So Kelly Ann Conway has hired a Chief of Staff… Why is that of any interest? In Native American History there is a “Trail of Tears ,” the forced march removal, by then Gen. and later President Andrew Jackson, from their territory of the Cherokee nation. In this administration there is a trail of broken promises. This is but one, the promise to cut down the cherry tree, blossoms and all, of the Federal government. Remember now, when it comes to the President, Chief Executive doesn’t just mean he runs the White House. It means he is the CEO of the entire Executive Branch. That’s about 4.2 million folks, but only a mere 2 million plus if we discount the armed services. I guess he can’t keep track of what each and every one of them is doing. Enter Kelly Ann Conway.
There are two disturbing things about Ms. Conway as an White House staffer. The first is that until she put Ivanka’s shoe in her mouth, she seemed unbridled. Of late the tightness of her bridle has loosened and she is off to races of who can be a more outlandish spokesperson than whom in the “Game of Interpreting Trump,” a game that seems popular in the White House of late. Take for instance the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare blasting the CBO report on health care. During the campaign the CBO was golden. Now it’s rusted iron. Nor can we forget the dance steps displayed by Mr. Spicer, steps that would have had Arthur Murray rolling over in his grave. It sounded like a Jackie Mason routine, the one Spicer did on walking back, or dancing away from, the Obama wire tapping issue.
Well he didn’t exactly mean tapping and he didn’t mean President Obama himself (mental picture: President Obama dressed in black, wearing a sky mask, behind Trump Towers scanning the phone boxes and attempting to clip the appropriate clamps to the appropriate phone wires to put the wire tap in place). The fact that President Trump said exactly that seems now passee .
But back to Ms. Conway. She seems to have decided on her own how important she was and and therefore in spite of the meat cleaver promised by her boss to be taken to the staff of the White House and employees of the government, she has decided to hire a chief of staff. Now I understand that in the Trump White House there is a different dictionary in use, but hear me out on this. A chief is someone who is in charge some one or several other individuals. Since the chief of staff is not, in a line and staff diagram, over the person who hired him/her, Ms. Conway in this case, the implication is that there will be other staffers for Ms. Conway to be overseen by her chief of staff. Now one might actually feel more secure with this turn of events thinking that there are more people working to keep her feet on the floor, instead of the couch, and her lips closed until her mind has engaged. If past is prologue, this is an unlikely scenario.
Yet there is more. We are about to see a budget that will pay for a whole lot of things with massive cuts in Federal employees. This is proposed even though NPR reports that the government is staffed with the same number of people it was staffed with in the late 1960’s. There must be an alternate fact in there somewhere, I guess, that exempts Ms. Conway’s hirings from being counted as subtractions instead of additions.
As long as we’re walking back, let’s walk back to that frightening day that President Reagan was shot. The question was asked, “Who’s in charge here (the White House)?” It was a question of course that was not needed because there is an amendment to the Constitution of the United States that tells us who exactly is in charge when the President isn’t. Most frightening was the fact that we found out that, at least in his own mind, Gen. Alexander Haig was in charge, and so stated that. Of course that would have meant we had had a coup d’etat. Someone quickly brought Haig up to speed on the constitutional issues at hand and he quickly assured us he didn’t mean “in charge in charge” he was only in charge of what he was supposed to be in charge of and that the vice president was really “in charge in charge.” Republicans must be fond of Jackie Mason-like riffs.
I bring this up, not Jackie Mason riffs, but the question of who’s in charge, because it came up again the other day. As you read this the Secretary of State is winging his way towards Asia. Someone asked him who would be in charge of his 30,000 employees while he was away (and since the President had announced that he wouldn’t be logging the usual overseas miles a US president logs, we can assume that the Secretary of State will be in the air a lot, along with the vice president). Well everybody knows who is in charge when the Secretary is gone, it is one of the two the Deputy Secretaries of State. Oooops. We don’t have those yet. Well then, it would be one of four Under Secretaries of State right? Wrong. No appointees there either. Well maybe one of the 25 some odd Assistant Secretaries of State or directors or ambassadors at State who carry the equivalent of that title? Wrong again. Nobody home there either.
So I guess if someone calls the State Department over the next week or two and asks for the person in charge the operator will say, “Hold on please, while I transfer you.” The phone will ring somewhere in that cavernous building. A person will pick up and say, “Mini-Maid Cleaning Service. May I help you?”
Or, Ms. Conway’s office, may I help you?”