I keep on my desk a copy of the seventh edition of The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot. The book, originally written by Russell Kirk in 1953, is a seminal work on conservatism. The blurbs on the back praising the book range from William F. Buckley to Richard Nixon to David Frum.
Inside the cover is a note to me. “To Erick and Christy, Thanks for all your wonderful help in my race for minority leader. You made a difference in the cause, His best, Mike Pence.”
Pence had given me the book as a gift after his run for minority leader in Congress, which I actively supported. I have always been a Mike Pence fan. In 2008, I was one of a handful of people to privately meet with him and encourage him to enter the Presidential race that year. He declined, instead running for Governor of Indiana and I supported him there.
In Congress, Mike Pence was the standard bearer for conservatism. It was his cause. He was the elected Buckley. And I am now so thoroughly disappointed in him.
The 2016 Republican Presidential primary is a choice between a conservative and a shallow demagogue. The race now hinges on Indiana. Either Cruz will win and we can continue the fight to stop Trump or Cruz will lose and more likely than not guarantee a Trump nomination. A Trump nomination would destroy all that Mike Pence so tirelessly for so many years worked to achieve.
But Pence, in the face of this, remains on the sidelines. He has not yet wielded his influence in Indiana, the state he governs. Every day he sits on the sidelines is another day in which he could have made a difference. He has not used his influence in the conservative movement to rally against Trump.
In 2020, conservatives will need to remember who stood up against Trump and who sat silently by. We will need to remember those who collaborated with Trump and those who turned a blind eye to Trump. We will have to remember that the man who kept the fires of constitutional liberty lit for so long stayed so quiet.
Others may forget. But I will certainly remember than in the face of devastation we all know Donald Trump will cause as the Republican nominee in 2016, Mike Pence did nothing. And should he have any future ambition, he will need to a pay a price for his silence.
“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Rev. 3:15-16