Even in 2017, Lies Have Consequences

Kellyanne Conway is a consummate liar.  If lying were an Olympic event, she would undoubtedly be a medal holder and return home to fanfare and glory.  Her bemused, smiling countenance would be captured on a carton of Wheaties.  Her ability to spin and lie catapulted her all the way to the position of Donald Trump’s campaign manager where she honed her extraordinary skills on a daily basis defending the indefensible. For example, when Trump described climate change as a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese to make U. S. manufacturing non-competitive, she spun his words to argue he meant that climate change was a “natural occurrence.”

And as stated in the New York Daily News:  “Conway famously coined the phrase “alternative facts” last month when faced with easily disprovable falsehoods about President Trump’s inauguration crowd size.”   To his credit, journalist Chuck Todd reminded her that “alternative facts” are “falsehoods” and “not facts” at all. Gaslighting would be a better term to explain Conway’s approach than mere lying.  Kellyanne is trying to convince us we are crazy for believing the truth and we should define reality however she explains it and if she has a alternative, conflicting explanation tomorrow we should accept that as truth as well. 

Her Olympic medal-winning lie was conjuring in her mind the “Bowling Green massacre,” a so-called terrorist attack that supposedly went unreported in the press and was  used to defend Donald Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban.  I mean, who makes up fictional terrorist attacks and thinks such an attack would go unreported? Would members of the press call each other and say: “There was carnage  in the wake of a terrorist attack in Bowling Green but, hey, someone else is undoubtedly already on the story, so let’s go play golf.”  After so many rapid fire, back-to-back lies, Kellyanne seems to have lost any ability to reason how unlikely and illogical her lies are.

Most egregious was Conways shilling of Ivanka’s Trump’s clothing brand after her line was dropped by several retailers because of poor sales.   "Go buy Ivanka's stuff, is what I was [saying] — I hate shopping and I'm going to go get some myself today," Conway said in an interview on Fox & Friends. "This is just [a] wonderful line," she added. "I'm going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online." Her blatant boosterism violated ethics rules, according to  Kathleen Clark, professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis. Even the chairman of the House House Oversight Committee, Republican Jason Chaffetz was taken aback. "That is absolutely wrong, wrong, wrong. It is over the top," Chaffetz told reporters.

Republicans have long been at war with discernible reality. Bush officials argued: "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." What could be more Orwellian? Trump, in fact, has a contempt for the press unrivaled by any leader of a functioning democracy or someone not named Vladimir Putin.  He very recently wrote on Twitter: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC,@CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”

Conway would undoubtedly bolster his claims with spin and lies if given the chance.  However, just when we think cynicism has won the day we find that telling falsehoods still has consequences.    Like an Olympian banned for doping, Conway has been banned by CNN’s State of the Union and MSNBC’s Morning Joe – for “lacking credibility.” Apparently, the conservative Joe Scarborough, co-host of Morning Joe, has even had enough. “She’s not briefed,” Scarborough said, after dialing back  a former assertion that she lies.  “She’s just saying things just to get in front of the TV set and prove her relevance, because behind the scenes, she’s not in these meetings.”

Well, virtue at times still wins out over vice and corruption still has consequences even in this age of constant spin and cynicism about politics, even in this age of a former reality star being president of the United States. Conway will have to return her Olympic medals she earned for her lies. She has been caught red-handed and has the scarlet letter “L”  emblazoned on her sweater! The cameras have disappeared and she is left with her worst nightmare, sitting at home alone looking in the mirror and contemplating what is left of her integrity in the reflection, if she is capable of such self-awareness. 

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