Becca Balint: George Conway: An unlikely hero for these extraordinary times

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I know many of us haven't slept well since election night of 2016. This is not surprising; we have a president who has, according to the Washington Post's Fact Checker, told over 12,000 public lies since taking office. The team at the Pulitzer Prize winning website PolitiFact has analyzed Trump's public statements and has determined that the president says entirely true statements only about 5 percent of the time. His veracity percentage increases when you throw in his partially true statements, which he utters about a quarter of the time. The rest of the time, he exaggerates, obfuscates, and tells whoppers. These are strange times, indeed. So strange, in fact, that my mind wanders to unlikely heroes when I have insomnia. Last night it was George Conway, the husband of Trump advisor, apologist, and sycophant Kellyanne Conway.

At any other time, during any other presidency, I would not find solace in Republican attorney George T. Conway. A member of the Federalist Society and a former boyfriend of incendiary right wing pundit Laura Ingraham, Conway and I share few political views. But in these deeply disturbing times — when we learn that the president wanted our border patrol agents to shoot migrants in the legs and construct border moats filled with alligators — I'll take my bright spots when and where I can. I smile at the shade that George Conway throws at Trump, and his more direct criticisms give me unmitigated delight.

After Trump's recent demand to meet "his accuser" — the "whistleblower" in the widening Ukraine scandal — Conway took to Twitter and said, "No one should be afraid of you, @realDonaldTrump, because beneath all your bluster, you're lame and dumb. You've already done yourself in. All you're doing now is expediting the process. And you're too sociopathic and stupid to understand how and why." Tell us how you really feel, George.

Conway also re-tweeted Nancy Pelosi's statement about impeachment: "This is a very sad time for our country. Investigating a president is not a joyful thing. Yet @realDonaldTrump's behavior leaves us no choice but to move forward." You read that right; a staunch conservative re-tweeted a statement from the Democratic Speaker of the House. Conway deeply believes that the president must be impeached for his actions.

He recently teamed up with longtime Democrat and former acting Solicitor General of the United States, Neal Katyal, to pen a remarkable op-ed in the Washington Post several weeks ago in which they unabashedly make the case for impeachment. This comes on the heels of a sharp, pointed editorial that Conway wrote after Trump told four U.S. Congresswomen to "go back to" their countries. Conway's editorial could not be misinterpreted; it was entitled "Trump is a racist president."

Conway wrote, "Trump is not some random, embittered person in a parking lot - he's the President of the United States. By virtue of his office, he speaks for the country. What's at stake now is more important than judges or tax cuts or regulations or any policy issue of the day. What's at stake are the nation's ideals, its very soul." Conway understands that this president has horribly tarnished the presidency itself and has set the nation on a very dark, troubling path. It's not just about one man; it's about our democratic institutions that are in peril.

If George Conway — married to one of Trump's biggest supporters — can find the guts to very publicly and unflinchingly criticize the president, I have no patience or sympathy for the Republicans who choose to remain silent. Conway's clarity and directness was a salve for my weary soul at 4 a.m. this morning. I guess it takes little to bolster my spirits these days. But I'll take it.

Becca Balint writes from Brattleboro on history, politics and culture. She currently serves as Senate Majority Leader in the Vermont Legislature. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.

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