Who Predicted Mike Pence Would Tell A Homophobic 'Joke'?
Credit: @bluegal (Composite)
March 16, 2023

On Saturday, guy that has zero chance of winning a Republican primary for just about anything these days Mike Pence gave a speech at the annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington. The Gridiron dinner is a time for D.C. journalists and politicians to do comedy stuff. Because he’s former Vice President Mike Pence, a guy that calls his wife “mother” when not around their children and believes in an old-timey 1950s Jesus Christ, the former Donald Trump murder target thought it would make a fun political joke to attack Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for being gay.

While attempting to take a swipe at Pete Buttigieg over airline issues that happened in 2021, Pence “joked” that he took “maternity leave,” and in so doing was delinquent in his job. "Pete is the only person in human history to have a child and everyone else gets postpartum depression,” Pence said. There are all kinds of jokes one could make at Pete Buttigieg’s expense, especially if you want to criticize his tenure as head of Biden’s Department of Transportation, but lazily settling on Pete Buttigieg being gay is the kind of joke that was already hackneyed by the end of the 1980s.

The White House and others have very quickly seized on Pence’s utter lameness as a human being (and possibly his terrible writing staff) and demanded he apologize for the crap material.

I’m not a huge fan of slamming bad joke-telling, because so much of humor is subjective. But what is not subjective is lame-ass jokes that were funny more than 30 years ago, when the best excuse most of us have for laughing at them at the time is that we didn’t know any better. There is also a difference between some hack comedian telling hack jokes in a comedy club, and a politician trying to tell political jokes who resorts to old homophobic and misogynistic tropes. Have a more meaningful point of view if your job is to supposedly lead people!

The difference is that we can and should criticize them in the public sphere. 

Politically, I’m not a huge Pete Buttigieg fan. Of course, I’m even less of a fan of Mike Pence—a man who believes the 1998 Disney film Mulan was an attempt to groom women for the military—and the rest of his morally bankrupt political party. In calling the secretary of transportation out for taking paternity leave while also being the vice president for an administration best known for vacuuming up tax payer money into private businesses and estates so the then-president could play golf, Pence has once again exposed himself as a true little-league politician.

The real issue in the end is that people like Mike Pence do not have policy alternatives—or any actionable ideas that would have been any different from Secretary Buttigieg’s. If Mike Pence had happened to be transportation secretary in 2021, he would definitely not have taken paternity leave to be with a new child, and he would have done even less than nothing about our infrastructure crises.

Pence is a what passes for a conservative Christian these days: He may seem nice, but he is not kind. His belief in phrases that begin with “Thou shall” extend only as far as people doing what he says and believing him to be righteous about something they’ve vaguely heard about on Sunday mornings since they were children.

The fact of the matter is that Mike Pence, politically and intellectually, isn’t in the same league as Pete Buttigieg, and this has always been true.

Republished with permission from Daily Kos.

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