Kellyanne Conway, the campaign manager for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaks to reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York on Aug. 17. (Gerald Herbert/Associated Press)
Opinion writer

FiveThirtyEight in late August reported on Kellyanne Conway:

Enter Kellyanne Conway, who Trump hired as his campaign manager last week. Conway, a longtime GOP pollster, owns her own firm, “the polling company, inc./WomanTrend,” and if you couldn’t guess it from the name, she’s made a career in no small part by providing advice to politicians and marketers about what women want (a question Mel Gibson never definitively answered). Conway even wrote a book, “What Women Really Want,” with Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, and when she joined the campaign last month as an adviser, The Washington Post wrote a story about her, headlined “Inside Donald Trump’s Strategy to Win Back Women.”

No really, she is supposed to tell Republicans how to appeal to women. She is supposed to be some kind of female pioneer in the polling world. Instead she is trying to elect the most misogynistic candidate to run for president in the last, what, half-century. Consider how Conway is helping, uh, to attract women — or something.

She defends parading the Bill Clinton accusers into the debate. She rationalizes Trump’s “locker-room talk.” She deploys Trump surrogates like Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who had this exchange on Monday about Trump’s sexual assault boasts:

“I don’t characterize that as sexual assault,” Sessions said. “I think that’s a stretch. I don’t know what he meant.”

“So if you grab a woman by the genitals, that’s not sexual assault?” the reporter asked Sessions.

“I don’t know,” the senator replied. “It’s not clear that he — how that would occur.”

This is Todd Akin territory. Oddly, Conway once tried defending Akin’s rape comments.

She personally defends Trump’s attack on Alicia Machado:

Conway told me that she understood Trump’s impulse to respond once he’s provoked. “He and I have this in common,” she said. “I really don’t draw first blood. There’s no fun, there’s no point, and there should be no joy in gratuitously attacking someone or picking an argument out of whole cloth.” She continued, “He feels that he should be able to defend himself. Everybody says ‘no grievance too large or too small,’ but that’s just the way he feels: that there’s a way to settle the score.”

It’s all fine because this is “the way he feels.” This is enabling behavior of the worst kind, mouthing justifications for an abusive personality.

Then along comes the Access Hollywood tape. She would not do the Sunday shows herself this weekend to defend Trump’s boasts about sexual assault. Conscience will not intrude, however, for very long; she’s back raring to go after the second debate. “My initial reaction was very close to what Melania Trump said. I was offended and I think the language is offensive and disgusting and I’m very happy that he apologized,” she said on CNN. “I’m glad he holds himself accountable. Because I look at the full measure of people. What they’ve said, what they’ve done Dana, how they deal with adversity that comes to them.” Holds himself accountable by insisting it’s “locker-room talk”? 

She makes a good point, though, about taking the full measure of people. What’s the full measure of Trump, a serial adulterer? Trump bragged about adultery while married to his adult children’s mother (teens at the time). He talked about his daughter in gross, sexualized terms. He calls women every name in the book. In case Conway has forgotten:

He reportedly used the Miss Universe pageant as his personal playpen. He liked to walk in on naked women and, yes, fondle them (“He’d hug you just a little low on your back”).

USA Today reports that “an ongoing USA TODAY investigation of Trump’s 4,000-plus lawsuits shows that he and his companies have been accused for years of mistreating women. Allegations outlined in at least 20 separate lawsuits accuse Trump and managers at his companies of discriminating against women, ignoring sexual harassment complaints and even participating in the harassment themselves.”

After the second debate, Conway — with all that in plain view — is back excusing, enabling and taking postmodernist campaigning to a whole new level. (She once infamously said that “a lie would mean that he knew” what he was saying was false.)

Maybe as a mother of four (she never fails to mention) she might reflect on this ad:

Conway says Trump has always acted like a gentleman with her — so it’s all good. The “Mirrors” ad, however, should remind us all that the women Trump and/or his executives mauled, insulted, fired and harassed are other people’s daughters, sisters, mothers, girlfriends, colleagues, etc. Conway, aside from the moral implications of her conduct, has failed miserably in her announced specialty. She will have to reconcile her conduct with her faith and with her role as a parent of four.

We can grade her professional performance, however. Trump is in a class by himself in alienating women — by the tens of millions. And she has been by his side and on TV spinning, excusing and rationalizing it all. Women will turn out and vote Democratic this year in droves, some for the first time in their lives because the Republican Party has welcomed with open arms someone as depraved as Trump. It’s a fitting capstone to her career: Helped make the GOP the most misogynistic party ever.