By Roxanne Tellier
Although I’ve been collecting information and working on this blog for over a week, I still can’t tell you with any certainty that I truly have a handle on who and what kind of person George Santos really is, other than a future Dancing with the Stars contestant, who is currently staying just one step ahead of the Justice Department, who are, it is said, not happy with his fiddling of his FEC paperwork.
Literally every day a new scandal drops, and I have more salacious goodies to factor into all of the craziness that I’ve learned to date.
Is George Santos a victim? A sad, chubby child with glasses who desperately wanted people to like him? He still kinda looks like a kid whose mom drops him off at Congress with a packed lunch.
Is he a grifter, with such sticky fingers that he can’t stop himself from helping himself to other people’s money and property?
Is he a pathological liar, compulsively and constantly making up stories, and then having to make up more stories to cover up the previous stories, in a web of extensive and elaborate lies, even when all of the lying will eventually be exposed and cause him harm? Santos must believe his own lies, as he lacks the telltale signs and body language, like blinking and fidgeting, that usually accompany mendacities told to cover up wrongdoing.
Is he a cinephile who can no longer differentiate the world of cinema from reality, thus opting to model himself after Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in the film “Catch Me If You Can,” and merging that with Tom Cruise’s slimy pick-up artist and master manipulator in “Magnolia”?
Is he a master of manipulation, who has become skilled at ‘mirroring’ techniques? In interviews prior to winning his election, Santos is frequently seen mirroring the interviewer, imitating the verbal or nonverbal behavioral characteristics of the other. This technique is often used as a method of manipulation by salespeople, cult leaders, or anyone trying to persuade others to join or support their cause.
Is he a straight-out sociopath, determined to ‘make it’ by any means possible, who, with the former guy, Trump, as his guide, thought that politics seemed like a great place to pad your pockets if you are unable to be shamed or embarrassed, and have no difficulty in saying whatever gets you what you want, when you want it?
Or is he perhaps the sum of all of these things? Maybe he’s living and acting out the role of a pathological liar and kleptomaniac, damaged by an abusive childhood, who lacks any form of self-awareness, and who has banked on the authorities just not being able to catch him before he cashes out and achieves whatever form of fame, fortune, and power he’s believed he has deserved for all of his life.
All I am certain of, is that he chose the right party to worm his way into. Like is drawn to like. Flies to honey. Republicans to charlatans and scoundrels.
If you were to hang a bad guy fly strip in a Republican convention of GOP wannabees, you’d be amazed at how many con artists, frauds, fabulists, liars, miscreants, reprobates, villains, self-proclaimed victims and martyrs would be stuck to it by the end of the day.
So it should come as no surprise that George Santos, the new U.S. representative for New York‘s 3rd congressional district, was not only attracted to the Republican party, but that the party’s biggest liars and con men have absorbed him into their midst like urine into a Depends. He’s a team player, and this team’s special play is lying with a side order of denying. The conman has already conned his way into Congress, and onto a couple of low-level committees on which he’s laughably unqualified to be of service – the Committee on Small Business and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
With a razor-thin majority in Congress, Kevin McCarthy, who was only crowned Speaker of the House after a humiliating 15 rounds of Mother, May I, apparently only learned after the fact that Sam Miele, a Santos aide, had been impersonating the Chief of Staff of House Speaker McCarthy and sucking down donations for the Santos campaign by pretending that McCarthy was rooting for Santos. Asked how that little bit of shady telephone work would affect Santos’ place in the party, McCarthy claimed that, “It happened—I know they corrected it, but I was not notified about that until a later date.”
(more breaking news: Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the powerful lawmaker who backed Santos during the campaign, has been drawn into l’Affaire Santos for her endorsement. Donors have been telling reporters that they feel betrayed by Stefanik’s commendation.)
In truth, McCarthy’s hands are tied. He needs warm Republican bodies to keep that tiny majority, and if the price to do so is not being able to believe a single word that flows from the mouth of a member of your own conference, nor of being able to trust what he will be found to have done, or is doing, on a daily basis, McCarthy will take that deal. If he ever had any shame, he lost it years ago, all for the chance to lead a party that has, as Democratic Representative Ritchie Torres of New York’s District 15 put it, “(House Republicans have ) sunk to the level of self-parody.”
They may be disregarding the slow drip, drip, drip of revelations of Santos’ tales of another life in which he was always the star attraction, and never the sweeper, but as the noose tightens around Santos’ neck, there have been cries of seizing his passport on the grounds that investigations into his financials, from both U.S. and Brazilian authorities, make him a flight risk.
How craven are McCarthy and the majority of Republican leaders who have, for now, decided to treat Santos as they would any other member of the House, knowing that he is a security risk with access to classified briefings?
Fascinating, yes? Let’s take a closer look at this Man who would be – King? Vice-President? President? Don’t laugh – there’s already been speculations that it could happen, in an America that, only a few years ago, chose a reality TV star to be president of the United States.
In an era of polarized politics, where voters choose political leaders merely in the hopes of defeating the other party, just winning is enough. They will vote against their own interests just for the momentary rush of beating the other side.
Voters see lying as the currency of politics, everywhere on the globe. The lies just bounce right off the voters, and even when media fact-checkers share the lies and deceit, the voters just don’t care … as long as it’s their guy that wins.
But as used as Americans have become to their leaders lying to them, they must have some idea that there’s a difference between strategically lying and fabricating a life. The hope of winning a race would be motivation for strategic lying but Santos chose to create a character that would be all things to all people – a gay, half-black Jew-ish Republican, who loves his mother, dogs, and whatever else you’re having. His lies are not debatable – they’re straight out lies. And yet, it’s ingenious; Santos has pretended to be all things to all people and both parties. He is a GOP Frankenstein, a creation of cynicism and lies that are defended with even more fantastic lies.
And all he had to do was hope that no one would care enough, or be curious enough, to lift the lid, and reveal the ugliness hiding under the whipped cream.
Santos says that he’s not a criminal for lying about his resume. Everybody does it. But in the context of a run for Congress, his constant lying and reframing of reality is an assault on a democracy that has been being used as a punching bag for more than half a decade already.
Who is the real George Santos? What was so horrible about his life that he had to invent a whole new life in order to feel good about himself? Did he go to college, did he work, and at what kind of jobs? We’re learning all about the things that weren’t true, but little of George Santos’ real life.
This might take a while, so I’m going to have to split this baby into two or three parts, over the next few days. So let’s end here, and in Part Two, we’ll discuss Santos: How it All Began – The Early Lies