The great humorist Will Rogers once said: “The man with the best job in the country is the vice president. All he has to do is get up every morning and say, ‘How is the president?’”
Apparently there’s more to it than that these days. Now he has to say: “Can we have your political support? Can you send us some money?”
So I know Vice President Mike Pence didn’t sit down recently to send me a fundraising email. One reason I know that is the email from him that dropped in my inbox two weeks ago was addressed to “Chris.”
More importantly, I hope he didn’t have time to send me, or “Chris” for that matter, a solicitation. Not without the aid of a vice deputy assistant undersecretary, or someone with a title like that. I prefer to think the vice president of the United States has more important things to do.
At least he wasn’t tweeting.
But indeed the last week of June, an email from our former Hoosier governor showed up explaining, as he did in a recent Cabinet meeting that went viral online, how “it’s the greatest privilege of my life to serve as your Vice President alongside a President who is fighting every day to Make America Great Again.”
The letter touted the accomplishments of the first five-plus months of the Trump Administration. Point No. 1 boasted: “Unemployment is at a 10-year low and continues to fall.”
What’s unsaid is that when President Obama left office, unemployment was at a nine-year low and continuing to fall. The Trump administration inherited low unemployment rates, even they don’t like to admit it.
Donald Trump Jr. made the claim last year that the previous administration was releasing “artificial numbers.” He said “(t)hese are numbers that are massaged to make the existing economy look good, to make this (Obama) administration look good when, in fact, it’s a total disaster.”
The fact-checking organization PolitiFact consulted a number of economists at places like Harvard and George Washington universities before giving Trump Jr.’s comments its lowest rating of untruthfulness.
“Because his claim is in the realm of the ridiculous, we rate it Pants on Fire!” PolitiFact ruled.
But I digress. Burning pants aside, this is less about the claims that are made than the very idea of the vice president hitting the electronic campaign trail and trolling for support.
“This success is great, but we’re just getting started…,” the email continued. “Each day, I see even more promise in our fight to Make America Great Again. But the President and I can’t do it alone. ... That’s why I wanted you to be one of the first to know that I have launched Great America Committee to support candidates who will help President Trump and me Make America Great Again.”
Someday I’ll get hardened to the fact that a very high percentage of the men and women we elect to public office are so much more effective at trying to be re-elected than they they are at actually governing. But I don’t have to like it.
This isn’t the first time I’ve expressed that a bad situation has gotten so much worse with the acceptance of Trump-style politics. The importance of telling voters what a candidate wants them to believe has far outdistanced the practice of presenting the facts and standing for the truth.
But maybe I expect too much from the office of vice president.
Founding Father John Adams was the first vice president.
Adams is quoted as describing the position as “... the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.”
As a quote, Pence’s “I have launched Great America Committee” may represent a step up for the office.