74.6 F
Sunday, May 28, 2023
HomeOpinionDi Leo: George Santos and the Resume Question

Di Leo: George Santos and the Resume Question



By John F. Di Leo, Opinion Contributor

The news of the day is that George Santos lied in his campaign.

Okay, let’s stop right there. Wouldn’t it be great if the only news of the day was that a newly elected congressman lied during his campaign?

There was a time – a hundred years ago perhaps – when all levels of our government were still small enough that there really wasn’t political news every single day, and a story like this might have deserved coverage.

But today? With the feds happily writing another $40 billion in checks to a foreign war (one in which we aren’t even a participant), a number dwarfed within a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending spree, we have a surfeit of legitimate news stories to write about – news stories infinitely more important than which college a newly elected congressman attended or where he worked.

This isn’t to say that George Santos’ lies were trivial. Where a guy attends school, where he earns his paycheck, if he earns one at all, and what his genealogy is, certainly all plays a role in who he is. So, it matters, at least a little.

But is it a big national issue? Think of the hundreds of hours spent on television and radio on the question of whether George Santos should step down, the tons of newsprint and countless internet pixels devoted to this matter this December. Why?

So he didn’t go to Baruch College or NYU. Who cares? Lots of our Founding Fathers, including our first and greatest president, didn’t go to college at all.

So he didn’t work “for” Goldman Sachs, now he says he worked “with” Goldman Sachs. The revolving door between the big investment banks and the federal government has been busy enough in recent decades; most Americans probably think we’re better off with fewer of their alums in public office, not more of them.

The only real Constitutional requirements for a member of the US House are that he be over 25, a US citizen, and a resident of the state from which he’s elected.

Nobody disputes these points, so he’s legitimate. He can take his seat, and there’s no just cause for anyone to force him to step aside at this point.

Now, there are some legitimate financial concerns; a real possibility that his campaign funding is shady. He could easily be a ringer, bankrolled by a foreign power, for example, like the Bidens and Pelosis have been funded by countries like Ukraine and China for so long. If so, once proven, he should be forced out. It’s worth investigating. But until then, his election was legitimate, and he should take his seat with the next congress without hesitation.

That being said, this fascinating case does highlight a number of issues that the American people should consider more deeply. For example:

Do Lies Matter?

The shock of this story isn’t that a politician was caught in a basket of lies, it’s that the politician in question was a Republican. Republican pols tend to be boring and honest; the charismatic and deceitful types are almost always Democrats.

Consider Joe Biden, poster child of the pathological liar, who has spouted blatant falsehoods about his academic career, his activism, his past alliances, his finances, his positions on the issues. Laughed out of the 1988 campaign for plagiarizing his speeches, the idea of Democrats trying to make a politician’s lies an issue while propping up Joe Biden in the White House is laughable.

Consider the way Democrats name their bills, such as reviving the failed “Green New Deal,” and passing it under its new name, the “Inflation Reduction Act.” Consider how they pay false witnesses to fly to Washington to slander supreme court nominees with made-up stories of harassment or assault. Consider how they take both sides of an issue depending on their audiences – such as championing the hard work of coal miners in front of their union, then calling for the banning of coal the following week when addressing a progressive crowd. Consider Bill Clinton, elected on his promise of a “middle class tax cut,” who took office and immediately pushed through the biggest tax increase in history.

Should a politician’s lies matter? Of course. But it takes judgment – on the part of the voter, the commentator, and the journalist – to prioritize which lies matter to the citizenry, and which ones don’t.

How do Voters Choose a Legislator?

While parties developed very soon after our current government was born, our Founding Fathers did not advocate political parties. Almost to a man, they rejected “factions” – such as those they knew from England – as being ultimately destructive to the cause of liberty.

But it happened, nevertheless. House Speaker James Madison and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson opposed much of President Washington’s agenda, so they launched an effort to develop their own party within the very first term of our new government under the Constitution.

As the power of parties has grown, it is undeniable that the most important vote a legislator casts is that first one, the vote to construct the house as Republican or Democrat. Some voters proudly acknowledge the fact; others deny it to themselves and others… but then on Election Day, their actions belie the truth of the matter, as they vote for a Republican if they want a Republican majority to govern, or a Democrat if they want a Democrat majority to govern.

With the very concept of an “Election Day” being all but wiped out in recent years as early voting and mail-in ballots create a six to eight week “Election Season,” huge numbers of voters are casting ballots before candidates have held debates, received endorsements, or even mailed out their campaign brochures. On what, then, are they basing their votes? On a candidate’s smile? On his hair and teeth? On his resume? Not before they’ve seen his commercials or received his mailings.

The fact is, voters today base their choices for the legislature, more than ever, on two things; name recognition and party. If a constituent votes for a challenger over an incumbent, it’s most likely because that constituent wants the challenger’s party to hold the majority the next time.

This is a concept, Gentle Reader, that many of us in the punditry cannot understand or accept; we are either Democrats or Republicans ourselves, and we can’t imagine voters being so fickle as to flip from one party to the other, from cycle to cycle… but it’s true.

Lots of voters don’t care if their Congressman is black or white, old or young, experienced or novice, white collar or blue collar; they care whether that Congressman will vote for a Republican majority or a Democrat majority to run that body – whether state or federal, whether house or senate – for the next two years.

Should that be the case? Well, why shouldn’t it be? Our system, over the past century or so, has rendered the individual legislator less and less effective, giving the vast majority of the power to the party leadership that dominates the body. If that’s the case – and it most certainly is – then the voter is right to care about the party more than about the resume.

If liberals are offended that the voters of Queens and Long Island didn’t care about George Santos’ resume, they have nobody but themselves to blame; it’s the political Left that has driven the accumulation of power into the hands of the person who holds the gavel, making party more important than person.

In parliamentary systems, in fact, they hardly bother with the individual; voters select their party and then the winning party allocates seats to individual members after the election returns come in. This may seem foreign to us, but in some ways, it’s more honest than our pretense of caring more about the individual candidate than the majority party that really holds the power.

Do Elections Matter?

George Santos (R, NY) is not the first elected politician to inspire an effort to drive him from office.

U.S. Senator Bob Packwood (R, OR) was driven to resign in 1995 on the flimsy argument that he had made passes at women. He was a philanderer, that’s all, most often, just an attempted philanderer, hardly on the scale of a Clinton or Kennedy. But they drove Packwood from office for it, despite his state having elected him to the U.S. Senate five times. His departure turned that Senate seat into a safe Democrat seat ever since.

U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R, AK) served in the Senate even longer, representing the solidly Republican state of Alaska for 40 years. He was unbeatable. But tax law, campaign finance law, and congressional ethics rules changed over the years, and some politicians were better than others at keeping up with the times. When Democrats realized they could never beat him in an honest election, they went after him in 2008 – when his seat was up – on a set of charges for failing to properly document gifts and campaign support. He was convicted just before his final re-election, just in time to cause a slim defeat at the polls, and then the conviction was overturned before sentencing in light of severe prosecutorial misconduct. It drove him out of office; that was the only goal.

News anchor Kari Lake (R, AZ) ran for governor of Arizona in 2022, promising to control the border and restore election integrity. Her opponent, the incumbent Secretary of State in charge of the election process, “defeated her” by mathematically impossible numbers, according to statistical analysis of the votes by cyber experts. How? By supervising an election process with so many flaws that an honest election simply couldn’t take place. Ballots were intentionally printed so they couldn’t be read by the counting machines, lines at polling places were so long that Republican-area voters were turned away, disenfranchised on Election Day, and judges refused to extend voting hours, even for people already in line (at odds with most other states where people already in line are always accepted). The election itself was designed to keep a Republican from winning a close race; only a massive plurality could have resulted in a Republican eking out a victory that day, under those circumstances.

The anti-American Left has found that sometimes, when they can’t defeat a Republican at the polls, they can throw him out of office anyway, whether on selective prosecution or trumped-up charges, or simply by selective enforcement of rules that are never applied to their side of the aisle. Their goal is to reach the point at which elections themselves are meaningless or easily overturned, always in their own favor.

What does this say about the current case against George Santos?

All politicians are human. Some are honest and some are crooked, some are right and some are wrong, some are patriots and some are treacherous. George Santos has no voting record in the House yet, so it’s impossible to know for sure, just yet, which of these groups he’ll fall in.

And until we know for sure, unless he’s legitimately proven to be a criminal in court, the edge should go to the constituents who selected him, for whatever reason, to serve in the U.S. House as their Congressman.

Copyright 2022 John F. Di Leo

John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based trade compliance trainer and transportation manager, writer, and actor. A one-time county chairman of the Milwaukee County Republican Party, and former president of the Ethnic American Council, he has been writing regularly for Illinois Review since 2009.

A collection of John’s Illinois Review articles about vote fraud, The Tales of Little Pavel, and his 2021 political satires about current events, Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volumes One and Two, are available, in either paperback or eBook, only on Amazon.

Don’t miss an article! Use the tool in the margin to sign up for Illinois Review’s free email notification service, so that you always know when we publish new content!


- Never miss a story with notifications

- Gain full access to our premium content

- Browse free from up to 5 devices at once

Latest stories