Peter Baker, New York Times White House correspondent, reviewed CNN reporter Tom Lobianco’s book “Piety and Power -- Mike Pence and the Taking of the White House,” but reserved his most hostile, pungent criticism for Pence’s boss.
After losing his first campaign for Congress, a penitent Mike Pence swore off the dark side of politics. In a confessional essay in 1991, he wrote that “negative campaigning is wrong” and set out rules for himself for the future. Any campaign, he said, “ought to demonstrate the basic human decency of the candidate,” must advance a goal greater than personal desire and should not be only “about winning.”
The press tends to honor Pence’s social conservatism only in the breach, and so does Baker, implying Pence has sold his soul by making alliance with Donald Trump. Baker seems to use his review of a book on Pence to get in brutal hits on Trump (click “expand”):
A quarter-century later, he signed onto the presidential ticket of a candidate who seemed to be the antithesis of the ideal Pence once envisioned. While Pence himself maintains a public dignity and eschews vitriol against opponents in keeping with his long-ago atonement, he has tethered himself to a president who revels in negative campaigning, makes winning his all-consuming aspiration and has rarely been accused of an excess of human decency.
That Faustian bargain makes Pence one of the most intriguing yet least understood figures in American politics today. What mix of ambition, duty, principle and expedience led him to the vice presidency in the White House of Donald J. Trump? How does a devoted evangelical Christian serve a foulmouthed, thrice-married vulgarian who boasts of grabbing women by their private parts and paid hush money to a porn star alleging an extramarital affair? What virtues does Pence see in Trump? Does he genuinely admire him the way he seems to in those rapturous photo ops? Or does he secretly see himself as the last grown-up in the room, keeping things from being worse?
When an evangelical pastor who once prayed with Pence in his congressional office ran into him at a ceremony last year, he told him: “You know, Mr. Vice President, more than anything, we need you to find your conscience, the country desperately needs you to find your conscience.”
“It’s always easier said than done,” Pence replied cryptically, and then walked away.
Back in June, Baker made the front page with “Trump’s Foggy Truth Meets Fog of War.” Baker, whose reporting has grown harsher and more partisan against President Trump, used the Iran crisis to attack Trump as a liar who can’t be trusted.