood. And Trump, if he believes at any time it will make him look powerful and "biggest ever" will unleash them.
posted by tclark at 5:31 PM on October 28, 2017 [54 favorites]


So the reason Ford became president is because Agnew resigned in October 1973, Nixon named the Republican House Leader (Minority, at that time) Gerald Ford as VP, and then Nixon resigned in August 1974...

Could Nixon have chosen anyone to be his replacement VP?
posted by elsietheeel at 5:34 PM on October 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Don't we get Ryan if both Trump and Pence go down? I'm pretty sure it's assholes all the way down, folks.

No, Ryan would see to it that Clinton becomes president, because it’s the right thing to do. Then Clinton would make Ryan VP. Didn’t you read Lawrence Lessig’s ludicrous fantasy confirming his utter disconnection from reality sober and inspiring constitutional analysis?
posted by No-sword at 5:40 PM on October 28, 2017 [7 favorites]


Dumb as a Pence Fost

I’m so glad this phrase is catching on.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:52 PM on October 28, 2017 [6 favorites]


He is a BAD PERSON with some actual political skills.

Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, he completely screwed the pooch in Indiana. It’s hard to fuck up in Indiana as a Republican governor, but he managed to alienate everyone by incompetently pushing crazy social issues and making the state look bad.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:56 PM on October 28, 2017 [12 favorites]


Pence is now, and has always been, Trump's poison pill.
posted by Oyéah at 5:58 PM on October 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


Just as Agnew was for Nixon. Impeaching Tricky Dick was seen as unthinkable for many UNTIL the Spiro-coccus was consumed by an unrelated scandal.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:01 PM on October 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


TFA: “He was as far right as you could go without falling off the earth,” Mike Lofgren, a former Republican congressional staff member, who has become a Trump critic, told me. “But he never really put a foot wrong politically. Beneath the Bible-thumping earnestness was a calculating and ambitious pol.”

...but he managed to alienate everyone by incompetently pushing crazy social issues and making the state look bad.

I lived in Indianapolis in 1995...hard to make the profound white-flight of Indianapolis look bad, but I know you're not baselessly claiming what you do...
posted by lazycomputerkids at 6:02 PM on October 28, 2017


2018, people. Not only is there more than one branch of the government, there is more than one branch of the government for exactly this reason.
posted by AdamCSnider at 6:09 PM on October 28, 2017 [12 favorites]


I lived in Indianapolis in 1995...hard to make the profound white-flight of Indianapolis look bad, but I know you're not baselessly claiming what you do...

Not sure what you're saying here. Indy actually did a really good job of delaying white flight (and subsequent impoverishment of the city) through Unigov (basically making the city of Indy have the same boundaries as the county of Marion) and the township school structure ('towns' inside of Marion county control their own school systems).

Indy encompasses many of the suburbs that in other Midwestern urban metros are their own cities (with their own tax bases). That's part of what screwed Detroit and Cleveland. The township schools (Washington, Pike, Lawrence, etc) aren't as good as they were 20 years ago, but they're still significantly better than IPS, and people buy houses accordingly.

Also, the Indy of 1995 is NOTHING like Indy today, there's a significant redevelopment and repopulation of the downtown and surrounding areas by young wealthy hip types (Fountain Square, Fletcher Place, Fall Creek Place, etc...).
posted by leotrotsky at 6:11 PM on October 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


I think the best end game is to for Mueller to derail Trump, even if it is short of impeachment AND scare Pence from running. The danger is if Pence has already taken the oath and hasn't been in long enough to have f'ed up yet, that might give him a boost.

I say hang out and air the dirty laundry to bring hearings to a fever pitch during the election cycle. Timing is critical though. Do it too soon, Pence might leverage a post-impeachment incumbency; do it too late and he could run before he's sufficiently spattered with steaming gobs of Trumph effluence.
posted by Ori_Anna_Fallaxis at 6:21 PM on October 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


Not sure what you're saying here. Indy actually did...

I'm unsure how the eventual gentrification of young wealthy types proves the assertion Indianopolis is not an example of successful white-flight. It was in 1995 that the first major mall was built in downtown. I worked for its public school system then.

I agree with an aspect of what you're drawing attention to-- that Pence's career is not a juggernaut without enormous blind-sides to an informed constituency...I do...but my perception of him is his religious fervor is akin to paternalism, stewardship, and manifest destiny. His hostility toward minority, especially women and blacks, is formidable-- in the sense of word as fear inducing. And fear is what drives that 60 million voter block to be addressed.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 6:22 PM on October 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Trump is truly unpredictable and I wouldn't put it past him to start a war just to distract people from his political issues. Even Republican senators are saying he might start World War III. As dangerous as he is, I'm even more worried about the psychological damage he's inflicting on this country. He is a non-stop train wreck.

Pence on the other hand is a stealth warrior who was instrumental in getting Republicans to accept the Koch's money and agenda. It was his bright idea to have Republicans sign pledges in return for political donations. He is bad bad bad news, and his policy positions make me think he might not be playing with a full deck.

Neither of them are as bad as George W. Bush was (knock on wood) in terms of results, but Trump... He's changing the character of the country for the worse. It's a moral corrosion that often makes me physically sick.
posted by xammerboy at 6:26 PM on October 28, 2017 [9 favorites]


Trump is chaotic evil, Pence is lawful evil. Trump has a bigger ultimate downside (nuclear war) but less likelihood of evil policies being passed. Pence probably won't start a nuclear war, but has a better chance of getting evil policies enacted. I'm not sure which is worse.
posted by Daily Alice at 6:26 PM on October 28, 2017 [18 favorites]


Pence probably won't start a nuclear war, but has a better chance of getting evil policies enacted. I'm not sure which is worse.

How is this even a question?

Destruction of civilization and the capacity of most life on earth which can't be taken back versus evil policies which at least can be changed in the future.

There is no question here.
posted by Jalliah at 6:34 PM on October 28, 2017 [27 favorites]


Yes, this is histrionic. Even if somehow a President Pence issued an Executive Order requiring all women to report their menstrual cycles, that is infinitely better than a nuclear war with North Korea or Russia. Pretending otherwise is asinine. I lived in Indianapolis the entire time Mike Pence was running the show and I cannot seem to recall any nuclear fallout—no matter how bad any of his policies were.
posted by koavf at 6:38 PM on October 28, 2017 [9 favorites]


I have no patience for people who talk like President Pence would be worse than Trump.

Yeah, this is where I stand too. If I have to choose between a horrible but intelligent person I disagree with in every way and an actual insane person to be the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth, well... that's not a great choice, but I pick the former. At least some of the problems they have to solve won't be heavily laden with ideology and I would like someone there who can solve thwm.
posted by 256 at 6:39 PM on October 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


Destruction of civilization and the capacity of most life on earth which can't be taken back versus evil policies which at least can be changed in the future.

We've already had a nuclear war, and we are still here to talk about it.

By which I mean... Yes, the worst trump can do is launch nukes. But, look, there are many other results between a however many dead and total nuclear armageddon. And yes, I do know that the system says Trump can launch whatever nukes he likes without recourse under normal conditions.

But, we are also so far from normal that I'm not confident that any such order he gives will be carried out. Every day, my expectations end up upside down is what I'm saying.

Anyway - alea iacta est at this point. The devil you know is always better than the one you don't.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:44 PM on October 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


Pence wants to institute the Republic of Gilead, and there are very few Republicans who would impede that even a little bit. The current president wants money and fame, and does not care how many people die so he can get them.

President Pence would be held in check by the standard balances. As much as 45 has established that you can evade protocol by just refusing to follow it, Pence has a much stronger history of staying within the standard procedures. He's a lawyer; he LIKES rules. He wants to make the rules up himself, but he wants everyone to have to follow rules.

And he's not liked, and doesn't have a large rabid populace ready to assault or kill at his command. He'd be terrible, but his policies would be normal politics that could be changed with normal political methods. And there's that whole "will not start nuclear war over a twitter argument" feature; it's really really hard to counterbalance that, if we're comparing the two of them.

Pence would've sent emergency aid to Puerto Rico - because it would be a terrific photo op for being A Hero, and because it's What Presidents Do in emergencies. 45 didn't because he can't comprehend that helping brown people could make him heroic.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 6:49 PM on October 28, 2017 [19 favorites]


When the order comes it's given to five soldiers. Only three need to comply.
posted by xammerboy at 6:50 PM on October 28, 2017


So this is that Trolley Dilemma I keep hearing about
posted by elsilnora at 6:50 PM on October 28, 2017 [44 favorites]


I'm holding on to the hope that, if he decides to nuke someone, he demands the Football from whatever aide is carrying it - and they hand it to him, and everyone steps back, and nobody helps him find info. I have doubts he can flip through a binder and find the phone list, much less read text tables well enough to find the passcodes.

And I have hopes that the amount of time it takes him to find those, will let someone on the team come to their senses enough to stop him.

I am aware this is a thin, paltry hope, relying on people who are oath-sworn to be absolutely loyal to bend or break those oaths. Still, it's what I've got for now.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 6:54 PM on October 28, 2017 [6 favorites]


We've already had a nuclear war, and we are still here to talk about it.

Not like the kind we can have nowadays, and never when there wasn't a monopoly on the handful of kiloton-class weapons available. We have megatonnage now. Gigatons of nukes, in Don's hands.

The argument for keeping Trump pretty much tends to boil down to "Yeah, Trump has both the inclination and spoken desire to use nuclear weapons, but Pence..."

When we're talking about genocide, forgive me if I dismiss pretty much everything after "but" here.
posted by tclark at 6:55 PM on October 28, 2017 [11 favorites]


"If I have to choose between a horrible but intelligent person I disagree with in every way "

Point of order: Pence is NOT intelligent. Pence was widely considered the DUMBEST member of the US Congress when he served.

"President Pence would be held in check by the standard balances. As much as 45 has established that you can evade protocol by just refusing to follow it, Pence has a much stronger history of staying within the standard procedures. He's a lawyer; he LIKES rules. He wants to make the rules up himself, but he wants everyone to have to follow rules. "

Yeaaaaah ... you may need to look into his record in Indiana. He ran roughshod over the checks and balances of the Indiana state constitution. He really DOESN'T have a history of staying within the standard procedures; he has a history of breaking them left and right and getting slapped by the courts/the press/everyone in Indiana, which is why he was going to lose his reelection campaign.

(And Pence may nominally be a lawyer, but by profession he's a right-wing radio talk show host.)

I mean, I too will take the Republic of Gilead over nuclear war, I've said so since the primaries, but Mike Pence drove Indiana INTO THE GROUND. Mike Pence singlehandedly kickstarted an HIV epidemic. Mike Pence kills people with opiods. Mike Pence jails women for getting pregnant. Mike Pence as president IS NOT GOING TO BE OKAY. PEOPLE ARE GOING TO DIE, and he's going to be hella savvier than Trump about targeting the machinery of the state at women, minorities, LGBT people, reproductive rights, etc. The damage Mike Pence did just to the infrastructure and business climate of Indiana will take a decade to recover from, and that doesn't even account for the MANY HOOSIERS WHO DIED so Mike Pence could feel self-righteous that women and gays were suffering and ideally dying for their bad decisions to be female or gay.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:57 PM on October 28, 2017 [64 favorites]


I mean, I too will take the Republic of Gilead over nuclear war, I've said so since the primaries, but Mike Pence drove Indiana INTO THE GROUND. Mike Pence singlehandedly kickstarted an HIV epidemic. Mike Pence kills people with opiods. Mike Pence jails women for getting pregnant. Mike Pence as president IS NOT GOING TO BE OKAY. PEOPLE ARE GOING TO DIE, and he's going to be hella savvier than Trump about targeting the machinery of the state at women, minorities, LGBT people, reproductive rights, etc. The damage Mike Pence did just to the infrastructure and business climate of Indiana will take a decade to recover from, and that doesn't even account for the MANY HOOSIERS WHO DIED so Mike Pence could feel self-righteous that women and gays were suffering and ideally dying for their bad decisions to be female or gay.

Silver lining now please.
posted by 256 at 6:59 PM on October 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


Silver lining is that he's up to his neck in this and too dumb to avoid indictment.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:59 PM on October 28, 2017 [23 favorites]


Could Nixon have chosen anyone to be his replacement VP?
Yes, but the nominee had to be confirmed.
posted by thelonius at 7:00 PM on October 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


So this is that Trolley Dilemma I keep hearing about
And you don't want a President who's "off his trolley".

Almost ANY Republican President from the current crop IS NOT GOING TO BE OKAY. Pence was chosen to be Trump's 'poison pill', his Agnew. We still have hope we can get a Gerald Ford out of all this, but he's gonna be hard to find.

It must be noted that George W Bush, who we all praised for criticizing the Trumpeter? By this date in his first term as President, he'd already sent us to war in Afghanistan. No nukes, but still war #1 of 2.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:06 PM on October 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


Yes, this is histrionic. Even if somehow a President Pence issued an Executive Order requiring all women to report their menstrual cycles, that is infinitely better than a nuclear war with North Korea or Russia.

Spoken like someone without a uterus. And last I checked nuclear war isn't currently happening. I'm not saying there aren't circumstances under which Trump would start a war, but I don't see how nuclear war is a foregone conclusion, either. Judging from his political history in Indiana, Pence would definitely do some horrendous shit. Probably not start a war, but who knows; that's not really something the Governor of Indiana can do so his history there sheds no light.

Trump has no prior history to consult, other than his (obviously 2-faced) statements, but I can say that so far he's mostly just talked a big game but actually done very little other than delegate the dismantling of executive branch agencies to his cronies. I'm not suggesting any of that is a good thing, don't misunderstand me, but it's a lot less horrible than it could be, because he's limited thus far to his own branch. And really, any Republican is going to do that, so it's kind of ridiculous to suggest that Pence would be any better in that regard. They hate things like the EPA and HUD and are going to do their damnedest to dismantle them no matter what.
posted by axiom at 7:08 PM on October 28, 2017 [17 favorites]


Almost ANY Republican President from the current crop IS NOT GOING TO BE OKAY.

Especially not if the ones who at least pretend to have a conscience keep retiring.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:10 PM on October 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


Y'all remember the Stephenson book Snow Crash? I am personally hoping for a namshub that is spread via Fox news, only infects the trumpinistas, and forces them all into drooling piles of organic matter, leaving the rest of us to pick up the pieces, and fix all the shit they've broken in the last thousand years of this presidency. Come on neurolinguistic virus, I believe in you.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:14 PM on October 28, 2017 [10 favorites]


I'm inclined to think that 2 years of Trump followed by 2 years of Pence would do more damage to the GOP than 4 years of Trump alone. Trump by himself can be excused as an anomaly, but follow that with Pence's Taliban-flavored conservatism as the only Republican alternative to Trumpism and it really becomes clear how unhinged the whole damn party has become. I'm also inclined to think that we have a better chance of surviving 2 years of Trump than 4; even if he tries to start a war on his way out, at that point I think the rest of the GOP would be trying to help Pence take the reins. Either way, the rest of this administration is going to suck and do lasting damage to the country and the world. It's fucking insane that any of this is conceivable.
posted by homunculus at 7:14 PM on October 28, 2017 [7 favorites]


Trump is much worse for the rest of the world than Pence, which to me means we have a greater duty to get rid of Trump and then worry about Pence. Trump is something America has inflicted upon the whole word, the vast majority of whom don't get any say in it. And yet will still be affected by his complete lack of sanity or skills in handling international issues.

There's no good outcome for America because of Americans (those who vote Republicans, which are enough in the right geographical areas to be functionally a majority thanks to the design of our system). But things can be made a little better for non-Americans, at least.
posted by thefoxgod at 7:15 PM on October 28, 2017 [11 favorites]


Ugh.
Trump or Pence, what a truly horrible choice.
I posted this portrait of Pence once before here, but in a thread devoted to this idiotstick of a fallow human being, I think it bears reposting.
As per usual, feel free to share, download, what have you.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 7:17 PM on October 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


A dumb, inept evil who has been more corrosive in 9 months than any President in US history. At the drop of a tweet, do you not seriously believe that he would not have tens of thousands of Nazis out in the streets killing minorities, gays, and liberals?

Trump has done basically nothing. He hasn't gotten congress to pass any of his agenda. He can't even get his travel ban through the courts. The republicans don't trust their own president and that president remains deeply unpopular.

Why would you want any other Republican president?

Trump doesn't have thousands of Nazis capable and willing to kill in the streets. But, do you know that the US Air Force has a hard core of (and arguably is controlled by) right-wing evangelical Christians who believe that the US should be Gilead? The air force that controls most of the nuclear weapons? The reason why Trump is president is because the alternative was Ted Cruz and the christian dominionist right and those guys have the ideology, the guns, and the organization to actually take over this country. The Republicans know and are terrified of these people because they already run the party at the grass-roots level.

And you want to give the presidency to Mike Pence? It's become really terrifying how the Democrats have entered into a media echo chamber centered on Trump, to the point that Metafilter actually thinks giving the presidency to the christian right isn't the scariest worst-possible terrible idea ever.
posted by I hate nature. at 7:21 PM on October 28, 2017 [21 favorites]


The reason why Trump is president is because the alternative was Ted Cruz and the christian dominionist right

Once again, I wonder why Jeb! has forsaken us.

*sigh*
posted by elsietheeel at 7:24 PM on October 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Pence is scary as shit in his own way, especially for women and couples having difficulty conceiving, but according to Snopes the claims about how far his abortion restrictions went were wildly overblown on Twitter and social media.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:24 PM on October 28, 2017


We've already had a nuclear war, and we are still here to talk about it.

There is a huge difference between an otherwise conventional war in which two small nukes are used and an actual multiple-nations-flinging-nuclear-missiles-at-each-other war. If Trump causes that to happen, you’d give anything you could to swap him out for President Pence—unless you live in a coastal urban center, in which case you might not have time to wish anything at all.

Trump wants the nuclear arsenal to be ten times bigger. Trump has asked “We have nukes—why don’t we use them?” He has no capacity for understanding human suffering and a huge desire to be seen as strong. It’s the nightmare scenario for a nuclear conflict and every issue, no matter how important, is a distant second to that.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:25 PM on October 28, 2017 [16 favorites]


I think the point here is to keep us feeling we’re in a double bind until we have a nervous breakdown and become so morally defeated we’re compliant and helpless feeling all the time.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:26 PM on October 28, 2017 [6 favorites]


I don't mind anyone saying "we are better off with Pence impeached too." But anyone who wants us to have more years of Trump because Pence might be more competent at legislation is failing to consider the privilege that position entails.

Trump is a murderous fucking ghoul who will kill everyone without a second thought. He is murdering people right fucking now and people all over the nation are "tra-la-la"ing along with it because he is inexplicably charismatic to horrible monster people. I am reeling with this surrealist feeling as people actually argue that we should keep Trump. Is this how we end up in hell?
posted by corb at 7:29 PM on October 28, 2017 [29 favorites]


When we're talking about genocide, forgive me if I dismiss pretty much everything after "but" here.

If you wanna get all technical, a nuclear exchange wouldn't be a genocide.

Anyway - I grew up a navy brat in the 70s and 80s. I fully understand the dangers of nuclear assault.

But, A. I don't think it's likely - trump's a blowhard, but also a coward, and as flexible as a willow.
and B. Even at that - a strike against NK wouldn't necessarily devolve into full nuclear armageddon a la Threads or The Day After.

I know this is MetaFilter where we have to turn the Histrionics and Hyperbole to 11 because Favorites. Honestly, though, it doesn't do the site any good.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:30 PM on October 28, 2017 [9 favorites]


only Floyd can play 7/4 on the radio

soundgarden - spoonman

key and relevant lyric as to trump or pence - "SAVE ME!!!!"
posted by pyramid termite at 7:32 PM on October 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


Also, for all of Trump's tweeting, his command of the US military has been continuation of what was happening with Obama except there has been little escalation of real tension between the US and Russia in Syria. For all of his saber rattling wrt North Korea, the US military has done nothing to provoke a conflict and has maintained it's traditional posture. It's the posture of the US military that the North Koreans pay attention to, not Trump's tweets. Trump could easily provoke military conflict with NK but has done *nothing* to do so, despite his words.

You may believe that Trump is going to start a nuclear war, but it isn't based on how he has commanded the US military so far.

Trump is a murderous fucking ghoul who will kill everyone without a second thought. He is murdering people right fucking now and people all over the nation are "tra-la-la"ing along with it because he is inexplicably charismatic to horrible monster people.

He isn't murdering people right now any more than any president has done. What in the world are you talking about? He isn't charismatic, he is deeply unpopular by the usual standards of the US presidency. He is, however, the star and villain of a reality TV show being put on as we speak...
posted by I hate nature. at 7:33 PM on October 28, 2017 [12 favorites]


He he isn't murdering people right now any more than any president has done. What in the world are you talking about?

Puerto Rico.
posted by Jalliah at 7:35 PM on October 28, 2017 [54 favorites]




Would President Ryan be better than President Pence?

Also if he were president who would take his place in Congress? Please tell me that Bad Scott Walker doesn't live in Ryan's district.

(Here's some Good Scott Walker to make up for the Bad Scott Walker mention.)
posted by elsietheeel at 7:40 PM on October 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


I grew up listening to XTC's Here Comes President Kill Again and Police's Murder By Numbers, so I see the value of a relative argument, but the impacts of policy are relatively deleterious as well.

I don't share the ease with which many MeFites address and personify in the basest terms possible, no matter the sincerity, because it's a shorthand and conclusion and less than discourse that I define as an exchange of ideas, attestation, and evidence.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 7:48 PM on October 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


Puerto Rico.

Don't forget the people dying on mainland immigrant detention centers, too.
posted by joedan at 7:49 PM on October 28, 2017 [9 favorites]


I don't get the idea that Trump is uniquely capable of starting a nuclear war. The US has been on the brink of MAD-type nuclear war since the other side developed the ability to retaliate, and before that, it was, and remains, the only country on the planet to attack people with nuclear weapons.

More generally, I don't know what I'm more baffled by - the longing for a more ideologically coherent, more effective reactionary in the White House or the expressions of nostalgia for George W. Bush, a man who wrought so much destruction on the world that we probably won't be able to assess the extent of the calamity for decades.
posted by a certain Sysoi Pafnut'evich at 7:50 PM on October 28, 2017 [8 favorites]


Trump is killing and hurting people now. Look at what's going on in Puerto Rico. Look at the rise of hate crimes in the Unites States since he was elected. Look at the shit ICE is doing. Look at the rollback on anything to do with climate change. It's not big showy Hunger Games style shit but it's real and it's happening right now.

And the potential for nuclear holocaust can't be overstated. I'm not afraid of armageddon on a global level. I am utterly terrified that Seoul is going to be turned into a crater while we argue on the internet. There are what, 25 million people there? Trump is obsessed with nuclear weapons, he's impulsive, he doesn't have the capacity for empathy, and he loves attention and feeling strong, and he feels strong when he's hurting someone. He thinks it's an evenings lark to taunt the other unstable jagoff in North Korea over twitter. It's possible that millions of Koreans might die because enough Americans are filled with so much spite that they would vote for this unfit, unstable horses-ass - because he might someday put a boot in the face of their neighbor, and hey big plus if that neighbor is a woman, or a person of color, or a muslim, or they speak spanish, or they want to use a fucking bathroom in peace, or...

Pence fucking sucks. He's scary. He is filled with one horrid malicious idea after another, and he's stupid and malleable enough to be led around by the nose by both the christian right and the libertarian plutocrats. He's like an even more hateful Dubya. But I'd still take 2 years of him over 4 of Trump.
posted by supercrayon at 7:58 PM on October 28, 2017 [21 favorites]


soundgarden - spoonman

Hello? What about Peter Gabriel and Solsbury Hill? That’s in 7/4 time.
posted by Talez at 7:58 PM on October 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


Almost ANY Republican President from the current crop IS NOT GOING TO BE OKAY.
Emphasis this. For the sake of argument, let's look at the current Presidential line of succession:
  1. Mike Pence
  2. Paul Ryan
  3. Orrin Hatch
  4. Rex Tillerson
  5. Steven Mnuchin
  6. James Mattis
  7. Jefferson Sessions
  8. Ryan Zinke
  9. Sonny Perdue
  10. Wilbur Ross
  11. Alexander Acosta
  12. Don J. Wright
  13. Ben Carson
  14. Elaine Chao
  15. Rick Perry
  16. Betsy DeVos
  17. David Shulkin
  18. Elaine Duke
The first seven are Presidential nightmare fuel, each in their own unique way. We venture into devil-you-don't at 8, then go right back to white-knuckle territory at lucky 13. They're almost entirely bad choices.

The best and most realistic solution in the short term is to elect a Democrat House next year, continue or add a bunch of investigations, and block them at every turn, no matter who is President. I think it's likely that 45 has been blocked or re-routed from direct access to the nuclear arsenal in any case.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 7:59 PM on October 28, 2017 [17 favorites]


Sure, Puerto Rico, but I don't buy the argument that Pence (or nearly any other Republican) would do any better. First, most Republicans are never going to care about an island full of brown people. Second, this is the VP and current congressional majorities we're talking about; if they wanted to help Puerto Rico they fucking could have already done so.
posted by axiom at 8:00 PM on October 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


He isn't murdering people right now any more than any president has done. What in the world are you talking about?

Puerto Rico, detention centers, that sharp uptick in civilian deaths due to military airstrikes...
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:03 PM on October 28, 2017 [7 favorites]


Yes, this is histrionic. Even if somehow a President Pence issued an Executive Order requiring all women to report their menstrual cycles, that is infinitely better than a nuclear war with North Korea or Russia. Pretending otherwise is asinine. I lived in Indianapolis the entire time Mike Pence was running the show and I cannot seem to recall any nuclear fallout—no matter how bad any of his policies were.

How is this not a Hobson's choice and false dilemma? Histrionic? Pretending? Asinine?

Very abstraction. Such condescendence.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 8:05 PM on October 28, 2017 [9 favorites]


Pence would make us miss Trump. The wild incompetence of Trump serves as a buffer from some of his awful ideas. Pence--well, Pence is also a dumb ass, but not as dumb or incompetent. He'd be worse.
posted by LarryC at 8:06 PM on October 28, 2017


#3 Orrin Hatch...the rumors of retirement, like the deserts miss the rain (EBtG)...and could it have anything to do with Mueller's movements?
posted by lazycomputerkids at 8:08 PM on October 28, 2017


He isn't murdering people right now any more than any president has done. What in the world are you talking about?

Puerto Rico, detention centers, that sharp uptick in civilian deaths due to military drone strikes...

I would also add how Trump just degrades everything he touches, including public discourse, in ways that coarsens the body politic and this will play out for years after he's gone. He's certainly had a huge impact on the world already, including professing a love for autocrats while sneering at diplomacy. This has real implictions for solving geo-political conflict without bloodshed.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 8:11 PM on October 28, 2017 [12 favorites]


"Pence is scary as shit in his own way, especially for women and couples having difficulty conceiving, but according to Snopes the claims about how far his abortion restrictions went were wildly overblown on Twitter and social media."

That's incredibly meretricious as it pretends that hospitals don't charge patients for services rendered. Ever had a pet euthenized? They charge you for the disposal of the remains. So does a hospital in which you have a miscarriage. So glad Pence's bill doesn't require you to get a bill from the funeral home, but you're still paying for his fetal remains dignified disposal bullshit.

Mike Pence introduced the "defund Planned Parenthood" circus to Congress, bringing the first six bills attempting to defund it. Mike Pence sponsored a bill that, even if your fetus cannot survive or will not be born alive, you still have to give birth to it. Mike Pence sponsored a bill restricting abortion to "forcible" rape and inviting the government to decide how hard you have to fight back before your rape counts as forcible enough to get an abortion. Mike Pence sponsored another bill to remove "pregnant woman will die" as a reason for an abortion; Mike Pence thinks that if you're pregnant and you will die if you stay pregnant, and your fetus will die if you stay pregnant, you still must stay pregnant and you and the fetus both must die to satisfy his God. Mike Pence signed laws requiring health care providers to lie to women seeking abortions. But don't think you can have condoms, Mike Pence thinks they don't work to prevent pregnancy or STDs, and also that they're "too modern." Mike Pence thinks condoms "endanger lives." Mike Pence said (as governor!) that women should not be allowed to work outside the home, because it's bad for their children. Unless they're poor women, in which case those bitches better get a job because Mike Pence is taking away their benefits and health care and their kids should have had the sense not to be born to poor people, not that their mothers could have aborted them in Mike Pence's Indiana, and OH BY THE WAY Mike Pence defunded Indiana child services to help and protect abused children (including maybe those who were unwanted?), leading to such a spike in graphic and newsworthy child abuse cases that he was forced to restore some funding. Mike Pence thinks women shouldn't serve in the military, and that the Disney movie Mulan is proof of why not. (NOT. KIDDING.)

Under Mike Pence and his Gilead lawmaking, the first criminal prosecution for "feticide" in the history of the United States was undertaken against Purvi Patel, who was sentenced to TWENTY YEARS in prison for what may have been a self-induced abortion or may have been a miscarriage. Indiana doesn't know! They just know she's going to jail for 20 years because that fetus died.

Is that enough badness on Mike Pence and abortion for you? If you think any fucking thing about Mike Pence and his record on abortion has been exaggerated, you don't know jack shit about Mike Pence and his record on abortion. And I say that as a pro-life Catholic. THIS FUCKER'S A NIGHTMARE who hates women, hates LGBTQ people, hates religious minorities, and hates poor people.

Mike Pence's governorship of Indiana has a body count. If he becomes president, his presidency will have a body count. It will be women, LGBTQ people, poor people, and minorities who suffer under Pence. I am totally willing to buy that Pence is the lesser of two evils, but don't you for one second say that Pence "isn't that bad" or that it's "just laws that we can overturn." PEOPLE DIE FROM PENCE'S LAWMAKING. People will die. If you're a cis Christian male, yeah, Pence might not be so bad for you, but Pence is going to kill people -- people that I care about. Please don't minimize that.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:13 PM on October 28, 2017 [147 favorites]


Both options are shit, but one option is like really bad constipation that you'll need laxatives and surgery to remove, and the other is a nuclear shart. I'll take the constipation.
posted by schroedinger at 8:15 PM on October 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


President Trump is likely to be impeached and removed from office only if the Democrats regain both the House and the Senate in 2018. With Democratic control of the legislative branch, the amount of harm Pence can do in the remaining two years can be limited.
posted by nangar at 8:56 PM on October 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


President Trump is likely to be impeached and removed from office only if the Democrats regain both the House and the Senate in 2018. With Democratic control of the legislative branch, the amount of harm Pence can do in the remaining two years can be limited.

I agree. But limited and substantial are different, and independent, words.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:46 PM on October 28, 2017


Trump doesn't have thousands of Nazis capable and willing to kill in the streets.

[citation needed]
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:51 PM on October 28, 2017 [8 favorites]


I don't think it will happen but if Trump is removed from office, I'd guess that it would take Republicans a while to recover from the damage done in the removal process. The truly nasty part of the shit storm would be the Republican infighting. Having a president impeached and convicted would also be a pretty major hit for the Republican party to take. Would Pence really be an effective president after that?
posted by rdr at 10:04 PM on October 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


Having a president impeached and convicted would also be a pretty major hit for the Republican party to take. Would Pence really be an effective president after that?

The republican lesson over the past 10+ years has been that doubling down on stupidity wins. At some point, they will peel off enough of the Flakes and such that they lose competency, but that will leave the more rabid and psychotic core.

We can never stop fighting, is what I'm saying. The lesson of the 20th century is not "defeat evil forever, live in peace". The lesson is that Nazis are always going to be with us. We must never quit fighting.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:08 PM on October 28, 2017 [15 favorites]


I don't like Pence but I'd rather we set a precedent that illegally elected presidents are removed. If we did that right then Pence would have to come down too. Then we'd get Ryan who himself isn't great but I think it's more about setting the precedent that this is something we must do when this happens.
posted by bleep at 10:36 PM on October 28, 2017 [7 favorites]


It really is gross that Republicans not wanting to impeach or even criticize Trump for obviously illegal behavior means the rest of us now treat impeachment as a pragmatic move to pick the best president.

The fact is Trump is willingly ignoring at the very least the emoulments clause, and probably a great many other parts of the Constitution. He isn't up for a performance review. He's facing legal trouble and the "cops and judges" are debating whether or not to look the other way.
posted by ikea_femme at 11:01 PM on October 28, 2017 [11 favorites]


this is always the point where I start saying well okay a worker's revolution doesn't HAVE to be violent in fact-
posted by The Whelk at 11:25 PM on October 28, 2017 [8 favorites]


I feel like the arguments about Trump’s policy goals are kind of missing the point. It wasn’t his voting record that made Cicero’s horse a bad sign.
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:46 AM on October 29, 2017 [14 favorites]


North Korea policy experts are definitely saying that Trump is a real threat and increasingly likely to provoke a nuclear war, and for indifferent reasons.

Now that you’re saying that it would be an acceptable trade off for tens of millions of nonAmericans - assuming a single unilateral strike without escalation, which is far from a given - to die in a holocaust so that Americans can be safe in a situation that Americans chose to be in - well, that’s your nation corrupted beyond redemption right there. Trump wins. And all because nonAmericans are not real to you.
posted by tel3path at 1:28 AM on October 29, 2017 [16 favorites]


In my mind, the question is clear. Leaving Trump in charge has a non-zero chance of ending human life as we know it. World War III would affect a lot more people than Americans. Pence is horrible, but not a world-ender.
posted by JHarris at 1:47 AM on October 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


256: Silver lining now please.

Okay, here's the silver lining. It's that this?

Eyebrows McGee: But Pence is going to be a lot more effective at getting terrible things passed in Congress.

Probably isn't true.

Yes, Pence won't be as babblemouthed and dumbfuck as Donald Trump is; it's essentially impossible to manage that. But the strengths and weaknesses of a Pence Administration will be the same as those of the Trump Administration. Their strength is malfeasance from the executive branch and their weakness is everything else. They're not going to become magically more effective with Pence in charge because most of the Trump executive branch appointments are the same people Pence would have appointed: incompetent hacks who don't know how to govern. They're not going to magically become better at passing awful legislation because the reason the GOP can't pass legislation is because their caucus is divided between the idiots who don't know their ideas are garbage and unpopular and the bullshitters who know they'll lose their jobs if they pass anything even close to what the base wants.

If Pence was a savvy politician with a long history of legislative technique that might move the needle a bit, but he's not. He's a stupid man who's very good at shaking his head woefully to appear like a responsible grownup, and that's fine when you're an individual member in the House in a safe district, but he was a disaster as Indiana's governor and if Trump hadn't come calling with the VP offer Pence would have been out on his ass.
posted by mightygodking at 1:54 AM on October 29, 2017 [7 favorites]


I honestly believe that POS pence really does want to hang the gays. Him becoming POTUS would be so awful terrible for us guys and gals.
posted by james33 at 4:30 AM on October 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


Once again, I wonder why Jeb! has forsaken us.

Jeb? You mean the guy who forced a woman back on life support a couple of times in Florida?
posted by Melismata at 5:46 AM on October 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


Once again, I wonder why Jeb! has forsaken us.

i wonder the same thing about Giant Asteroid
posted by entropicamericana at 6:22 AM on October 29, 2017 [11 favorites]


I understand that to many people, Pence isn't that scary, but could those people stop saying he's not a threat? He might not be a threat to you personally but he is to me, and watching people label those fears as histrionics is really fucking gross.
posted by palomar at 6:36 AM on October 29, 2017 [20 favorites]


Isn't there a third way? Like, dissolve the Union and start over or something?
posted by DreamerFi at 6:46 AM on October 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


Trump is one of the worst things to happen to the country and the world in my lifetime and removing him is important and good. But to elaborate on my Trolley Problem comparison above, please be more mindful and more sensitive and less gleeful about the fact that removing him so you can save the people on the one track could very well involve deliberately killing the women and queer people on the other track.
posted by elsilnora at 6:49 AM on October 29, 2017 [9 favorites]


Would Pence really be an effective president after that?

Dumb motherfucker wasn't an effective governor of a state as red as Indiana with (IIRC) handy Republican majorities in the legislature. The fuck is he gonna do with a country who detest his dumb ass? The double-fuck is he gonna do without effective control of the Senate and with only mostly-control of the House because Pelosi can run rings around Ryan?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:54 AM on October 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


Now that you’re saying that it would be an acceptable trade off for tens of millions of nonAmericans - assuming a single unilateral strike without escalation, which is far from a given - to die in a holocaust so that Americans can be safe in a situation that Americans chose to be in - well, that’s your nation corrupted beyond redemption right there. Trump wins. And all because nonAmericans are not real to you.

You know what, I tried to walk past this, but I can't. Literally not one single person who is at threat from Pence chose to be in this situation; it was forced upon them against their will like everybody else. But sure! Blame vulnerable American women and minorities--at threat from Trump now and Pence in the future and who voted against them--for this situation.

"nonAmericans are not real to you"? This comment absolutely reads like Pence's promised victims--who he has a history of successfully victimizing--are the ones who are not real to you and are acceptable collateral damage for you to feel safe. Like with the Trolley Problem, there is no good or correct answer, and in either case people are going to suffer and die. But please stop asking the people the trolley could be sent towards on the other track to be glad about it. We are not philosophical characters for you to play a game of "which group are worth more" with. We are people.
posted by elsilnora at 7:04 AM on October 29, 2017 [21 favorites]


I'd rather have my DNR ignored and my medically unresponsive body kept on life support than be forced to have a baby.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:06 AM on October 29, 2017 [7 favorites]


As stated above, with Democratic majorities, Pence would be hamstrung. That’s what we need to jump the track and run this GOP death trolley into the ground.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:11 AM on October 29, 2017 [6 favorites]


I can’t predict shit. I do however know how the mean of history trends toward trans women so eventually I figure I’ll be rounded up and shot. So I just try to live as best I can with that and not get too wrapped up in the present moment about who is the worst fucker.
posted by Annika Cicada at 7:12 AM on October 29, 2017 [7 favorites]


He isn't murdering people right now any more than any president has done.

Yes, Puerto Rico, and MeFi's own Corb's grandfather has died thanks to the neglect/passive murder of Puerto Ricans by Trump.

The good-ish news is that, as bad as Pence might be - and he is bad - the President is not a dictator. The resistance has at least partially succeeded in hobbling Trump, or hobbling him more than otherwise, it has forced neo-Nazi rallies to cancel, it is pushing back and making the fascist right's job much harder than it could have been. Pence will want to do his best to oppress women, LGBT people, and POC, but he can be resisted and stymied.

(And this is why state and local politics are important! California can, and has, thumbed its nose at Trump and Co. because Democrats are in power at the state and local level. Turn out in 2018 and help elect every Democrat we possibly can! This will make Trump's, or Pence's, job that much harder and keep people from being demoralized.)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:29 AM on October 29, 2017 [11 favorites]


Fucking nazis harassing and assaulting a biracial couple in Brentwood.

Watch the video below it. That black dude has the heart of a lion.
posted by Talez at 7:33 AM on October 29, 2017 [5 favorites]


Silver lining: Pence is not re-electable, meaning that with no charisma his personality works against him outside of a familiar territory. Trump's choice to pick someone who would not take any shine away from him might pay off for Democrats.
posted by Brian B. at 7:43 AM on October 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


He isn't murdering people right now any more than any president has done.

Open enrollment for the ACA hasn't started yet. Taking away the insurance subsidies will absolutely force force thousands of Americans to forego insurance because they simply cannot afford it. People will die as a result.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:07 AM on October 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


[Couple comments removed. I need folks to step back and consider what a goddam trolley problem of a setup Trump vs. Pence is and direct your understandable frustration with this shitpile of an administration at the actual administration instead of each other.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:16 AM on October 29, 2017 [14 favorites]


One idiot out of office at a time.
Yes, Trump and Pence are each a horrible choice in his own way. But look at it like this:

Trump is removed from office (God willing, in as forceful and humiliating a way as possible by the hand of man). Pence takes note and curbs his enthusiasm for disregard of anyone who disagrees with him and his self-serving agenda.
This does not track if the roles are reversed. Trump has no empathy or ability to reflect. Trump is still going to Trump.

So yeah, Emoluments Clause for the win.

(Corb, my heartfelt condolences. May your family find peace in this time of troubles.)
posted by TrishaU at 8:20 AM on October 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


Here's the presidential order of succession. It doesn't get any better going down the list:

Vice President Mike Pence.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

If Mueller were to somehow implicate Pence, then we'd get the Ayn Randian Paul Ryan, a man whose idea of universal healthcare is administered by morticians, one who firmly believes that the real-life John Galts have no business paying taxes and one who kowtows constantly to his party's extreme social conservatives.
posted by wolpfack at 8:49 AM on October 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


A thing that can hopefully resolve this trolley problem is to remember that it's not as though Trump cares about the people Pence would harm right now either. If Pence talked to trump last, Pence gets what he wants. If Pence puts an executive order across Trump's desk, he probably gets it, because Trump is a sociopath who doesn't care about any human alive, with the possible exception of Ivanka.

Every step down the chain is better than the one before. Not good, never good, at least till we get down six places. But every little bit better saves lives.
posted by corb at 8:53 AM on October 29, 2017 [10 favorites]


The presidency is not a monarchy. In a monarchy you have a clearly defined list of who is next in line. The procedures quoted in these threads at length make it clear that the succession is the subject of political wrangling, not "next in line."
posted by stonepharisee at 8:55 AM on October 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


I get the feeling that the GOP will lose its taste for an unpredictable personality in the White House if Trump is out, and surround Pence with handlers who work to insulate and direct him, like the similarly dense GWB.

Ah shit, Chief of Staff Cheney is totally possible, isn't it?
posted by jason_steakums at 9:01 AM on October 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


The order of succession is a dynamic thing, no? Trump and Pence would need to go down simultaneously to get to Ryan. Even if you got to Ryan, then his VP would be next, followed by a not-Ryan Speaker.

So to keep our worries focused and real, consider the Orders of Succession as, for example

Trump - Gingrich- Ryan
or Gingrich - Ryan - Rohrabacher
or Pence - Cotton - Ryan
or Cotton - Santorum - Ryan

Much better!
posted by Rumple at 11:59 AM on October 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


Which would be worse for America — Trump or Pence — seems like a complex question. Upthread I’ve seen persuasive arguments either way. Some of you are really very articulate and understand the nuances of each pol’s potential consequences in ways an outsider, like me, would be arrogant to debate.

On the other hand, it does need to be said that for everyone else on the planet Trump is clearly the greater threat to global peace and stability (such as it is, fragile but slowly growing). He debases all of our democratic institutions when he pees on yours. He empowers the worst kind of people, in every country, when he empowers the deplorables in the US. He denigrates the public conversation everywhere with the superstar levels of media reach he has been handed by US newsmakers.

The implications of a Pence administration should be definitely be considered and interrogated and communicated. To vulnerable groups in America the risks are not abstract, and can’t be dismissed quickly or easily with sophistic hand-waving.

But please, American friends, be understanding of the fact that to many of us who live and work in other countries on Earth, the caution over a Pence presidency can seem a bit globally tone-deaf.

We’ve all got a monster on our hands, but only you have the power to do something about it. Please do, post haste. We’re all counting on you to take care of this.
posted by Construction Concern at 12:25 PM on October 29, 2017 [9 favorites]


So, with Trump we have a small but not insignificant chance of a Mad Max future, whereas Pence brings on The Handmaids Tale. As it is, things are getting too Man in the High Castle for my comfort.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 12:29 PM on October 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


In all seriousness, bring on Pence. Once Trump is gone, he will be damaged goods and we can treat him as the fascist enabler he has turned into.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 12:31 PM on October 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


I think it’s remarkably naive to imagine that the American Christian Dominionist death cult would stop at the American border.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:33 PM on October 29, 2017 [8 favorites]


Realize a lot of y'all may have heated initial reactions to what I'm going to say here.

Context reminder: I grew up raised by the evangelicals everyone loves to hate. Not that I think the hatred is misplaced, but y'know, if you're going to hate an entire group of people and what they represent, it might behoove you to accept the fact that it is indeed hatred and not another way of handling difficult issues that have arisen out of the same soil as you. The same history. The same background.

Scared shitless of Pence? It's been decades. They've been preparing this for decades. Pence is not alone. He's not the devil incarnate. He's human. He has a support system with deep, deep roots. Roots that feed on the very hate and visceral fear given to them.

Once y'all understand that, which, hey, after 40 years as an American raised by fucking evangelicals who has been saying this for thirty years (yes I started talking about it when I was ten fucking years old), and who has seen countless others raised in that environment have the courage to do the same, and be ignored, well.

I'm honestly ready to give up, which I can do because I dealt with it without hatred. I accepted my anger. I listened to it and saw that far too few did the same. I didn't just run away from my family, America. I ran away from you because I saw what you would become.
posted by fraula at 2:12 PM on October 29, 2017 [8 favorites]


Roots that feed on the very hate and visceral fear given to them

Could you explain more about this?
posted by schadenfrau at 2:52 PM on October 29, 2017


I'd rather have my DNR ignored and my medically unresponsive body kept on life support than be forced to have a baby.

I hate that I have to point this out, but there is precedent for both of these things happening at the same time.
posted by chiquitita at 3:16 PM on October 29, 2017 [9 favorites]


It's unclear that Pense is less likely to start a war than Trump, nuclear or otherwise. It's likely Trump's orders would receive scrutiny beyond previous or future presidents, including Pense, and maybe Trump would bulk at nuking his own hotel, but okay those only represent minor differences. Religion is the big reason Pense points more towards war though.

American Christians can easily be far more crazy than Trump, perhaps Pense himself is not among them, but.. It's likely a Pense presidency would build even stronger connections between deeply crazy American Christian beliefs with right-wing business interests, like Big Oil and military contractors. This is very bad long term.

It makes sense that military contractors with Middle Eastern and North African clients would support American Christian politicians who outright seek war in the Middle East and North Africa because they believe it'll bring about the Rapture. It's clear Pense makes that future more likely, maybe even just as VP, but certainly as president.

Right now, Trump is a divisive figure for Republicans too, including right-wing Christians. And Trump taints their leaders who backed him. Pense would repair that damage almost instantly, dramatically magnifying the political motivation and power of the Religious Right. Impeaching Trump might well result in significant congressional gains for Republicans.

I think Trump "barely" hanging onto power throughout his term sounds like the best case scenario, so that he can bring down as many Republicans as possible, especially if its figures from the religious right he brings down, people like Pense and worse. Actually, Pense being indicted before Trump sounds even better, but impossible.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:08 PM on October 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


I'm glad that trolley problem and Hobson's choice are in this thread already. It's my opinion that Trump has already done generational damage to the Republican party, a la Nixon, and that his removal would likely motivate those "tens of thousands of Nazis [to get themselves] out in the streets" even more than his not-always-tacit acceptance of them has thus far, and in a way I'm for that part of the cure because I suspect our only hope right now is an emetic reaction. It's not that I discount Pence's own badness [and btw I strongly discount speculation that his removal would politically happen in turn and that any other figures like Ryan even need be considered], it's that the trauma of the succession and the high likelihood of some kind of [hopefully] minor insurrection will dovetail with his own lack of charisma to prevent him from accomplishing much more than 45 himself has.

I imagine he would be able to make, I mean, reverse some progress in some areas, and fail to reverse progress in others. There might be some cabinet resignations (there usually would be anyway, but running from this toxic presidency* is probably to be expected), and I don't see that he would then be able to replace those vacancies with anyone measurably worse. So while he presents some uniquely terrifying policy directions, my sense that he would get us close to Gilead as a fully in-force thing is pretty well tempered. Even what he might enact via EO or help from the narrow majorities in Congress would, similar to the Muslim ban, get mired in the courts pretty quickly. We've proven that we can fight back, after all. And I like our odds against a "rump" President with only technical electoral legitimacy.

All of this, however, presupposes that we actually do get a resignation or removal, and I am not yet confident that is going to happen without some further wrenching trauma to the body politic.

So, yes, given a choice between awful and abnormal and awful but manageably normal, I feel comfortable with my choice. I would also argue that I don't think we need to be nasty to each other here because our influence on how this actually plays out is ... not substantial. Alea jacta est (nods to Pogo_Fuzzybut).
posted by dhartung at 4:40 PM on October 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


The conversation around this and other policy matters is often carried out with a gravity that suggests whatever decision Metafilter arrives at will be carried out in the real world. Might be worth remembering that our influence on what actually happens is effectively nil.
posted by EarBucket at 4:46 PM on October 29, 2017 [7 favorites]


It's unclear that Pense is less likely to start a war than Trump, nuclear or otherwise.

"Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius. Go Hoosiers. "
posted by pyramid termite at 5:19 PM on October 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


Impeachment or resignation would be very bad for the GOP, so the least bad scenario is a messy, ugly, impeachment in a year, and a Democratic majority in the House & Senate. I'm not optimistic, but Pres. Pants-On-Fire just can't help his greedy venal self from lies and corruption, so I have a tiny shred of hope.
posted by theora55 at 5:30 PM on October 29, 2017


The conversation around this and other policy matters is often carried out with a gravity that suggests whatever decision Metafilter arrives at will be carried out in the real world. Might be worth remembering that our influence on what actually happens is effectively nil.

Jesus Christ, yes. This should be posted every fifty comments in the politics threads.
posted by AdamCSnider at 5:30 PM on October 29, 2017 [4 favorites]


To paraphrase an old cliche: "From our keyboards to God's ears... ain't gonna happen."
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:33 PM on October 29, 2017


I wish I could remember which SA goon described him as 'like if someone taught a stick of deodorant to wince' so I could give proper credit because goddam
posted by Sebmojo at 5:35 PM on October 29, 2017 [4 favorites]


The conversation around this and other policy matters is often carried out with a gravity that suggests whatever decision Metafilter arrives at will be carried out in the real world. Might be worth remembering that our influence on what actually happens is effectively nil.

Man this is just...such a shitty thing to say to people who feel like they or their loved ones are going to die. Or have died.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:37 PM on October 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


Impeachment or resignation would be very bad for the GOP, so the least bad scenario is a messy, ugly, impeachment in a year, and a Democratic majority in the House & Senate.

Trump can't be removed. If Dems win every seat in the Senate in 2018, they'll have 57. They need 67 to remove Trump from office.

I'm sure there is some action that Trump could, in theory, take that would get 10 R senators to vote in favor of impeachment, but I lack the imagination as to what that might be. Republican allegiance is to party above everything else at all times at all costs forever and ever amen.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:47 PM on October 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


Man this is just...such a shitty thing to say to people who feel like they or their loved ones are going to die. Or have died.

I feel that way too, I really do. These days I live in existential fear that my daughters aren't going to live to be teenagers. But this round of Metafilter: Trump Or Pence? doesn't have any more effect on that than the last fifty times we've gone round it, just like our arguments about what the most effective messaging would be for the Democrats don't actually have anything to do with what they're going to go with.
posted by EarBucket at 5:49 PM on October 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


So, the VP position is not completely devoid of power, and the Republican-controlled Congress has been quietly passing bad little things (among the sort that Pence supports) in the background even as Trump's big signature legislative asks have mostly floundered. Recall the news reports during the campaign about how Trump's staff, when considering Pence for VP, basically asked him if he wanted to do all of the actual work of being President? Yeah, we already kind of have a President Pence. Getting Trump out of office would reduce the number of shitty people currently in power by one, and would be a strategic blow against the far right agenda for the midterm elections or the next presidential election. Apart from North Korea, I don't think it would have much of an effect one way or another on the policy end of things, though.
posted by eviemath at 6:44 PM on October 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


But this round of Metafilter: Trump Or Pence? doesn't have any more effect on that than the last fifty times we've gone round it

It has the effect of wanting me to disengage from the 2018 election.

Seriously, if my supposed allies are so eager to throw me and mine under the bus on the flimsiest of pretexts, if you really think its OK to deny women's fundamental rights for a political advantage, if you are willing to see my wife and friends be murdered, then you all can fight 2018 without the feminists. Remember all those women who marched in January? Do you really think you can take them for granted?

And as far as not having a real-world effect, remember that this debate is not happening in isolation. This article is being talked about elsewhere, this conversation is being repeated a thousand fold in all kinds of venues. And the sane shit is being said. So maybe a bit more circumspection in enthusiastically describing who you would throw under the bus might be in order.
posted by happyroach at 7:06 PM on October 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'm not interested in throwing anyone under the bus. We're all in this together. We have a great deal of work to do before we're done. But we can't confuse the discourse on Metafilter with the work. The discourse informs the work, but they're not the same thing. We need each other in this work, and we can't afford to let arguments over hypotheticals divide us. We have no power over those hypotheticals other than putting our shoulders to the wheel together.

Do you think Trump is better than Pence? Do you think Pence is better than Trump?

Your opinion and mine together have no effect on who's president other than in collective action--pressuring Congress, protesting, building mutual aid, living in community. Our arguments about it here don't decide what happens re: impeachment or not.
posted by EarBucket at 7:11 PM on October 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


EarlBucket, I get the impression that your words are being read as "well, fine, if even the people who claim to be aligned with me don't want to discuss the matter, why should I even keep going?" It's super cathartic to read that there are others out there who make the same argument that I do with the same force that I do.

Besides, what better place to hone the logic and rhetoric that we'll need to perform that collective action you mentioned than in a place like Metafilter? The blue isn't an echo chamber; there are dissenting opinions and, as seen, actual blistering arguments break out. It's not a useless endeavor.
posted by fireoyster at 8:51 PM on October 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


No, absolutely I'm not saying that the discussion doesn't matter. This place is deeply cathartic, and home to some of the best political discussion I've found. At the same time, though, we should keep it in perspective. People act like lives are in the balance depending on what conclusion we reach, accusing each other of condemning vast swaths of the population to death. That's wildly out of proportion to the power Metafilter actually has to decide anything.
posted by EarBucket at 9:57 PM on October 29, 2017 [6 favorites]


Our best defense against president Pence is to start using the phrase, often and everywhere, until POTUS45 notices and realizes someone doesn't think he's in charge.

It took about six months to go from "president Bannon" in the press to "Bannon is fired." He can't do that with Pence, but he can absolutely undercut his support, rile up his fanbase against Pence, and refuse to support Pence's agenda. And he'll do that, if he thinks Pence is being taken more seriously in the media than he is.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:07 PM on October 29, 2017 [6 favorites]




> No, absolutely I'm not saying that the discussion doesn't matter. This place is deeply cathartic, and home to some of the best political discussion I've found. At the same time, though, we should keep it in perspective. People act like lives are in the balance depending on what conclusion we reach, accusing each other of condemning vast swaths of the population to death. That's wildly out of proportion to the power Metafilter actually has to decide anything.

I'm way fascinated by the question of the level of metafilter's influence. Like, on the one hand, metafilter is not at all influential; it's a weird old tiny messageboard from the 1990sweb that has somehow survived to the present day. But on the other hand, I think in cultural terms we punch well above our weight, just because there's a statistically improbably large number of academics and artists1 per capita here.

I've got this semi-janky analogy in my mind between Metafilter and Iceland — both weird tiny out-of-the-way places with surprising levels of cultural influence for their size — but I think maybe that analogy only makes sense to me because I'm obsessed with both Metafilter and Iceland.

1: mostly I'm thinking writers here — gosh but we've got a lot of major scifi novelists!
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:11 PM on October 30, 2017 [5 favorites]


« Older cheese + tea = cheese tea   |   Tattúínárdǿla saga Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments