People Can’t Believe The Person Who Convinced Mike Pence To Not Let Trump Destroy Democracy Was…Dan Quayle?

Vice presidents don’t tend to be as remembered as well as those they served under. (There are exceptions. One of them is currently commander-in-chief.) So you might not recall Dan Quayle. He was veep under another veep-turned-president, George H.W. Bush. He’s not remembered that fondly, if at all. His legacy may wind up being that one time he insisted, at a spelling bee, that “potato” was spelled “potatoe.” (He also launched a culture war against fictitious television character Murphy Brown.) But we live in the weird timeline, which is to say that the reason we still have a democratic republic is because of him.

As per CNN, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s forthcoming Trump book Peril has a hair-raising passage in which another former veep, Mike Pence, turned to Quayle for advice towards the end of the Trump administration. The then-president was pressuring Pence to help overturn the election. He couldn’t do that, mind you. But he still, apparently, had to be talked down from joining his superior’s attempted coup.

Over and over, Pence asked if there was anything he could do.

“Mike, you have no flexibility on this. None. Zero. Forget it. Put it away,” Quayle told him.

Pence pressed again.

“You don’t know the position I’m in,” he said, according to the authors.

“I do know the position you’re in,” Quayle responded. “I also know what the law is. You listen to the parliamentarian. That’s all you do. You have no power.”

Again, Pence couldn’t overturn the election results, despite Trump’s repeated insistence to the contrary. But CNN offers two timelines had Pence not done the right thing and certified the election:

At best, that would have led to a series of lawsuits contesting whether Pence had the ability to overturn the election. That process would have dragged out for weeks — if not months — leaving the country in limbo in ways that could well have spawned further violence.

At worst, we could have seen the legitimate decline of American democracy, with the demonstrated will of the people overturned by a single man.

What did happen is still not great: Trump continues to assert, with no proof and after endless legal embarrassments, that the 2020 election was stolen from him. And a large chunk of Republicans, politicians and voters alike, insist this lie is true. Oh, and there was that Capitol riot. But it could have been even worse. And the reason it’s not worse is because…of Dan Quayle?

When the news broke, people couldn’t believe that the voice of reason was…wait, Dan Quayle?

Others couldn’t believe that we still have a (mostly) functioning democracy because of…no, really, it’s Dan Quayle?

Some forgave him for “potatoe.”

But others were more cautious. Maybe a timeline in which the nation survived because of Dan Quayle is not a good one.

And others pointed out that Mike Pence was awfully close to joining the coup.

But he didn’t. He cleared the lowest bar imaginable. And he may have only done that because of Dan Quayle? That still doesn’t feel right.

(Via CNN)