As of my posting this morning, Kevin McCarthy has lost 12 votes for Speaker of the House of Representatives. I’d like the job. Membership in the House isn’t required, and my resumé makes my case.
Smarts? I hold degrees from Harvard, Stanford and Oxford. Patriotism? I rose from Army recruit to full colonel in only three years. My medals occupy their own closet.
The “real world?” I sat on the boards of Hewlett-Packard and Intel then became a pioneering venture capitalist in Silicon Valley. At forty, I retired with Fortune 100 assets. For grins, I advised Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. My list of National Book Award, Pulitzer and Booker Prize short-list nominations for fiction is as long as LeBron James’s arm.
Hold on, you say. My resumé seems too good to be true. House Republicans—and Democrats—would never approve of someone who fabricates his personal history.
Surely, you jest. Why would placing outrageous falsehoods on a resumé—or denying the results of the 2020 presidential election—disqualify someone from the Speaker position?
Last Tuesday, George Santos (Rep.–N.Y.), who won a first term to represent parts of Nassau and Queens counties, attended the House’s first Speaker election session. Kevin McCarthy offered no objection. Why would he? Santos gives the Republican party a valuable seat supporting its slim majority. And Santos said he would vote for McCarthy.
As it happens, Santos lied through his teeth regarding his “accomplishments.” He said he attended Horace Mann prep school in the Bronx and graduated from New York’s Baruch College. Nope and nope. Worked for Goldman Sachs. Nope. Had no criminal record. Nope—Brazil intends to revive a 2008 fraud case against him. Claimed to be Jewish with maternal grandparents who escaped the Holocaust. Nope and nope. Apologized that, given he was raised a Catholic, he’d said Jew-ish. Hardly makes him a mensch.
And the list goes on.
The 188th Congress has brought us a Republican majority and a nightmare start. Looks like the next two years will bring the same-old same old—only worse.
Once again, many House members will trample on their professed value of integrity. Santos stands out but has lots of company. McCarthy, willing to do anything to become Speaker so that he can attain great power, agreed to yield much of that power to the far-right, who want to determine much of his agenda, even if he disagrees with their policies.
This reflects the Alice in Wonderland Syndrome: “I must be elected to advance key issues critical to my constituency and the nation. I also must be re-elected. This means I cannot take an informed, objective, selfless position on legislation because that will rile up my party’s fringe. I must speak and vote counter to what I know is right to win renomination and the next election so I can advance important causes, which I’ll have to vote against, otherwise I’ll lose my seat.”
That—and my resumé—are B.S.
Sadly, my take on Congress offers far more than just a kernel of truth. Of course, House Republicans will elect a speaker. McCarthy picked up more votes this morning. They might even get George Santos to resign. Then they’ll commend themselves for displaying the integrity they habitually scorn.
Which they’ll include on their resumés.
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