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Mike Pence on Mackinac Island — the outrage that was not

Just because Vice President Pence’s world view is stuck in the 19th Century doesn’t mean he should knock around Mackinac in a horse-drawn carriage.

Vice President Mike Pence leaves the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Mich., in an eight-vehicle motorcade on Saturday.
Vice President Mike Pence leaves the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan, in an eight-vehicle motorcade on Saturday.
Paul Egan/Detroit Free Press via AP

Just because Mike Pence’s world view is stuck in the 19th Century doesn’t mean he should knock around Mackinac Island in a horse-drawn carriage.

Mackinac Island is a lovely place, way up there in Michigan, and a big part of the touristy charm is a general ban on motorized vehicles that has been in place since 1898.

But when a sitting vice president of the United States comes to visit, as Pence did on Saturday to give a speech, he or she deserves maximum personal protection. If that means an eight-SUV motorcade, as Pence or the Secret Service decided it did, so be it.

A lot of people are pretty upset that Pence didn’t just walk the mile — or take a carriage ride or even ride a bike — from the island’s airport to the Grand Hotel. That’s what anybody else would have to do.

We suspect most of those critics, though, were pretty down on Pence all along. They just don’t like the guy, or at least his politics. Had this been a different vice president — let’s say Joe Biden five years ago — they would have defended the motorcade as a necessary security measure, even as Republicans would have flipped the script and pretended to be outraged.

There’s a lot not to admire about Pence. His views on women, LGBTQ rights, immigration and climate change, for starters, are retrograde. And his eagerness to debase himself in defense of President Trump, complete with fawning gaze, is downright creepy. The best argument for not impeaching Trump might be that it’ll just get you President Pence.

But when Trump and Pence’s critics try to make hay of the vice president’s decision to ride in a car on Mackinac Island, they diminish their own credibility. People see right through it.

If everything is an outrage, nothing is an outrage.

And it becomes that much easier for Trump’s lapdogs and sycophants to shrug off the real thing, such as the way he squeezed Ukraine to dig up dirt on Biden.

Now that was an outrage.

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