OPINION: Countdown to the 3rd: Kellyanne Gone-away

Kellyanne Conway’s early retirement, dysfunctional family, Jerry Falwell Jr’s decline; the RNC kicks off with a bang

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COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Trump’s senior counselor has officially left the White House after four years of service, leaving behind a fractured cabinet, a White House in pre-election turmoil and an open counselor spot.

JACOB HERSH, Evergreen opinion editor

Kellyanne Conway has quit. In an administration that cycled through cabinet members like Spinal Tap went through drummers, Trump’s senior counselor managed to keep her spot from 2016 onward.

She lasted through Robert Mueller’s investigation, Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court hearing and countless other events and scandals that would have tried the patience of a lesser woman.

Conway’s street-savvy media appeal and uniquely 21st-century, right-wing ideals were not, it appears, shared by either her husband or her daughter. George, Conway’s husband, who looks simultaneously like Wayne Newton and Wayne Knight, runs the Lincoln Project, a notorious center right-wing think tank dedicated to opposing Trump. Think the Gravel Institute, but without the cool teen appeal or original tweets.

Claudia, Conway’s 15-year-old daughter, is a Zoomer Tik Tok content creator, diametrically opposed to the Trump administration. The generation gap has to be awkward, but doubly so when your mother is essentially seated at the right hand of the guy you believe to be second only to the Antichrist. And I thought Thanksgiving dinners were uncomfortable already.

So Kellyanne, the queen of spin with the platinum blonde of Ann Coulter and the WASPy accent of Emily Gilmore, has vacated the White House. In the words of Vonnegut, “and so it goes.”

Conway wasn’t the only one to vacate a right-wing position of authority this week. Jerry Falwell Jr. stepped down from his position on Tuesday as president of Virginia’s evangelical Liberty University after the curtains were pulled back on his private life, involving — no joke — a Miami pool boy and Falwell’s wife.

Obviously, what two or more legal adults do behind closed doors is nobody’s business, but Liberty’s board of trustees failed to see it that way. So, like Gary Hart, Jimmy Swaggart and literally countless other notable religious and political figures before him, Falwell was brought low by a weird interest and the sun-baked shores of Florida.

Meanwhile, the Republican National Convention continues on, with such notorious guest stars as the Covington Catholic kid and the St. Louis gun couple. Kudos to whoever is in charge of picking these people because at least there’s spectacle, in the most Caesarean, last-days-of-the-Roman-empire sense.

This is one of the things about the RNC that often goes underreported — there’s more of a show. Last week’s Democratic convention was by the numbers — the political equivalent of Steve Buscemi saying “how do you do, fellow kids?” Biden stuttered through a speech, Kamala waved her hand and smiled, and it was all very paint-by-numbers.

The Republicans, on the other hand, understand the importance of a show, so they pulled out all the stops. It may be a strange, twisted show, a sort of “Fear and Loathing” for the 21st century, but it’s a show nonetheless.

The most controversial and obnoxious figures from This Year in Politics made (or will make) an appearance, and it’ll draw a crowd! In many ways, there’s no better allegory for the RNC as a concept than Donald Trump Jr allegedly yacked out of his mind on Colombian white.

It’s only Thursday, and already the news week has been fruitful for columnists, the bathtub centipedes of the political writing world. May you live in interesting times, as the old blessing/curse goes.

If I might recommend an album, a soundtrack for the next three months, it would be The Prodigy’s “The Fat of the Land,” with the remixes included. Turn it on, crank the bass, and watch the would-be leaders of the free world smilingly argue over the next ways to stick it to the American voter.

As of now, it’s no longer a game — it’s an oil tanker headed towards a coral reef, and all of us are along for the ride.