Mike Pence’s big political opportunity

Moving forward, Republicans have big goals: repealing and replacing Obamacare, enacting big tax cuts, starting the construction of a border wall, and tax reform — all of which they could plausibly accomplish in the next two years. Assuming Trump gives Pence the kind of latitude and responsibility it is thought that he will, Pence could pick and choose which issues he wants to attach his brand to. Perhaps he wants to go big on the tax cuts and Obamacare while standing back on something free-market conservatives are less enamored of — like a $1 trillion infrastructure program that could balloon the national debt — or something that could hurt future general-election aspirations, like Trump’s more controversial immigration policies.

Pence, who is 57 years old, could spend the next four or eight years building pretty much whatever résumé he wants to, and the presence of a political novice as commander in chief and the GOP congressional majorities make it more likely he can point to successes he played a role in come 2020 or 2024.

He will, of course, be at least partially tagged with whatever controversies the Trump administration endures. And if there is a scandal, that doesn’t bode well for Pence’s political future. But for a man whose political obituary was written not long ago, he’s sure got a big opportunity.