These days, political books are churned out by publishing houses as rapidly as McDonald’s sells hamburgers, and many are just as mentally nutritious as America’s most popular fast-food restaurant. They are more akin to the famed dime store novels of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which were, after all, fiction. But let’s face it: When you’re starving, a Big Mac often does the trick. It may not be good for you, but who cares, right? Likewise, who doesn’t want to get their hands on a tell-all political book?
One author who resisted the urge to write a salacious account of her intersection with Donald Trump and subsequent life in the Trump White House is Kellyanne Conway. Here’s the Deal: A Memoir, published by Simon & Schuster in 2022, stands the test of time and turned out to be my favorite read of 2023.
A Political Book With a Story to Tell
Unlike many other political books, it appears Ms. Conway took the time to pen the manuscript herself instead of leaving it up to ghostwriters. Thus, the book comes across in her distinct voice, a mix of clever quips and honest revelation as she tries to make sense of her place in American political history. It is a unique story worth telling.
From her hardscrabble upbringing by a single mom to her rise as the first female campaign manager to win in a presidential contest, Conway takes the reader through the world of pollsters, strategists, and, finally, as a senior counselor to the president. Never really given the recognition for her feminist credentials or her place in history by the leftist media, the New Jersey native elucidates the fortitude it took to compete in what has historically been a man’s world. “Outwork, outfox, outsmart, and outclass them,” Conway declared. And she did.
Conway’s story is riveting because she was able to function at such a high level once her husband, George – who had been an early Trump supporter – soured on the president publicly. As the left fawned over Mr. Conway’s avalanche of mean tweets and fed his ego, he became more and more traitorous to the woman he married. Still, Kellyanne openly discussed what became a hideous public betrayal:
“Going into 2019, Geroge’s daily spoken-word count at home remained low, even as he descended deeper into the quicksand of Twitter. George was getting addicted to the sugar high of new followers, likes, tweets, retweets, trending, and the predictable breaking news! lookie here! reaction of the media lemmings.”
Ultimately, George appeared to prefer the teeming masses of anti-Trumpers over his wife, which must have been an awful, stinging portion of the book to write. And one is left to wonder about the part he played in the subsequent public feud between Kellyanne and her daughter, Claudia. But Kellyanne casts no stones, treading carefully and lightly around the issue with her then-teenage offspring.
Although she doesn’t say so explicitly, this fractured home life must have been a catalyst for her leaving the White House. Still, her timing was good as she describes how the re-election campaign was being run into the ground. This leaves the reader wondering what might have happened to Trump in 2020 if she had been in charge.
One can feel Kellyanne Conway’s common sense on the page; she walked a minefield both in and out of the White House yet managed to stay on the right path. Most political books are a decent read for the first hundred pages or so. Here’s the Deal delivers to the end.