Hatfield vs. McCoy. New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox. Kanye West vs. Taylor Swift.
Ramaswamy vs. Pence?
Whether it’s sports or celebrities, feuds captivate the American people. While some are born of misunderstandings and arrogance, others are far pettier and more entertaining to watch. The latest feud unfolding on the American political stage promises to be full of schoolgirl antics and pouting between two bitter rivals, one a rising star in the GOP and the other a washed-up, bitterly irrelevant figure of Republicans past.
In New Hampshire over the Labor Day weekend, Ramaswamy and Pence dodged each other as skillfully as NASCAR drivers on a full track. There were no forced pleasantries and not so much as a handshake between the two as they crisscrossed the state, stumping for the GOP presidential nomination.
Pence earned his snubs on the first Republican debate stage. To quote a schoolboy on the playground, “he started it.” Pence seemed to single out Ramaswamy with a laser focus, even allowing his dislike of the young entrepreneur to overshadow his lukewarm, uninspired jabs at former president and Republican rival Donald Trump. At one point, Pence condescendingly stated to Ramaswamy, “Allow me to clarify once more, if I may. I’ll take it slow this time.”
Prior to the debate, Pence had already singled out the young nominee as a bitter rival. Earlier in August, he criticized Ramaswamy’s remarks about the events of 9/11 during an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader. Pence expressed deep offense at Ramaswamy’s suggestion that the government wasn’t fully transparent about the day’s events.
“I understand he was probably in grade school on 9/11 and I was on Capitol Hill,” he remarked before calling Ramaswamy’s statements dangerous conspiracy theories. It’s worth noting that Ramaswamy was, in fact, a high school student of 16 on 9/11.
Earlier last week, Pence continued his unprovoked attack on Ramaswamy, calling his “vague” foreign policies an Obama-era appeasement strategy.
Pence views Vivek as disingenuous and lacking authenticity, which he finds troubling given his own role as an American leader. This perception has motivated Pence to publicly criticize Vivek, according to Mike Dennehy, a Republican strategist in New Hampshire who is not affiliated with either campaign.
On the other hand, Vivek is responding by launching counterattacks aimed at undermining Pence’s credibility. This clash highlights the tensions between the two figures in the political arena.
The ongoing feud between Pence and Ramaswamy sheds light on a notable aspect of the 2024 primary race. Instead of directly challenging the frontrunner, many candidates are engaging in heated exchanges to avoid alienating Trump’s core supporters.
The biotech entrepreneur stands out as one of the most ardent supporters of the former president within the GOP presidential contenders. He has gone to great lengths, even vowing to pardon Trump if the former president were to face conviction on any of the numerous criminal charges against him. Many of Ramaswamy’s supporters and New Hampshire voters who are receptive to his candidacy are drawn to him partly because of his similarities to Trump. In fact, some even entertain the possibility of him becoming Trump’s running mate if he secures the nomination for a third time.
Meanwhile, Pence is still confronted by questions regarding his ability to challenge the 2020 election and is finding it difficult to connect with a pro-Trump conservative base.
In New Hampshire, Ramaswamy maintains an average of 6 percentage points in polls while Pence registers just below 2 percent, as reported by Real Clear Politics.
Meanwhile, Trump enjoys substantial support, averaging more than 44 percent in New Hampshire primary polls.
The Ramaswamy-Pence feud was highlighted on several occasions as the two vied for the most childish way to avoid each other in New Hampshire. Ramaswamy refused to say if he would be open to working with Pence, then remained on his campaign bus when Pence was greeting the crowd. When Pence took to the Hopkinton State Fair stage to address attendees, Ramaswamy turned away from the stage.
When Pence was finished speaking, he found Ramaswamy blocking his exit from the stage and ducked through a gap in a fence to avoid him, heading directly for his car.
It should be noted that Ramaswamy took a higher road than Pence. When questioned about Pence’s inelegant exit from the fairgrounds, the entrepreneur shrugged and said, “Different people have different approaches to how we deal with events like this and voters.” He added, “He’s a good guy and I wish him well in his life as a family man and continue to do whatever he does — what’s in store next for him.”
In a political arena full of sour-faced Trump thumpers, these two are more like middle-school students than serious contenders for the highest office in the nation. But it’s almost refreshing to see candidates more concerned with dissing each other than fully committing to the Trump-bashing platform of the others.
Sadly, detention has been scheduled for both during recess.