Colson: Santos and the Grand Old Poseurs

John Colson
Special to The Aspen Times
John Colson
Courtesy photo

What are the political costs of lying to voters about one’s life, work history and other salient details in order to win election to high office?

Apparently, there are none, a development that is a tribute to the presidency of Donald Trump, who is credited with telling more than 30,000 substantiated lies during his term in the White House.

I mean, who can blame a young candidate for following the example of his president?

Well, I can, for one.

I’m fairly confident that U.S. Rep.-elect George Santos of New York probably took the oath of office Tuesday, Jan. 3, despite having admitted to telling voters numerous lies about his life, his religion (he claimed Jewish heritage at one point), his jobs and even the circumstances surrounding his mother’s death.

Perhaps I should point out that I believe lying to voters, in and of itself, should be a disqualifier for anyone looking to serve in public office, an idea so simple it pains me to have to even mention it.

Santos, a Republican, was elected to serve parts of Nassau County and Queens, in New York, by a margin of slightly more than 20,000 votes out of a total of more than 271,000 votes cast, according to The New York Times. The published results show he beat his opponent, Democrat Robert Zimmerman, 145,824 to 125,404.

No one can say how that result might have differed if voters knew before the election what they know now — that Santos is a habitual liar and apparently has been for some time.

It appears that, in general, the leadership of the Republican Party is just fine with all this lying.

This kind of makes sense given the fact that many in the party still adhere to The Big Lie that the 2020 election was “stolen” from Trump, not to mention acceptance of Trump’s other lies, and remain in thrall to Trump’s twisted views on everything from U.S. politics to international relations.

I find it very telling that the Grand Old Party, as the Republicans like to style themselves, appears these days to be remaking itself into something that deserves a different monicker.

Perhaps they should now be known as the Grand Old Poseurs, to put it as delicately as possible and keep the initials the same to avoid confusion (a poseur, in political vernacular, is someone who pretends to be something he or she is not to win support.)

This would cover everything from loyalty about The Big Lie to engaging in all manner of lesser lies, such as certain party members’ insistence that anything and everything the Democrats want to do is “communist” or “Marxist” in nature.

Put aside the likelihood that Republicans who give voice to this lie have no idea what those two words mean, given that many Americans have the same knowledge deficit and a deep fear of what they think the words represent, which makes it an easy lie to use.

Then there is the party’s much more determined, divisive and dishonest use of the gerrymander — a shifty political ploy that is slowly making it nearly impossible for Democrats to win office in many areas, even in some where they outnumber Republicans by significant margins (I suggest readers do some research on the ploy to better get the picture).

This tactic has been so effective used, and in some states legislative districts have been so brutally manipulated by Republicans that Democrats are an endangered species at statehouses even though there may actually be more registered Dems than Repubs in those states.

So the GOP (remember the new moniker) is no stranger, as a group, to lying and misleading in order to win (granted, some Democrats are guilty of the same), and Santos should fit right in.

I can’t wait to see how Santos acts when he is in office, or how voters in his district react once they learn more about him.