For a rookie congressman, New York Republican George Santos gets a lot of press. Santos, 34, hit the big time on Dec. 19 when the New York Times decided that the openly gay son of Brazilian immigrants was not "diverse" enough to enjoy immunity.
The headline summed up Santos' problem, "Who Is Rep.-Elect George Santos? His Résumé May Be Largely Fiction."
After a dumpster dive into Santos' life, Times reporters Grace Ashford and Michael Gold revealed that Santos is not who he claimed to be on the campaign trail.
He had not worked for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. He did not graduate from Baruch College. The IRS could find no record of his animal rescue group.
When the Times story broke, Santos' GOP colleagues scurried for the nearest mic to call him a pariah and a pathological liar. Surprisingly, despite the pressure, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reconciled himself to keeping Santos around.
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As McCarthy told CNN, "a lot of people here in the Senate and others" embellished their life stories as well. He was right. The Senate is a veritable liar's club.
Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, for instance, told voters in 2010 he had "served in Vietnam." an unforgivable lie by veteran standards. From the beginning, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren famously greased her career skids with her imaginary American Indian DNA.
As a senator, Joe Biden imploded on the presidential campaign in 1987 when his Babel of lies collapsed in on itself. Democrats reelected all three even after being found out.
As an aspiring senator in 2004, the greatest bamboozler of them all punched his ticket into the club, telling America in his breakthrough speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, "My parents shared not only an improbable love. They shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation." Not a word of this was true.
At the 2008 Democratic convention, Sen. Barack Obama once again mined the apocryphal family saga. "Four years ago," he told his audience, "I stood before you and told you my story – of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to."
Obama knew he was living a lie, but he had no choice other than to persist. He had built a highly successful campaign around what biographer David Remnick called his "signature appeal: the use of the details of his own life as a reflection of a kind of multicultural ideal."
The details, however, were manufactured. As early as 2008, citizen journalist Michael Patrick Leahy was reporting accurately that there was no love and no union, not even a brief one. Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, left Hawaii for Seattle with the baby in tow by September 1961 when Obama would officially have been no more than a month old.
As Leahy reported in his self-published book "What Does Barack Obama Believe," Dunham registered at the University of Washington and returned to Hawaii only after the senior Obama had left for Harvard.
Not until 2017 did a mainstream reporter match Leahy's accuracy. In his biography "Rising Star," Pulitzer Prize-winning civil rights historian David Garrow deconstructed Obama's "multicultural ideal" down to its fraudulent core.
Writes Garrow of the life story Obama created for himself, "['Dreams from My Father'] was not a memoir or an autobiography; it was instead, in multitudinous ways, without any question a work of historical fiction."
Garrow elaborates, "[T]he young couple never chose to live together at any time following the onset of Ann's pregnancy." Obama Sr. may never have even seen the child. Garrow suggests, in fact, that Obama Sr. was no more than "a sperm donor in his son's life." As I have argued, Obama Sr. was not even that.
In sum, Obama's positioning strategy at the conventions in 2004 and 2008 was fraudulent. There was no "improbable love," no shared "faith in the possibilities of this nation," and little, if any, truth to the life story on which he had built his campaign.
Obama finessed that life story to suit his purposes. Even on his most delusional day, Santos would not have told a whopper like the nearly blasphemous one Obama told on a March 2007 day in Selma, Alabama.
Obama had just declared for the presidency a month earlier. The fact that veterans of the celebrated 1965 Selma civil rights march were in attendance did not rein in his conscience.
In his best faux black preacher cadence – better, at least, than Hillary's – Obama wove his own corrupted life story into the larger narrative of the black struggle. Said Obama for the ages:
"But something stirred across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks were willing to march across a bridge. And so they got together, and Barack Obama Jr. was born. So don't tell me I don't have a claim on Selma, Alabama. Don't tell me I'm not coming home when I come to Selma, Alabama. I'm here because somebody marched for our freedom."
As Obama explained, the Kennedys were so moved by the march they organized an airlift "to start bringing young Africans over to this country." His father "got one of those tickets," which enabled him to meet Obama's mother, and "Barack Obama Jr. was born."
As it happens, Obama Sr. came to America when Eisenhower was still president, and miraculously, Obama's birth occurred nearly four years before the Selma march.
And we're supposed to be appalled by Santos?
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