Meh. I was surprised that Pence didn’t stand for the Korean team but I understand why he didn’t. It’s natural not to want to honor the Kim regime in any way, although North Korea’s athletes are slaves just as any NorK citizen is, if not more so. You should want to support South Korea, though, not just as the host nation but as a crucial ally that’s destined to be caught in hellacious crossfire if the U.S. and North Korea finally start shooting. The South Korean government supported the idea of a unified walk-in during the opening ceremonies; Pence could have treated that as good enough for him and stood as a gesture of goodwill for the athletes themselves. Pyongyang may have viewed that as a tiny opening for negotiations, which is what the State Department wants.

And hey: A unified Korea is a rare point on which the U.S. and North Korea heartily agree. The only difference has to do with which Korean government each side wants to rule the reunified peninsula.

But never mind that. Be on the lookout here for Sunny Hostin musing about how strange it is that Mike Pence would support a protest during a ceremony at a competition when he and his boss have been so critical of NFL players for doing the same thing. Some of the dimmer liberals on Twitter spent the weekend high-fiving over that supposed gotcha too. But it’s not a gotcha. Trump’s and Pence’s objection has always been about perceived disrespect to “The Star-Spangled Banner” specifically, not to political protests at sporting events generally. Pence was clear about this when he walked out of a Colts/49ers game after some Niners players knelt during the anthem:

Sitting while the Korean team walked in has nothing to do with that. It was mildly impolite towards the host, but the moral argument against honoring the NorKs (made in the clip by Meghan McCain) is defensible.

Oh, and contrary to Hostin, this isn’t the first time the Koreas have walked into the Olympics under a unified flag. It happened in Sydney in 2000 as well. Nor is that a pedantic correction: Part of the reason they’re knocking Pence here is their sense that a unified display by the two teams is something historic and may herald a new age of peace between North and South. But the same thing was said 18 years ago and the “new age of peace” has put us on the brink of Pyongyang fielding an arsenal of nuclear-tipped ICBMs. The unified walk-in is a little nod to the possibility of renewed talks but in light of recent history there’s no reason to treat it as significant. Adjust your criticism of Pence’s underwhelming reaction accordingly.