Mike Pence wouldn’t like being associated with this politician, but I’m going to offer it anyway.
The late George McGovern — a liberal icon and one of my favorite pols — once stated that a politician’s most necessary trait is to possess a huge ego.
You’ve got to think highly of yourself in order to achieve success in the political world, McGovern declared.
Thus, it is that memory of a former presidential candidate’s observation, that brings me to the present day.
Gov. Pence himself is a successful politician: service in the U.S. Congress and as Indiana governor.
His rollout Saturday as Donald J. Trump’s vice-presidential running mate, though, makes me wonder: Is Pence’s ego going to suffer grievous injury because of the behavior and spotlight-hogging style of the Republican Party’s presidential nominee?
Those of you who watched Trump prattle on for nearly 30 minutes Saturday about himself, his business success, his defeat of 16 other GOP candidates, and his record-setting vote totals in the GOP primaries had to have wondered what Pence might have been thinking as he waited — patiently, I presume — in the wings.
Then came the introduction. Trump and Pence shook hands, Trump patted his running mate on the arm, then walked off the stage. Political tradition dictates that the candidate at the top of the ticket introduces the running mate and then stands dutifully behind the No. 2 guy and leads the applause when he delivers the appropriate punch lines.
Tradition, however, is the last thing that Trump wants to follow.
And that brings me to this final point.
Mike Pence is as traditional a politician as one can find. He’s a doctrinaire conservative Republican. He believes in free trade (which Trump opposes), he is anti-abortion (which Trump has supported), he is loyal to his party (which Trump has characterized as being part of a “rigged system”).
He also possesses — if Sen. McGovern’s wisdom is correct — the kind of ego that all politicians need to be successful.
There can be zero denying Trump’s h-u-u-u-u-g-e ego.
Those of us who are interested in these things are going wait with some anticipation to see whether these two men can settle their apparent — and in some cases obvious — differences in style … and public policy.