Conservative syndicated columnist George Will wrote this week that Vice President Mike Pence has “become America’s most repulsive public figure.” Why does Will think Pence deserves this absurd slur? Apparently, the columnist has found the vice president guilty of the heinous crime of being a decent man. Will announced in 2016 that he was leaving the Republican Party over the nomination of Donald Trump as the GOP’s presidential candidate. So it is no surprise that Will has become part of the so-called “resistance” to the duly elected president of the United States. He’s even become a contributor to NBC and its liberal sister news channel, MSNBC, using this as a forum to criticize both President Trump and Vice President Pence. But don’t let Will’s penchant for writing columns filled with big words that most American’s never use and can’t even define obscure the fact that the central indictment of his hostile column is pretty thin gruel. Some writers – and Will is clearly among them – think using big and seldom seen words makes them seem smart. He clearly rejects the advice given by writer George Orwell in a 1946 essay to “never use a long word where a short one will do.” In attempting to prove his anti-Pence thesis, Will summons the depths of his ample thesaurus to support a conclusion that the vice president is, in fact, very polite and proper. To wit: Will calls Pence “oleaginous,” which the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines as either “resembling or having the properties of oil” or “marked by an offensive ingratiating manner or quality.” After Will’s column appeared in newspapers and on websites around the country, “oleaginous” became the most-searched for word in the online dictionary, with searches rising by 8,800 percent. A less acrid conclusion would be that Pence is polished. For the sins of recognizing former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the audience at a recent speech and addressing his own boss – who happens to be the president of the United States – with appropriate respect and deference, Will accuses Pence of “toadyism” and “obsequiousness.” People used to call what Pence has done savoir faire, and it is fairly standard to recognize elected and former elected officials in attendance at political or charitable events. George Will is a neighbor and, if not a friend, more than an acquaintance. He has done me more than one good turn. He and his family have been hospitable to my family, and I, like so many others, have learned from and cited a great deal of his work over the years. All the more troubling, then, to see him stoop to ad-hominem attacks. Since when are humility and decorum fodder for scorn of the worst kind? Since at least 1990, when Will did this to another honorable and unpretentious man: President George Herbert Walker Bush. Will derided President Bush’s modesty as “arrogance,” excoriating the then-president for the high crime of de-emphasizing the “rhetorical dimension of the presidency” that Bush’s predecessor, the Great Communicator Ronald Reagan, employed with aplomb. What is it about proper, genteel, civil, self-effacing men that George Will doesn’t like? It is clearly not that he prefers improper, brash men. Just five months ago, Will declared President Trump “the nation’s worst president” and accused him of “full-throated support of the grotesque.” Will has accused the “scabrous” Trump of “intellectual sloth” and “stratospheric self-confidence.” In at least one instance he has even shed that trademark Willian vocabularic creativity to refer to Trump simply as “a bully.” What is evident from Will’s splenetic attack on Pence is just how far the “Never Trump” movement is willing to go to achieve its main goal of … well, what is the goal now, 16 months after President Trump’s inauguration? Make voters wish they hadn’t supported Trump so they could have avoided the overwhelming barrage of mordant if ultimately toothless hand-wringing from the pundit class? To put it in Will-ian terms: The only purpose these sesquipedalian insults serve is to denigrate men who are actually working to make this country better. The intellectual elite inside the Beltway would be well-served to look at the big picture. We understand that you think you’re classier than the president and smarter than the vice president. We just don’t care. What matters are the actions being taken by President Trump and Vice President Pence, and they are saving the country. Villainizing Pence for his style obfuscates the accomplishments of the Trump administration – from the diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea, to a roaring economy and low unemployment, to strengthening the border, to appointing many terrific conservative judges. It also alienates a key ally of traditional Republicans in a non-traditionally Republican White House and era. Pence is a confirmed, lifelong advocate for conservatism in a position to influence the direction of an administration many in the establishment worried would be unpredictable and questionably conservative. Will and his fellow travelers on the anti-Trump road present no evidence that Pence has shed that mantle – just that he is what we all knew the vice president to be: a cordial and mannerly man. And yet, having so far utterly failed in their mission to shame President Trump into resignation, the never-Trump wing of the Republican Party has turned its sights on Pence, who has been their ally. For the unpardonable sin of publicly supporting his boss, his boss’s political allies, and his boss’s political agenda, the vice president is condemned to face the supercilious verbosity of Roget’s Firing Squad. Will’s lambasting of Pence is, like so many similar hyperbolic lamentations about the rhetorical style of our elected leaders, an exercise in otiosity. The English philosopher Jeremy Bentham had a beautiful phrase that I’m sorry to say applies to George Will here: “nonsense upon stilts.” All this would be laughable were it not for the ultimate consequences of such malevolent backbiting: a return to power of the liberal establishment. Will either does not understand this threat, or he so loathes the president that he is eager to bring liberal Democrats back to power – and take down a good man like Mike Pence in the process – just to validate his own sense of superiority. That may not be oleaginous; it is certainly dyspeptic.
Wow!! That outstanding op/ed was written by former Sec. of Education, William J. Bennett. Dr. Bennett just destroyed George Will and his self-righteous, snotty arrogance. In the past, I’ve quoted George and posted his articles on occasion. But, he is part of that establishment media inside the beltway that cannot stand the very idea of a President Trump and is incapable of getting the hell over it. It makes all the sense in the world that he’s now over at NBC and MSNBC. And, for George to attack VP Mike Pence (R) is beyond ridiculous. Kudos to Dr. Bennett for this epic takedown of his neighbor. Please consider this your Read of the Day. If you read just one article here at The Daily Buzz, then READ THIS!!! Excellent!! 🙂