You are hereBlogs / tonyrussell's blog / “So What’s Your Question, Larry?”

“So What’s Your Question, Larry?”

By tonyrussell - Posted on 15 June 2015





Reporter #1: Governor, Nebraska is the latest state to repeal capital punishment, now that the legislature has overridden your veto.  You’ve said you’re still going to go ahead and execute the ten people already on death row here.  None of the other eighteen states that have done away with capital punishment have executed anyone after their new law passed.  Why are you so hellbent on executing people? 


Governor: Look at it this way, Chet: if the state’s chief executive can’t execute, what’s the point?  


Reporter #2: Since 1973, there have been 143 prisoners on death row in the U.S. who were found to be innocent of the crime for which they were convicted.  Doesn’t that make you just a little uneasy?


Governor: Not at all, Danny.  I don’t second guess the justice system--just the legislature.  


Reporter #2: But obviously people who do second guess the justice system have found a lot of mistakes and wrongful convictions.


Governor: So be it.  But nobody likes a Monday-morning quarterback.


Reporter #3:  Almost all the prisoners on death row, here and around the country, are poor, uneducated, black, Hispanic, or some combination of those things, Governor.  Are you comfortable with the way income, education, and race seem to affect who gets the death penalty?


Governor: Not as long as I’m rich, educated, white, and a home-grown English speaker, Marcia.  (Has a second thought)  Don’t quote me on that.


Reporter #4: Governor, how do you explain all these legislators who voted to do away with the death penalty?  Most of them are well-off, educated, white, English-speaking conservatives, just like yourself.  But they opposed you on this capital punishment thing. They argued that the death penalty is horribly expensive, is ineffective as a deterrent, puts the lives of innocent people at risk, and gives government too much unnecessary power.


Governor: What you have to understand, Glen, is that we conservatives say we don’t like government spending, but the fact is we’ll pour money into things that matter.  (Delivers standard applause line)  And what matters the most is security: protecting the people of this great state and country from murderers at home and abroad.    


Reporter #3: But if you execute these ten people--or even one of them, as far as that goes--doesn’t that make you one of those murderers we need to protect ourselves against?


Governor: (Exasperated) Where do you people come up with ideas like that?  Executions aren’t murders, Marcia.  The first is legal and good, the other is illegal and evil.


Reporter #3: But as I understand it, Governor, the legislature just decided executions are not legal and not good.


Governor: That may be their opinion going forward, but it’s not retroactive.  


Reporter #2: Still, doesn’t it make sense that you’d honor the spirit of their decision?


Governor: They have their spirit; I have mine.  And as long as I’m the governor, mine’s the one that counts.  (Glances at his watch)  Okay, we’ve got time for one more question.  (Points to a reporter who has his hand up)  Larry?


Reporter #5: Speaking of spirit, Governor, you’re a Roman Catholic.  (Consults his notes)  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has opposed the death penalty for the last 38 years, saying that we can’t defend life by taking life.  The Catholic bishops here in Nebraska have issued a joint statement calling for the end of capital punishment.   And Pope Francis called on all men and women of good will to help abolish the death penalty in all of its forms.


Governor: So what’s your question, Larry?


© Tony Russell, 2015

“Kellyanne, good gracious!  What’s wrong with you, honey, you look terrible!”


“Please, I don’t need to hear that.  I already know.  I’ve been having trouble sleeping, and I get up in the morning exhausted.  I’ve been pushing myself to keep going, but I’ve finally run out of steam.  I had to take a break.  Everybody at work is going non-stop, and it makes me look like a slacker to take time off, but I was afraid I was going to crack.”


“What’s the matter, sweetie?  What is it?  Are you ... you and George aren’t having problems, are you?”


“No, no, nothing like that.  George and I are fine.  He’s been great.  It’s... it’s my job.”


“Oh, we’ve been so proud of you, Kellyanne.  You were always such a hard worker.  Picking blueberries all those summers.  We knew you’d make something of yourself.  And just think.  You were the president’s campaign manager and now you’re Counselor to the President!”


Awkwardly:  “That’s the problem, really.  I’m not proud of myself anymore.”


“Why in the world not?  You’ve worked hard for everything you’ve got.  You’re an American success story, honey.  You earned a law degree, you started your own polling business, you’ve worked for a Who’s Who of Republican politicians, and now you’re working in the Oval Office!”


Eyes turning downward, her voice quivering:  “Right.  And I felt good about those things and about myself.  But now, every day, I have to go on TV and lie in front of millions of people.  All politicians lie some time or another and it’s par for the course, but ... I don’t know how to say this.”  Pauses.  “I cringe.  I toss and turn for hours every night wondering what stupid lie I’m going to have to go out and defend the next morning.  It never stops.”


“What are you saying, Kellyanne?”


“Listen, I shouldn’t be telling you these things, but you’ve always been there for me and I need someone to talk to.  Please don’t repeat any of this to anybody.”


“You know you can depend on me, Kellyanne.  What is it, child?”  


Takes a deep breath and with some effort begins to unburden herself.  “He just makes things up, he contradicts himself, he exaggerates so much that he’s like a three-year-old.  It was sort of fun for a while.  It was lively and different from all those canned speeches and scripted talking points, you know?   But he can’t help himself; it’s like a disease.  He lies nonstop.”


“Well that’s his problem, isn’t it?”


“That’s not how it works.  I’m his spokesperson.  What am I supposed to do when he claims he had the biggest inauguration crowd ever and there are all these photos that show huge empty spaces on the Mall?  When he claims thousands of people were bused from Massachusetts to vote in New Hampshire illegally, but there’s zero evidence to support that claim?  When he says that he’ll release his tax returns when the audit is completed, and then after the election says he won’t release them?  When he says that Mexico will pay for the wall and then it turns out we’re going to pay for the wall?  It just goes on and on. He lies about important stuff and he lies about trivia!  And then I have to go on TV and double down on the lies.”


Sympathetically.  “Have you been going to confession, Kellyanne?  Don’t you think it would help to unburden yourself and do an act of contrition?”


“I’ve thought of it, but I’ve been avoiding it.  What am I going to say?  That I know I’m sinning, but I’m going to keep on doing it because basically that’s what my job consists of?  That I go out and lie, day after day, in order to defend a president who lies, day after day?”


“Come on, Kellyanne, this isn’t like you.  Buck up.  You can figure your way out of this.  You were Phi Beta Kappa in college!”


“Don’t remind me.  Smart people can do some awfully dumb things.  When I came up with that phrase ‘alternative facts,‘ I thought it was clever.  Now it just sounds idiotic.  When people hear my name, that’s what they think of--that cheesy way to recast a lie.  Everybody is using ‘alternative fact’ now every time somebody tries to pass off something bogus as genuine. I’m going to have to wear that phrase like sackcloth for the rest of my life.  Then there was that horrible ‘Bowling Green massacre’ fiasco.  And that Fatal Attraction skit on Saturday Night Live to top things off.” 


“I saw a clip of that, Kellyanne.  I thought it was mean.  You’re nothing like that woman.”


“It bites.  But the bottom-line is, it’s true.”


“What do you mean it’s true?  You’d never go after somebody with a knife.  Don’t be silly.”


“Well, you’re right that I wouldn’t attack anybody with a knife.  But I’ve been acting just as crazy as Glenn Close in the film.  I’m attached to this man who uses me but would drop me like a red-hot horseshoe if it suited him.  I’m sick enough to go out and humiliate myself time and time again, for his sake, when I don’t mean anything to him.  Have you been watching when I go on TV news shows now?  I’m a laughing stock!  It’s his lies I’m defending, but I’m the one who gets mocked.”


“Is it really that bad?”

She nods.  “It’s worse.  I start to offer some explanation for the latest whopper from the White House and TV hosts just cut me off.  Or giggle uncontrollably.  Do you know how embarrassing that is--to have some veteran TV person unable to stop giggling because what you’ve said is so ridiculous?  I’ve even been banned from Morning Joe—Morning Joe, for crying out loud—because of my ‘propensity to bring forth falsehoods on multiple occasions’.” 


“Oh sweetie, that must really hurt.”


“Of course it does.  But in other ways I’m starting to go numb.  When somebody acts as if what I’ve just said is nonsense, I don’t even have a comeback.  I catch myself staring at them for a minute like ‘Don’t make me do this again, will you not?  Please?’  I don’t have the energy to answer back, because it’s all bullhockey, and I’m too tired to lift another shovelful and dump it out.”


“Kellyanne, it sounds as if when you reached the top you hit rock bottom.”


“What do you mean?”


“You know what I mean, Kellyanne.  It’s like that monkey trap, where the monkey sticks her hand through a hole to grab a banana and then traps herself because she won’t let go.  Maybe you need to start asking yourself what your success is worth.”

Speaking Events



August 2-6: Peace and Democracy Conference at Democracy Convention in Minneapolis, Minn.


September 22-24: No War 2017 at American University in Washington, D.C.


October 28: Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference

Find more events here.


Support This Site


Get free books and gear when you become a supporter.



Speaking Truth to Empire


Families United


Ray McGovern


Julie Varughese


Financial supporters of this site can choose to be listed here.



Ca-Dress Long Prom Dresses Canada
Ca Dress Long Prom Dresses on

Buy Books

Get Gear

The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.