That’s Vice President Mike Pence getting the last laugh in the wake of the torrent of sexual-misconduct charges against Washington politicians, journalists and entertainment industry titans who are suddenly not so titanic.
Mr. Pence was mocked by the liberals and other wise guys last winter when The Washington Post reported, in a profile of second lady Karen Pence, that the vice president insists never to be alone with a woman not his wife. This wasn’t exactly news, since the veep had told The Hill newspaper years ago that he neither dines with a woman, nor attends events where alcohol is served, without his wife present.
“The revolting thing about Pence’s no-meals-with women rule isn’t prudishness,” tweeted Ian Millhiser, the “justice editor” of something called the ThinkProgress blog. “It’s that he’s limiting key professional opportunities to men.” Eight months later the “Pence rule” is looking less like prudishness and more like prudence. If Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Mark Halperin, Bill O’Reilly and comedian Louis C.K. (who suffers without a surname), Sen. Al Franken and Rep. John Conyers had not been let loose without a wife, they might be happier men today.
Clara Jeffery, editor-in-chief of the uber-left Mother Jones magazine, asks, not so rhetorically, whether Mr. Pence would dine alone with Ivanka Trump, or KellyAnne [Conway] or whether they too, had been relegated to second-class citizenship? “How would he ever even interview a woman,” Miss Jeffrey wrote. “With a chaperone?”
This misses the point of the Pence Rule, of course, and there’s no evidence to suggest that any woman who has ever worked for Mr. Pence — the six-term congressman, the governor or the vice president — has watched her career hit a roadblock, much less a glass ceiling, as a result of the Pence Rule. Quaint though it might seem to Miss Jeffery, the biblical admonition, “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil,” might have saved the randy worthies of stage, screen and newsroom who have come such a cropper. “Character,” J.C. Watts, the former congressman from Oklahoma, once wryly observed, “is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking.”
The disgraced and now unemployed, sexual abusers apparently operated under the opposite premise; namely, that what they were doing when nobody was looking would be wrong only if they got caught. Had any of them followed the vice president’s proscription they would still be enjoying their pelf and perks.
Before the Pence Rule was the veep’s personal-conduct policy, such a precaution was set out decades ago by the Rev. Billy Graham, the world-renowned evangelist who came to be known as “pastor to presidents.” During his long career, Mr. Graham counseled 11 of them, Democrats and Republicans, from Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush. Mr. Graham, who turned 99 on Nov. 7, would not travel, meet or dine alone with a woman other than his wife, Ruth, to whom he was married for 64 years until she died in 2007.
Mockers of the Pence Rule on the feminist fringe is predicated on the false premise that it’s necessary only to prevent the otherwise uncontrollable predatory instincts of the human male. (The law of the jungle, impervious to the discipline of the human female, must take care of itself.) That’s probably true in certain Southern California zip codes, but, as Joseph Backholm of the Family Policy Institute tells our Bradford Richardson, “the world would be a much better place and much less complicated if everybody conducted themselves like Mike Pence does.” Prudery, if someone wants to call it that, has its uses.
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