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Most people probably stopped paying attention to the George Santos story a week ago, when attention shifted to the battle over who will get to be Speaker of the House.
But if you can believe it, the Santos saga somehow continues to get funnier:
The chairman of the Nassau County Republican Party on Tuesday said that embattled Rep. George Santos told him that he was a “star player” on a the volleyball team for a college that he did not attend.
During a press conference featuring top Nassau GOP officials calling on Santos to resign from Congress, Joseph Cairo said that the congressman fabricated his involvement with the Baruch College sports team while being vetted during the campaign.
“He told me … that he was a star on the Baruch volleyball team and that they won the league championship,” Cairo said of Santos.
Santos last month admitted that he did not attend either Baruch College or New York University — which he claimed during his successful election against Democratic nominee Robert Zimmerman in the Long Island-anchored 3rd Congressional District.
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So for those who haven’t rigorously tracked every twist in the Santos story, the newly-elected Congressman:
- Lied about having an elite finance job when he actually worked at Dish Network.
- Lied about his mother having a finance career when she was actually just a cook and housecleaner who spoke no English.
- Claimed that his grandparents were Jews who fled the Holocaust, when they were actually born in Brazil.
- Claimed to have started an animal welfare group that was never incorporated and may have held fraudulent fundraisers.
- Lied about four of his employees dying in the Pulse nightclub shooting, when there is no evidence that ever happened.
- Presented himself as a proudly out gay man without mentioning a recent ex-wife.
- May have stolen a boyfriend’s phone to pawn it for cash.
- Said he was a well-off property owner with many delinquent renters when in fact he owns no property and has been evicted three times.
- May face up to five years in prison if he ever returns to Brazil.
- Is a fake volleyball star.
But let’s be honest here: George Santos isn’t the worst liar in the Republican Party. The real dishonesty and manipulation in the GOP isn’t from Santos, but from the party leaders who have betrayed their voters over and over again for decades.
The Nassau County GOP, which Santos represents, has demanded he resign. So far, he has said he won’t.
— Lalee Ibssa (@LaleeIbssa) January 11, 2023
The House Ethics Committee, despite now being under Republican control, is likely to open an investigation of Santos. Republican Rep. James Comer, the new chair of the House Oversight Committee, has called Santos’s behavior “a disgrace.”
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Far from being a disgrace, it is actually quite beautiful, in a way. Santos lied about his academic credentials… but had his fake degree come from CUNY-affiliated safety school Baruch College. Santos’s supposed Goldman Sachs career being a lie renders him more appealing as a candidate, not less. His assertion that he never claimed to be Jewish, only “Jew-ish”, is up there with Trump’s “only Rosie O Donnell” in the pantheon of all time greatest comebacks.
Santos’s flagrant disregard for the truth in all its forms has a rogueish charm to it. It is the behavior of a man who has realized what an utter joke the system is, and is exposing and taking advantage of it accordingly.
— George Santos (@Santos4Congress) January 11, 2023
Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean he should be in the House forever. Voters in the Third District might want him replaced next cycle. Heck, just watching him at last week’s Speaker votes, Santos might decide quite quickly this whole “Congress” thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
George Santos (2:12pmET) pic.twitter.com/s2l9utEJkQ
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) January 3, 2023
Now, let’s pause and think about how Santos compares to the 270 other elected Republicans Santos just joined in Washington.
George Santos lied about basically his entire biography, it’s true. That said, how much do you know about your own congressman’s biography? Did that biography factor even a bit into how you decided to vote in these midterms? Be honest with yourself.
We suspect that for the vast majority of our readers, and all voters, candidate biography was irrelevant in the general election. People voted the way they usually do on House races: based on personal political and ideological beliefs, sentiments towards the Biden Administration and the two major parties, and thoughts about how the country is doing overall.
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Scratch other politicians and you can find phonies aplenty. Elizabeth Warren made up American Indian heritage so she could get a professorship at Harvard she would have never obtained otherwise. Joe Biden claimed he worked as truck driver, and fibbed about his grades, and invented some ridiculous story about getting arrested in South Africa. He even fabricated a completely irrelevant lie about his supposed prowess in the Congressional Baseball Game.
Politicians are incentivized to lie and exaggerate and fib. It’s not good, and politicians who are honest are better than those who are not. But that’s the nature of the beast. So it falls to voters to consider which kinds of deceit matter more than others.
So, what mattered more to you? That George Santos fibbed about his mom, or that Paul Ryan promised a replacement for ObamaCare, and then had no actual plan when given the chance to supply it? What matters more: that Santos invented an animal charity, or that Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio opposed President Trump’s state of emergency on the border?
Kevin McCarthy told Liz Cheney he would pressure President Trump to resign after January 6. Then, he tried to back Cheney for a leadership post even after she voted to impeach Trump. His survival as GOP leader as long as this January is not due to any personal leadership or strength, but only talent as a people-pleasing political weathervane.
What is a greater betrayal of your interests? George Santos having a murky relationship history? Or Lindsey Graham having a murky relationship history and spending the past two decades endorsing every useless war around the world while trying to arrange a mass amnesty for illegal immigrants?
Clownworld America is someone like Lindsay Graham calling George Santos a fraud
— Darren J. Beattie 🌐 (@DarrenJBeattie) December 28, 2022
Or how about Graham’s colleague Tim Scott, who might soon be pushed forward as an insider favorite for the GOP presidential nomination, despite his repeated capitulations to the Democrats on cancel culture, vilification of police, and more?
George Santos may have made up friends who died in the Pulse shooting, but he hasn’t blamed MAGA for causing mass shootings, like another South Carolina presidential wannabe, Nikki Haley, did in 2016.
Heck, even George Santos’s personal indiscretions aren’t even the worst we’re asked to put up with. His charity may have been some kind of scam. But dozens of members of Congress traffic in the stocks of industries they regulate, or hop out of Congress to take one lucrative “revolving door” job or another from the industries they once controlled. All of that happens routinely, and we’re supposed to be enraged by a fake doggie charity?
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Please. Republican voters know that they’ve been duped and betrayed by their political leaders for decades. America has devolved into a third world clown country nominally run by a senile career grifter with an empty head and a full diaper, and actually run by the sleaziest crooks imaginable whose lies and endless cons have resulted in pointless bloody wars, the dispossession of the American middle class, and drag queens twerking on American kindergarteners. Yes, George Santos lied—shamelessly and hilariously. But these lies represent not so much disrespect to the American voters as they do disrespect to the pretenses and sacred cows of the corrupt and broken American system. In short, his lies show our system the contempt it deserves, and in that there is a powerful, defiant honesty that overwhelms and supersedes the original deceptions.
A perceptive Twitter user put it best the other day:
George Santos, like Rachel Dolezal, is logical outcome of American society, the incentives it offers. Suspect part of the outrage is that he shows how fake it all is, these ‘fine honorable gentlemen’ in Congress. His existence threatens to tear away their charade.
— FischerKing (@FischerKing64) January 11, 2023
Santos is certainly the hero America deserves, but he may even be the hero we need. Time will tell. Until then, we raise a glass to Congressman Santos with a hearty “L’Chaim,” with well wishes and gratitude, if only for the entertainment value.