When Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers were dancing partners, it was said that their enormous popularity came from the fact that she gave him sex appeal and he gave her class.
Not to say that Ginger didn’t already have class, but nobody had class like Fred Astaire. These days class is a scarce commodity --- not just in Hollywood, but (especially) in politics --- and when we see it, we take notice. In the 2016 Presidential race, when it comes to class, Mike Pence is bringing it.
In the one VP debate before Election Day, Trump’s running mate showed why he’s an asset to the ticket. Sharing the stage with someone who thought he could make points by constantly interrupting like a yappy little terrier, he stayed calm and in control. From the start, Kaine resorted to prepared insults and canned lines (example: Trump has “a personal Mt. Rushmore of dictators”), so much so that it would have been understandable if Pence had turned to him and said, “Good lord, man. Get a grip.” But he stuck to the issues and let Kaine continue showing himself to be annoying.
Here’s what the Clinton campaign doesn’t get: one essential quality that Hillary lacks, and has always lacked, is likeability. She needed a running mate who contributed at least a smidgeon of that. Kaine did a spectacular job of projecting unlikeability. To anyone who checked the content of his constant yapping, he projected dishonesty as well. Can her ticket stand more of that?
I do have to say, there was one question handled well by both candidates: the one about their struggle with conflict between personal belief and public policy. Kaine used the death penalty in his state as an example. It was Pence who brought up abortion, making an eloquent case for his pro-life views (“Before you were formed in the womb, I knew you.”). The candidates let each other speak, and each gave a thoughtful answer. But then Kaine just had to take a dig by wrongly insisting that Trump wants to punish women. It was the disappointing end to a particularly good exchange.
Pence had the last word in the debate, in answer to a question about how to bring the country together if his ticket wins. Again, he showed real class, getting right to the point and capsulizing what the Trump campaign has always been about. Americans will come together when they see America strong again, standing tall in the world. They want a comeback, and that takes leadership.
After this debate, no one should doubt that Pence could provide it if called upon.