INDIANAPOLIS – When one gets up in the morning, peers into the mirror and sees a future president of the United States, it’s safe to say that with the exception of a tiny fraction of a percent of the population, this person is living in an alternative reality.

The key to escaping this alternative universe is to act and say things that make sense to at least 50% plus one of the voters.

Mike Pence is that person in his mirror. But what he said to Fox News host Sean Hannity earlier this week will be seen as disqualifying for residency at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., by many Americans, including those who had voted for the former Indiana governor and vice president in the past.

“I know the media wants to distract from the Biden administration’s failed agenda by focusing on one day in January,” Pence told Hannity of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection that resulted in five deaths, at least three police suicides, some 150 police injuries, more than 500 criminal charges, and brought about the second impeachment of his boss, former President Donald J. Trump, and the first such episode for a commander-in-chief already out of office.

“They want to use that one day to try and demean the character and intentions of 74 million Americans who believed we could be strong again and prosperous again and supported our administration in 2016 and 2020,” Pence continued. “I truly believe we should remain completely focused on the future.”

So let’s deconstruct Pence’s logic, or lack thereof. He called Jan. 6 “one day in January.” MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, a former Republican colleague of Pence’s, derided that nutty claim, saying that it would be like referring to Sept. 11, 2001, as just another day in September, or Dec. 7, 1941, as, well, you get it.

“I believe people should be optimistic about the future as long as people like Mike Pence are kept out of office forever for what he calls ‘one day in January,’” Scarborough said, going on to call Pence’s statement “one of the low points in American political history, certainly since the Civil War.”

“This was one day when Trump supporters took American flags and bashed cops brains out,” the Morning Joe host continued. “This was one day in January where Trump/Pence supporters smeared excrement on the walls of the United States Congress; one day in January where Donald Trump, Mike Pence’s partner, was actually on the phone calling people to come up to the Capitol to stop the (Electoral College) count.”

We all know what really happened. The mob set up a gallows after Trump told them to march to the Capitol and for hours chanted “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!” while his wife, daughter and congressman brother were seen escaping the mob down a back stairway.

Pence had initially emerged as one of the few Trump administration “heroes” when he returned to the Capitol to complete the Electoral College certification.

But now comes the Bob Woodward/Robert Costa book “Peril” which portrays Pence in a different vein, reaching out to former vice president Dan Quayle. “Over and over, Pence asked if there was anything he could do,” Costa and Woodward write, suggesting that Pence was looking for a way to acquiesce to Donald Trump’s demands that he reject the electoral votes legally cast in (Joe) Biden’s favor.

According to the book, Quayle quickly told Pence, “Mike, you have no flexibility on this. None. Zero. Forget it. Put it away.”

“You don’t know the position I’m in,” Pence told Quayle, to which he replied, “I do know the position you’re in. I also know what the law is. You listen to the parliamentarian. That’s all you do. You have no power.”

The framing of Jan. 6 in the digest of America’s darkest days along with Pearl Harbor, Sept. 11, 2001, and I would add Aug. 24, 1814 (the day invading British troops burned the White House), is altogether proper.

That Pence, congressional minority leaders Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, and U.S. Rep. Jim Banks want to not only move on from the Jan. 6 disaster, but prevent the Jan. 6 House select committee from finding out what and how it happened, is a discouraging new twist coming in a nation that appears divided, with a recent UVA poll (See page 16-17) revealing that 52% of Trump supporters favor succession from the Union.

Pence is contorting his logic into the notion that bygones with Trump should remain bygones. Politico has reported that Pence campaign aides are signaling to Trump supporters that if the former president attempts a comeback, it should be with a reunified Trump/Pence ticket. Talk about an alternate reality!

When Hannity asked Pence about his relationship with his former boss, Pence said, “Look, you can’t spend almost five years in a political foxhole with somebody without developing a strong relationship. And January 6 was a tragic day in the history of our Capitol Building, but thanks for the efforts of Capitol Hill police, federal officials, the Capitol was secured, we finished our work and the president and I sat down a few days later and talked through all of it. I can tell you that we parted amicably at the end of the administration and we’ve talked a number of times since we both left office.”

Lost in Pence’s fog are Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley who saw Trump as seeking his “Reichstag moment” and former press secretary Stephanie Grisham who said a second Trump term would be based on “revenge.” 

In Grisham’s new book “I’ll Take Your Questions Now,” she described the Trump White House: “I can give you endless metaphors to describe the Trump White House from a press person’s perspective – living in a house that was always on fire or in an insane asylum where you couldn’t tell the difference between the patients and the attendants, or on a rollercoaster that never stopped. It was a hot mess 24/7. ”

Pence is facing a virtually impossible comeback. Trump and his true believers see him as a turncoat. Many other Republicans see the ambitious Pence as lacking morals and ethics.

Commentator Mike Barnicle added of Pence, “The odd thing about this story is ... he is irrelevant.”

“What he is talking about, strangely, has become the most potent threat to the way we govern ourselves,” Barnicle adds. “Those assembled there in the Capitol of the United States of America were part of an attempted coup. That is with us more so today than it was on Jan. 7. This lie in state after state threatens the very fundamentals of how we govern ourselves, how we elect our leaders and how we propose to go forward as a nation.” 

Howey is publisher of Howey Politics Indiana. Find him on Twitter @hwypol.