In 2012, long before I retired as a pollster and columnist, I penned a column in which I threw in a gratuitous negative comment about fellow pollster Kellyanne Conway over some silly political issues she really had no control over. Our mutual friend Newt Gingrich took me to task over my comment and upon reflection I not only apologized to Kellyanne on the phone, I did so in my next column. All was fine after that because we were pros and understood the crazy and heated world we lived in.
I tell this story to illustrate how easy it is to take out frustrations on others and make mountains out of molehills in the process. This seems to be particularly true with the strong women who have played such a critical role in the Trump White House.
Just think of Sarah Sanders. Ms. Sanders is, in my book, one of the most effective presidential press secretaries in the modern era. Yet she was viciously attacked by the media and their henchmen, including a certain “comedian” at the all but dead White House Correspondent’s Dinner several years ago.
She was attacked because she dared to be a woman who stood her ground and gave back as good as she took from a generally hostile White House press corps. But she hung in there and lasted almost two years before recently announcing her departure. She is a credit not only to her president, but to her father Mike Huckabee who truly is a rarity among politicians… smart and nice.
So now the administration is down to its other “woman of power,” and she too is under vicious attack. Ms. Conway is a well-tested, proven advisor who has been loyal and dedicated to the president.
Just like I did for a brief moment in 2012, the media decided long ago to throw the baby out with the bathwater by taking out their frustrations with a president who has made them look foolish, time after time, by beating up Senior Counselor Conway.
And along comes the Special Counsel’s report (not to be confused with Mr. Mueller’s effort) calling for President Trump to fire Conway for being a “repeat offender” of the Hatch Act, designed to regulate many of those who serve in the executive branch from certain types of political activity.
Give me a break.
In the recent years we have witnessed politically motivated targeting by rogue IRS leadership, a wink-and-nod cozy investigation of Hillary Clinton, politically motivated and malicious investigations by law enforcement including reliance on a politically paid for dossier, all to learn the one “definitive” bad guy in D.C. turns out to be a woman… Kellyanne.
I don’t know what deserted island Special Counsel Henry Kerner lives on, but every White House in recent memory has been “political” in every way, shape, and form possible.
Which begs the question of whether the Hatch Act itself needs to be re-examined. It seems that blatantly political actions with real consequences just fly past everyone’s official radar screen. But comments about a political race in Alabama and a few Democratic candidates by Ms. Conway are cause for a major investigation and draconian recommendations?
Who could be a bigger danger, a presidential counselor who has been a career political pollster/strategist and who has never hidden that fact, or a powerful Attorney General like Eric Holder, who made no secret of the fact that he was his president’s “wingman?”
With a phony impeachment effort underway by many House Democrats and a media that often has nothing to report but negative stories about Donald Trump, everything seems “political” these days. Yes, the press and Congress don’t have a “Hatch Act” to reckon with, in part due to a little thing called “Freedom of Speech.” That is a courtesy obviously not extended to Conway.
The true intent of the Hatch Act was to protect the public from politically motivated harassment by career bureaucrats. It is pretty clear that Conway is a creature of politics and every part of her job has a political aspect to it. She certainly is not a federal employee waiting to hit her full retirement age to collect her benefits.
Is it any wonder why a president known for his loyalty and his ability to call BS on a broken and one-sided system rejected any possible exit for Kellyanne Conway? She has been a steady rock of stability and support in a city where such is hard to find.
This time I’m getting ahead of the game, even if I’m no longer in it. Kellyanne Conway should stay right where she is… for the good of the nation and our president.
Matt Towery is author of "Newsvesting: Use News and Opinion to Grow Your Personal Wealth." He heads the polling and political information firm InsiderAdvantage. Read more reports from Matt Towery — Click Here Now.
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