Selling one’s soul is a big deal. I am not referring to someone who is the spawn of Satan but to human beings who choose to sell their souls in return for some tangible benefit. After all, everything is transactional.
A classic expression of soul-selling in American mythology occurred in the short story “The Devil and Daniel Webster.” It is 20th century story with a 19th century figure and the values of the Puritan 17th century. It claims that all is not lost for a person who sells his soul. Even with a jury stacked with the world’s greatest collection of evil people, the great champion of oratory and the forceful power of reason can triumph over Satan and regain the soul that had been sold to him.
What about for Never-Will-Be-President Mike Pence and Never-Will-Be-Speaker Kevin McCarthy?
For a long time, Mike Pence was the posterboy for soul-sellers. He publicly and repeatedly voiced his joyous acceptance of his actions. His exuberant cabinet-meeting declaration that he was grateful to share the same space-time continuum with his Lord and Savior, the Chosen One, Blessed Be his Name, Say Hallelujah will become part of American lore. People will be laughing at his abject expression of soul-selling for years to come.
Except is not always a laughing matter. Think of how many Americans are dead because we had an immature, inept, incompetent President when we needed an adult. Time and time again, Pence has had the opportunity to rise to the occasion and be the profile in courage the country needs. Time and time again, he has failed to do so. Possibly on 1/6 he acted responsibility but it was because he had no other choice. He knew the plan to have the Vice President steal the election would not work. If he had had any doubts he would have implemented it.
Never-Will-Be-President Pence will have one last chance to redeem himself. In this context, he would have to be his own Daniel Webster. At some point he may be asked to testify on two different events: the January 6 insurrection and the management of the Covid pandemic. What will he do then?
Based on precedent there is little reason to expected him to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth in either investigations. However if defying a subpoena means jail time even for a short interval, that fear might be enough to get him to appear. Such an appearance does not mean he would answer any questions in any meaningful way.
My position consistently stated over multiple blogs is that Never-Will-Be-President Pence never will rise to the occasion. His conduct since leaving office suggests he still thinks he has some sort of future in the Trumpican Party. It has yet to sink in to him that his only appearance at the 2024 Trumpican Party convention will be to be hanged in effigy. I do not know what it will take to get through to him that he has been thrown under the bus. There would seem to be no friends or family who can make him realize that he sold his soul for nothing.
The situation for Never-will-be-Speaker McCarthy is slightly different. Pence did not get on the Trump List until the waning days of his Vice Presidency. His failure by being weak on 1/6 doomed him to be placed on the Trump List where he will remain forever. McCarthy joined him on the list shortly afterwards for his own conduct once the insurrection had started. He compounded his failure expressed in the phone call with a public expression of where he thought the fault for the insurrection belonged. He has been on the Trump List ever since.
Unlike Never-will-be-President Pence, Never-will-be-Speaker McCarthy is aware that he is on the Trump List. The embarrassment occurs in watching him try to remove himself from it. He is deluded and desperate enough to think that if he goes to Mar-a-Lago enough times and kisses whatever he has to, that his Lord and Savior, the Chosen One, Blessed Be his Name, Say Hallelujah will restore him to glory as a worthy soul-seller. He is so deluded and desperate that he even tortured America for more than 8 hours in a performance that will be contrasted with Jimmy Stewart for years to come.
The difference with Never-will-be-President Pence is that Never-will-be-Speaker McCarthy knows who his replacement will be. Marjorie Taylor Greene already has been designated as an upcoming star in the Republican Party. Since she is a true-believer she did not need to sell her soul. So even if the next speaker is not her, it will be someone with her blessing. As things stand now, she will continue to be the face of the Trumpican Party in the House of Representatives after the 2022 elections.
What will Never-will-be-Speaker McCarthy do when it is his turn to rise to the occasion and tell the truth? Gradually the list of subpoenaed people by the 1/6 Committee is working itself up the food chain. Will he defy the subpoena to testify and turn over documents to the House committee? Will he embrace the opportunity to go to prison as Bannon has? Will he jeopardize his own House seat by telling the truth? It will be too late to primary him at that point.
No one knows for sure what Never-will-be-Speaker McCarthy will do then. He well may realize that he has been thrown under the bus and has no future in the Trumpican Party. He may not be as delusional as Never-will-be-President Pence. So while I would not hold my breath that when the moment of truth comes that Never-will-be-Speaker McCarthy will be the profile in courage the country needs, it is more of a possibility then with Never-will-be-President Pence. We shall see.
DO REAL REPUBLICANS WANT TRUMP TO BE INDICTED?
Ironically, the House report issued late spring may provide the Brutus/Howard Baker moment so many people have been waiting for. The election in Virginia has shown the way to a post-Trump future. The refusal of some Republican governors to run for the Senate has exposed the difference between governors and representatives. Trumpicans are willing to be the party of potholes, the party of dilapidated bridges, and the party of tainted water; Republican governors are not. Legislators such as in Wisconsin are willing to continually relitigate the 2020 election; Republican governors are not. The January 6 report documenting the Hitman’s attempt to steal the election and overthrow the Constitution may be a bridge too far for the Republican governors to take…especially as the Hitman continues to seek to depose Republican governors who were not loyal to him. At some point someone is going to say “enough is enough. We have more to gain by facing the future than by being trapped in the past with a traitor.” We shall see.