Steve is back with a repeat of last year’s popular feature: on the day of the “Grammy” awards, BTRTN provides a summary of the past year’s low points in human character on display in the GOP.
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! Before you tune into that “other” Grammys show tonight, we welcome you to the Lindsey Grahammys, BTRTN’s annual awards for the most epic displays of Republican hypocrisy, disingenuousness, unawareness of irony, and occasional moments of well-deserved unintended consequences.
Many people have asked us why we decided to name our hypocrisy awards for Lindsey Graham when there are so many worthy Republicans to choose from. The answer? The Senator from South Carolina simply executes more pristine hypocrisies than any of his peers. Consider this gem: in 2016 that Graham justified his opposition to Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court by publicly declaring that it was a matter of principle, and that he was perfectly willing to be held accountable to it:
"I want you to use my words against me. If there's a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, 'Let's let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.'"
Sure enough, that exact circumstance came to pass. When Ruth Bader Ginsberg passed away in the final months of Donald Trump’s presidency, Lindsey managed to completely, totally, and unabashedly abandon his “principled” position of 2016, thoroughly endorsing Trump’s right to ram through a new court appointee.
Then, when called on his hypocrisy, Graham justified his flip-flop by accusing everyone else of being equally lacking in moral fiber. “I am certain if the shoe were on the other foot, you would do the same.” Lindsey Graham not only operates in an ethical vacuum -- he thinks we all are as morally bankrupt as he is!
“Republican hypocrisy,” you say? Isn’t that sort of, well, redundant?
Yes, the post-factual Trump Party has become a confab of contortionists, a breeding ground for slimy mutated creatures with large vocal chords but lacking spines, memories, and dignity. Republicans declare that what they believe today is the thing Donald Trump said yesterday. Where once the identifying traits of Republicanism were fiscal responsibility, global obligation, limited government, and rugged individualism, today’s GOP is a pander-fest of wobbly, weak-kneed sycophants whose every action is determined by fear of reprisal from Donald Trump.
Our awards celebrate the most temerity in insincerity, the great distinctions in disingenuousness, and the fanciest of sycophancy.
We have nominated three Republican productions for this year’s “Greatest Achievement in Hypocrisy.” They are: “The Big Lie, Part Deux: Don’t Stop Misbelieving!” “I Didn’t See No Stinkin’ Insurrection,” and “Black Female Nominees for the Supreme Court Go Easy on Child Porn.”
Let’s begin with the first nominated Republican production, “The Big Lie, Part Deux: Don’t Stop Misbelieving!”
Rare is the sequel that equals the original! But as 2022 unfolded, the “Big Lie” just got bigger! The tiny handful of Republicans who said out loud that Donald Trump did not win the 2020 election were ostracized by the party. Our awards go to those sleazebags who knew exactly what happened but refused to say it out loud, and indeed, advocated for Trump’s Big Lie.
Due to the diligence of the House January 6 Committee, we have learned in the past year about mind-blowing hypocrisy leading up to and following the Capitol Insurrection.
Our first Lindsey Grahammy goes to Fox News host Sean Hannity, who, we now know, was frantically texting to the White House in the days leading up to and following the insurrection, urging Mark Meadows and others to tell Trump to abandon his attempt to label the election as fraudulent:
"Guys, we have a clear path to land the plane in 9 days. He can't mention the election again. Ever. I did not have a good call with him today. And worse, I'm not sure what is left to do or say, and I don't like not knowing if it's truly understood. Ideas?"
Hannity did not express this opinion on his television show. In fact, Hannity and other Fox News evening anchors had busied themselves since the election boosting allegations of voter fraud and faulty voting machines. The texts to the White House demonstrate that Hannity knew that “the Big Lie” was a very big lie, but he played along. Take the statuette, Sean, and shove it where it belongs!
Our Second Grahammy for the “The Big Lie” goes to Ted Cruz, who -- we have learned through the work of the January 6 Committee -- went to extraordinary lengths to concoct a legal theory that could enable Trump to remain as President. Cruz sought to delay the certification of the election, and intended to delay the inauguration in order to give states more time to reverse election results. Cruz’s rationale for the delay and the special commission was that:
“We right now have a substantial chunk of our country that has real doubts about the integrity of the election, and if we had had a credible electoral commission do an emergency audit, it would have enhanced faith in democracy.”
This is hypocrisy gold! First, spend two months sowing doubt in the population about whether the election accurately reflected the will of the voters, and then claim a need for an audit of the election because of widespread voter doubt! Then, use the delay caused by the audit to have State legislatures negate the real vote, so that the revised outcome of the election actually does not reflect the will of the voters!
What is even more galling is that Cruz graduated from Princeton and Harvard Law. He knew perfectly well what the Constitution allowed and did not allow… and yet he aggressively advocated for a brazenly unconstitutional scheme.
Our third statuette for “The Big Lie, Part Deux” is awarded for a “The Year’s Most Dazzling Failure to See Irony in One’s Action,” which is considered a truly rarified air of hypocrisy. This award goes to the individuals responsible for turning over documents requested by the House January 6 Committee, who provided a call log of the President’s phone records for January 6, which had a seven-hour gap. This is truly breathtaking in that it is already a matter of public record that Trump spoke directly with Kevin McCarthy and Tommy Tuberville during this period. Then there is the added soupçon that Trump may have been using “burner phones” but pretended to not know what a “burner phone” is... a contention rapidly rebutted by John Bolton.
The lesson to all wannabe Republican hypocrites: when trying to avoid disturbing parallels to past Presidential malfeasance, it’s probably best not to create such an unmistakable – and more grandiose – echo of Richard Nixon’s 18-minute gap in the Watergate tapes.
It is our sad duty to hand out a smaller trophy for “The Big Lie, Part Deux,” which goes to Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. Back in February of 2020, Grassley said "President Trump continued to argue that the election had been stolen even though the courts didn't back up his claims. He belittled and harassed elected officials across the country to get his way. He encouraged his own, loyal vice president, Mike Pence, to take extraordinary and unconstitutional actions during the Electoral College count.... There's no doubt in my mind that President Trump's language was extreme, aggressive, and irresponsible."
But by October, 2021, Grassley cowered from such language. The Iowa Senator, wanting Trump’s endorsement for re-election, stood meekly by at a rally as Trump thundered about election fraud in three states. When asked why he allowed himself to essentially be a prop as Trump continued his stolen election rhetoric, Grassley whimpered, “He's a private citizen. He can say anything he wants to."
This is what the GOP has come to… senior, experienced officers of government with decades of service to their country, perfectly willing to condone a coup in order to keep their jobs. Grassley knows better. Give the man his statue. He has sunk low enough to deserve it.
The next nominated Republican production is titled “I Didn’t See No Stinkin’ Insurrection,” which features a series of Republicans who can’t understand why people are making such a fuss about January 6, and can’t understand what on the earth the Democrats seem to think needs investigating.
Let’s open our first envelope, in the category of “Best Attempt to Rewrite an Actual Historical Event,” and – you betcha! It goes to Georgia Republican Andrew Clyde, a Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, who was quoted in a video saying:
“Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes, taking videos and pictures. You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”
Magnificent! You would actually think that, unless you actually think, which Representative Clyde apparently does not do!
We saw the video. We saw the carnage, the violence against the police, the bloodshed, the breaking down of doors and windows, the blood-curdling threats to Nancy Pelosi, the actual chant of “Hang Mike Pence.” To attempt to equate those videos with a “normal tourist visit” is to practice a sort of sorcerer’s hypocrisy, as if reality can be whisked away with a spell. Give the man his trophy. Then run. Fast.
But the true magic of “I Didn’t See No Stinkin’ Insurrection” is not in the random outlier hallucination of a Congressman from Georgia. It lies in watching the actual Republican leadership in Congress attempt to whitewash the insurrection by claiming that it does not even rise to the level of concern that it should merit an investigation.
Our Lindsey Grahammy goes to the ensemble cast of Republicans who have taken precisely the opposite view of investigating Donald Trump for egregious transgressions against the Constitution than the positions they took on investigating Hillary Clinton when no malfeasance was ever established.
We’re here tonight to talk about hypocrisy, so take a big bite of this: there were – count’em – at least ten different Congressional investigations into Hillary Clinton’s handling of the terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya. Unfathomable as this is to believe, the Congress spent more time investigating Benghazi than they did on the September 11 attacks. Republicans felt it was absolutely critical to get to the bottom of who was to blame for the attack, and yet, investigation after investigation found no wrongdoing on Clinton’s part.
And yet when time came to investigate the Capitol insurrection of January 6, 2020, Senate Republicans blocked the creation of a bipartisan panel modeled on the 9/11 commission. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell labeled it a “purely political exercise.” This, after that very same Mitch McConnell had publicly declared that “"There's no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day."
There has been, of course, the stonewalling by Republicans who refuse to comply with legitimate Congressional subpoenas. There have been court fights to withhold the release of documents to the January 6 Committee. There are the reports that Donald Trump would flush documents down the White House toilet. There is the fact that top secret government documents were taken to Mar-a-Lago. All this from the party that had the blood-curdling chant of “lock her up” because Hillary Clinton used a private email server for government documents.
McConnell’s hypocrisy in failing to create a bipartisan commission to investigate January 6 did, however, have the delicious effect of triggering the “law of unintended consequences,” an all-too-common outcome of flagrant hypocrisy. After seeing the Bipartisan commission bill collapse, Nancy Pelosi created the House January 6 Committee. When Pelosi refused to seat two Republicans who flagrantly opposed any investigation into January 6, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy boycotted the committee entirely.
Now, unimpeded by any Republican interference, stalling, or posturing, the House January 6 Committee is unearthing mountains of evidence that Donald Trump was intent on staging a coup of the United States government. Nice work, Kevin.
The third major Republican production this year was entitled “Black Female Nominees for the Supreme Court Go Easy on Child Porn,” a farce that was written, produced, and performed largely by The Dunces of the Confederacy, Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Lindsey Graham.
Our first award is for “Egregious False Equivalency.” Much was written about the Republican need to seek “vengeance” for what it viewed to be excessively harsh questioning of Donald Trump’s beer-pong nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. “There is this need to punch back,” observed Republican Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota. So the Republican approach was to treat Judge Brown-Jackson savagely for her sentencing in sexual crimes, because Brett Kavanaugh was grilled aggressively because he was accused of a sexual crime. Sort of the same thing? Maybe? Kinda? Uh, not.
Our second award goes to Missouri Senator and man born with a genetic absence of human decency, Josh Hawley, for “Extraordinary Achievement in Fiction.” If vengeance was indeed being sought for the Democratic attack on accused sexual predator Kavanaugh, Hawley decided to try to tarnish Jackson with an egregious form of sexual innuendo. Prior to the hearings, Hawley tweeted that Judge Jackson “has a pattern of letting child pornographers off the hook.” However, Democrats were able to demonstrate that Jackson’s record in this area was no different from conservative judges that committee Republicans had supported. Busted.
Our third statuette goes for “Outstanding Posturing in a Supporting Role.” We award this to Ted Cruz, the unctuous, smarmy, festering boil of a human being, the very crude oil of Texas incarnate, who introduced a perversely irrelevant discussion of critical race theory into the hearings, apparently wanting to coax a few Facebook “likes” from the racists back home.
Our fourth statue goes to the man himself, for still one more of the flawless flip-flops that made us want to name our Awards after him. Never one to disappoint, Senator Lindsey Graham announced just this week that he would vote against the appointment of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson after voting for her position on the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court just a year ago. "I now know why Judge Jackson was the favorite of the radical left and I will vote no," Graham explained. Uh, Lindsey, the only thing you know now that you didn’t know then is that everyone in your party is paying attention to your vote this time.
We now turn to our final three awards… our fan favorites.
First, we will announce the winner of the Golden Cherry Tree, which goes to the Republican who tries very hard to be disingenuous, but is caught “Accidentally Telling the Truth.”
Our award for “Accidental Truth Telling” goes to perennial hypocrisy powerhouse Mitch McConnell. The Senate Minority leader was asked this past January if the failure to ratify the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act might cause Black Americans to be concerned about whether they would be able to vote in the upcoming midterm elections. 'Well, the concern is misplaced because, if you look at the statistics, African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans.” Uh, wha? Thank you so much, Senator McConnell, for helping us understand that you believe that “Black Americans” are actually a different category than “Americans.”
And now, it is the solemn moment when we hand out our “Richard Milhouse Nixon Lifetime Achievement in Hypocrisy Award” … and this year, it goes to – wait for it! House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy!!! Oh, my, what well-earned recognition for a career of spinelessness!
In fairness, Kevin McCarthy has a thankless job, in that pretty much no one is thanking him for the job he is doing.
McCarthy secured his lifetime achievement award in the days immediately following January 6, 2020, when he made perfectly clear exactly what he knew, understood, and believed about the insurrection. Speaking before the House, McCarthy said, “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump." He went on to say that Trump must “accept his share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest and ensure President-Elect Joe Biden is able to successfully begin his term.” For good measure, McCarthy added “Some say the riots were caused by Antifa. There is absolutely no evidence of that. Conservatives should be the first to say so.”
There you have it. Who caused it, who was responsible for it, who was not. McCarthy nailed it. He knew exactly what was going on.
By January 22 – less than a week later – McCarthy was singing a new song. ““I don’t believe he provoked it if you listen to what he said at the rally.” Then McCarthy came to realize that his honest assessment of January 6 had infuriated Trump, and he asked for a meeting at Mar-a-Lago to “talk strategy” about winning the House back in 2022. “Talk strategy” is apparently a euphemism for genuflecting and kissing the ring. A photo from the meeting shows the two men standing side by side. McCarthy looks eager to please. Trump appears to be laughing.
It was McCarthy, of course, who sulked when Nancy Pelosi rejected his candidates for the House January 6 Investigation Committee. In “protest,” McCarthy opted to put no one on the committee. With that terribly flawed decision, McCarthy has lost any control he may have wielded over it. Had he simply named more acceptable alternatives, he would have eyes and ears in the committee, and his chosen representatives could be doing plenty to gunk up the committee’s progress. No wonder Republicans hate Nancy Pelosi… it must be wearying to watch how effortless she outfoxes the twenty-watt McCarthy.
McCarthy kicked life-long rock of conservatism Liz Cheney out of her position of power in the party caucus, but finds himself unwilling and unable to cope with the sexual appetites of Matt Gaetz and the incendiary musings of Marjorie Taylor Greene. McCarthy is terrified of confronting one of the party’s most potent fundraisers, so he allows Greene to rant about Jewish space lasers and Nancy Pelosi’s “Gazpacho Police.”
Finally, however, Kevin McCarthy decided to pick on someone his own size. When 26 year-old wingnut Representative Madison Cawthorn raged that he had witnessed Republicans in Congress snorting lines and engaged in carnal free-for-alls, McCarthy stepped in and lowered the boom.
Let us sum up Kevin McCarthy’s career: “This Minority Leader will tolerate blatantly false allegations about stolen elections, Jewish space lasers, wild goose chases about Benghazi… but when a 26 year-old accuses us of having sex and drugs, well, somebody has crossed a line!”
Give the man the statue. And send a check to the Dem in the contested House seat in your area, so this bloviating gas bag doesn’t end up as Speaker of the House.
Finally, ladies and gentleman, we are ready to hand out The Golden Blowhard, the highest and most cherished honor among Republicans. May I have the envelope please?
YES! Ladies and gentlemen, HE DID IT AGAIN! For the second straight year, the award goes to Bloviator-in-Chief, Donald Trump!
This year, the judges marveled at the fact that Trump once again practiced his special magic of deceit – but this time, he is bent on the destruction of his own team.
You see, Donald Trump tells Republicans that he is the Party, that his endorsement is absolutely essential, and that he defines what is and what is not dogma in the new GOP. In his view, what is good for the Party is what is good for Trump, and what is good for Trump is what is good for the Party.
Except that this is not true.
Donald Trump could not care less about the Republican Party.
He cares about himself. And all he cares about is the narrative that is absolutely essential to preserving his psychic health: that he is not a “loser,” and that he did not “lose” the 2020 election.
But it is his very obsession with re-litigating the 2020 election that is widely viewed among Republicans as a fruitless, pointless platform for the 2022 midterms and beyond. Most Republicans want to talk about Biden, inflation, Afghanistan, excessive spending, COVID mandates, and CRT. Trump only wants to talk about the 2020 election.
Moreover, Trump’s litmus test is that Republican candidates must sign on to both the “Big Lie” and downplaying the insurrection. The result is likely to lead the GOP to ever more fringe, less-electable candidates.
Yes, the biggest hypocrisy in 2022 is Donald Trump’s Stockholm Syndrome over the Republican Party. He is dragging it down, and yet they all cannot get enough of it. Those who can see it cannot do anything about it. Indeed, they see what is happening, but they play along.
It is time that Republicans begin to understand the cost of all the hypocrisy… now that they have a clear view of the hypocrisy within.
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. The finest in Republican cynicism, hypocrisy, and deceit.
Be sure to tune in again next year… at the rate we are going, we can pretty much promise that it is going to be another amazing show.
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