At times it is hard to fathom the words coming out of Kellyanne Conway’s mouth. From made-up massacres to spying household appliances, she has become somewhat of an expert in making a fool of herself. In fact, she has become so good at it, that she reminded me of an old classic I was fascinated with back in high school English.
I’m sure you all are familiar with George Orwell’s novel ‘Animal Farm’, an allegory for the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. Well one ‘Animal Farm’ character I’ve recently been reminded of is Squealer, a clever pig who, as the animals say, “could turn black into white.” Throughout the novel, Squealer serves as mouthpiece and Minister of Propaganda to Napoleon, the dictator who rules the farm in the novel. Every time an act of Napoleon’s is questioned by the other animals — regardless of how selfish or severe it may seem, Squealer is first on the scene, convincing the animals that Napoleon is only acting in their best interests. Sound familiar?
In one specific case, Squealer is questioned about Napoleon stealing milk and apples, to which he responds that Napoleon and his fellow pigs must take the milk and apples because they "contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig." One could argue that Squealer says what is necessary to make the atrocities committed by his leader seem understandable and even rational, that he merely bends the truth to fit his leader’s narrative, that Squealer, is merely a master at providing… alternate facts.
Imagine that, someone whose sole job is to act almost as a smokescreen, saying whatever is necessary, regardless of how ridiculous it sounds, to distract from the unpleasant truths that might reflect poorly on those above. Ring a bell?
Well since I have your attention, let me ask you, while you were busy sharing your best Kellyanne-on-the-oval-couch memes, did you read that during that week Trump announced a review of Obama-era waterway regulations, reshuffled his national security team, and signed an executive order easing U.S. fiscal regulations in the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010?Just curious. The administration is setting up what is likely to be a protracted battle over how to unwind rules put in place after the last financial crisis.
“With her unabashed need to protect her Commander-in-Chief, Conway provides a perfect distraction and has no problem going to absurd lengths to do so.”
What about when you creating the best “Never Remember Bowling Green Massacre” signs, referring to a comment Conway made during the flawed rollout of the Muslim ban? At that time, did you happen to read up on that other ban? Specifically, Trump’s executive order on administration ethics that imposes a lifetime ban on administration officials lobbying foreign governments, and a five-year ban on other types of lobbying? If you did happen to catch this executive order, you would understand that the Trump administration is either ignoring or exempting top staffers from its own watered-down ethics rules, as they recently hired three employees who, in fact, are working on the same issues they were registered lobbyists on while in the private sector.
Or finally, what about when you were drafting up the best tin foil “Make America Great Again” hats to poke fun at Kellyanne’s latest Microwave comment, did you catch wind of bills like HR 610, which would use our tax dollars to fund private schools and religious schools, or HR 899, which would terminate the Department of Education? Or were they conveniently buried under a mountain of “Kellyanne thinks microwaves have cameras” headlines?
Do you see the connection? There is a trend here. With her unabashed need to protect her Commander-in-Chief, Conway provides a perfect distraction and has no problem going to absurd lengths to do so. In the same way that, let’s say, plagiarizing a current first lady’s convention speech draws attention away from the fucking non-existent policy details presented at the RNC, Conway operates as a master of deflection. And each time we lose our shit over her latest act of fallaciousness, we help bury details like those above, that could be used to actually hold the Orange One accountable and inform the people about what is really happening outside the meme-osphere. Just as Squealer goes to extreme lengths to deflect from any scrutiny that might otherwise be directed towards his master, Kellyanne, while firmly eyeing the Chief of Staff position, is more than happy to orchestrate fake massacres, and alternate facts that put her in the firing line as long as it allows her administration to take a breather.
I don’t expect everyone to ignore Kellyanne’s disastrous and confused attempts at interpreting situations that arise in DC. Frankly, it’s like reality TV at times, but just be aware that there may be an alternate reason for her hilarity. So dig a little deeper, look between the lines and remember that Orwell based his characters on historical figures who each played a significant role in aiding the rise of a tyrant. And he wasn’t just commenting on what was happening at the time - he was also issuing a warning about what might happen in the future.