On the day of the “Grammy” awards, BTRTN hands out statuettes that memorialize the most egregious examples of wanton deceit, absence of character, and bold-faced two-faced disgrace in today’s Republican Party.
Greetings! You all looked gorgeous strolling down our Red-State carpet! Sure, later today there will be that “other” Grammys show, but now is the moment Republican golden deceivers have been waiting for: the Lindsey Grahammys, BTRTN’s annual awards for the most epic displays of Republican hypocrisy, disingenuous posturing, unawareness of irony, and moments of well-deserved unintended consequences.
Why did we decide to name our hypocrisy awards for Lindsey? It was the Senator from South Carolina who committed the Hopeless Diamond by which all hypocrisy must be measured. In 2016 Graham justified his opposition to Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court by publicly declaring that his decision 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 unabashedly abandoned his “principled” position of 2016, thoroughly endorsing Trump’s right to ram through a new court appointee.
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!
Yes, the post-factual Trump Party has become a confab of contortionists, a breeding ground for slimy mutated creatures with large vocal cords but lacking spines, memories, and dignity. 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 retaliation from Donald Trump or his army of unhinged insurrectionists.
As we review the year in Republican hypocrisy, the question is increasingly becoming whether there is anything that Republicans do that is not in some manner or measure a hypocritical act. In 2023, “Republican hypocrisy” has become a redundancy.
Let’s test this hypothesis on one of the big issues of the day: the debt ceiling. Republicans in the House vow to refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless there are comparable cuts in government spending with the alleged goal of reducing the national debt. Ah, where to begin? First: everyone knows that the debt ceiling is about financial commitments that have already been made by the United States government – by Republicans and Democrats alike. If you want to reduce the national debt – a fine goal – you propose legislation to reduce future spending or raise future taxes. You do not stiff the people to whom you owe money, and you do not sabotage the very economy that needs to repay its debts. Republicans never threatened to refuse to raise the debt ceiling during Donald Trump’s administration, despite the fact James Carville relentlessly points out: a full 25% of our current national debt was incurred during the four years Donald Trump was President.
Hypocrisy: for Republicans, it’s as natural as breathing, as ubiquitous as oxygen, and as unconsidered as waking up in the morning, discriminating against minorities, repressing women, or vilifying immigrants. It is what Republicans do.
And now, for our first statuette…
1. Legally Blind: the Double-Standard Supreme Court of John Roberts.
In our first award, we recognize the astonishing degree to which sitting Republican Justices have turned the Supreme Court of the United States into a farce of judicial legislation, political overreach, and overt deception under oath.
The most deliciously hypocritical quote on the subject: on September 21, 2022, Samuel Alito told the Wall Street Journal that “questioning the integrity of the Supreme Court crosses an important line.” Really? How dare us cross that sacred line! Well, just watch.
In the opinion he authored overturning Roe v. Wade, Samuel Alito declared that Roe was “egregiously wrong from the start.” (Italics mine, but may as well have been his). In that the Roe ruling was in 1973, and Alito was nominated to the Supreme Court in 2005, it stands to reason that Alito already knew that he thought Roe was “egregiously wrong” at the time of his confirmation hearings. Yet, under oath, Alito spoke of the importance of precedent – stare decisis – and acknowledged that Roe had now been on the books for years and had been been challenged and upheld. Ted Kennedy would claim that Alito assured him in private meetings that he felt Roe was “settled law.” The cowardly Alito absolutely refused to give any indication that he felt the law was “egregiously wrong from the start,” no doubt fearing that it would put his nomination in jeopardy.
Later, all of Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Coney-Barrett would play the same disingenuous game of footsie when their turns came before Congress. Each would speak of their reverence for precedent, and each would strongly imply that a ruling that had been in place for 50 years and reconfirmed at the Supreme Court had earned their deep respect. Each was revealed to be nothing more nor less than a posing BS artist deceiving the public about their real views to secure their appointment when they raced to overturn Roe at their first opportunity.
Sadly, John Roberts has proven to be one of the most milquetoast Chief Justices in history: on his watch the Supreme Court has been degraded into a joke. He has stood by on the sideline as Clarence Thomas refused to recuse himself from cases involving the Insurrection that his wife participated in. He presided over a laughable investigation into the leak of the Roe decision. He heard a sitting U.S. Senator – Susan Collins – say that Brett Kavanaugh lied to her about his views on Roe, and he did nothing about it.
The final irony: The New York Times reported on a credible allegation that Alito himself had been the source of a leak of the court's ruling in the Hobby Lobby case. And yet Samuel Alito thinks that those who question the integrity of the Supreme Court have “crossed a line.”
Justice may be blind, but Republican Justices seem to think we are deaf and dumb. Here you go, Roberts, Alito, and the rest of you hypocrites… you’ve earned your “Grahammy” statuettes. Onto our next category…
2. Hershel Walker’s Abortion Stance Makes No Exceptions! (Uh, except for the ones he pays for).
Hershel Walker is indeed a triple threat: he is a whirlwind of dazzling hypocrisy, prodigious ignorance, and a mind-numbing lack of self-awareness. He made misleading pronouncements about his service in law enforcement, and then sought to infuse credibility into his assertion by holding up a toy badge. He proclaimed that his resume compared favorably with Barack Obama. He left the campaign trail for most of Thanksgiving weekend prior to the run-off election, appearing only once, and then apparently to assure voters that he aspired to be a werewolf, not a vampire.
It would be easy to dismiss Hershel Walker and his Senate candidacy as a joke, except for the fact that he is a dangerous, violent, serially abusive man who brandished guns and knives to threaten the lives of the women in his life.
As a hypocrite, the man has absolutely no shame. One of the most critical planks in Hershel Walker’s campaign was his alleged opposition to abortion. And yet he demanded that several of his girlfriends get abortions, and there a cancelled check to prove he paid for one. Perhaps the only thing more disturbing than the hypocrisy of Hershel Walker is the fact that 1,721,244 citizens of Georgia think a violent, abusive, ignorant, misogynistic, and hypocritical moron belongs in the United States Senate.
3. The Riddle of Kevin McCarthy: Can a Man with No Beliefs, Principles, or Self-Esteem be Accurately Labeled a Hypocrite?
The dictionary defines hypocrite as “a person whose actions contradict their stated beliefs or feelings.” That’s the problem with calling Kevin McCarthy a hypocrite. He has no beliefs. A person who’s entire M.O. is to say whatever is expedient in the moment? Is that a hypocrite? Or just a soulless, empty, groveling wimp named Kevin McCarthy?
Make no mistake: Kevin McCarthy was the man responsible for the most epic hypocrisy of our still young decade when he initially condemned Donald Trump for the January 6 insurrection, and then days later went full-poodle, scraping his nose on the cheap Mar-a-logo carpet as he prostrated himself before his master. McCarthy has demonstrated the capacity for hypocrisy measurable only by the Richter scale.
But that was 2021. That was when Kevin was capable of mustering two faces. Now all we can see are the tire marks on the back his head, left by Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz as they gleefully played demolition derby with his dignity during 15 roll call votes on the House floor. Now all we see is Kevin the Bobble-Head saying yes to everybody and everything. Now all we see is a man untethered to any intellectual or philosophical mooring, a man who appears ready to sink the country’s credit rating and abandon our support of Ukraine to keep a title that means more to him than the Constitution, the Institution of Congress, and the idea of standing up for a belief… any belief.
Kevin McCarthy’s statuette is truly for lifetime achievement, for hypocrisy truly on a Biblical scale: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
4. Mitch McConnell: The Man Who Had the Chance to Destroy Trump Has His Dreams of Returning as Senate Majority Leader Destroyed by Trump.
The most delicious irony is when one hypocrite gets played by a bigger hypocrite.
In 2021, Mitch McConnell stood on the Senate floor and delivered a stinging condemnation of Donald Trump’s role in the January 6 Insurrection. "There's no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day," McConnell exhorted. The problem is that McConnell made his stirring remarks after having voted against convicting Trump of impeachment charges. There is little doubt that if McConnell had put his muscle as Senate Majority leader into the effort, he could have found the votes to convict Trump, effectively removing any chance of Trump resurfacing in elective politics.
But he chickened out. McConnell recognized that Trump still held sway over his base in the Republican Party, and McConnell knew that if led an impeachment of Trump, that base could turn on him and end his time as Senate Majority Leader, and perhaps his career.
So McConnell let Trump off the hook. He did not seek a Senate conviction on impeachment charges.
Ah, Mitch. It must have been so embarrassing to discover that Donald Trump could not care less about your “Republican Party” other than how it served as a mechanism to further his own personal agenda. In 2022, McConnell saw up close and personal that Donald Trump had an entirely different agenda than the party. McConnell saw 2022 as an opportunity take full control of Congress. Donald Trump saw 2022 as an opportunity to relitigate 2020 and resuscitate his assertion that the Presidential election of 2020 had been stolen from him.
So Trump forced the party to nominate the pathetic candidates who would toe his line. Hershel Walker in Georgia. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania. Don Bolduc in New Hampshire. Blake Masters in Arizona. A stronger Republican candidate in any two of these races could have resulted in a Republican Senate. But Donald Trump was never interested in the success of the Republican Party.
It’s clear that all Donald Trump seeks now is to exorcise the unbearable psychological burden of being the “loser” of the 2020 Presidential election. Propping up lap dogs who would do his bidding in key Senate races and supporting election deniers in critical state races were all part of his plan to re-litigate the 2020 election, and somehow claim victory.
Mitch McConnell – who openly spoke about the problem of Republican “candidate quality” -- could have prevented the fiasco, and would very likely have re-emerged as Senate Majority Leader in 2022, if only he had taken down Trump when he had a golden opportunity to do so. Now, he can only blame himself for his cowardice, his flawed calculation of his own self-interest, and his failure to act on the words he knew enough to say.
Take a statuette, Mitch. Well-earned.
5. Lindsey Graham, the Man our Awards are Named For Takes Home Another Statuette!
We have to admit it: it was a quiet year for Lindsey. Sure, he may still be proven complicit in Trump’s attempt to overturn the Georgia election, but that’s not really hypocrisy. That’s being a felon.
But never fear: Lindsey came through in the end. On September 13, 2022, Lindsay Graham introduced a bill that would ban all abortions nationwide after fifteen weeks of pregnancy. Lindsey, known for sticking the landing after spinning like a top with contradictory opinions, may have forgotten that two years earlier, he was quoted as saying “I’ve been consistent. I think states should decide the issue of marriage and states should decide the issue of abortion.” So, uh, Lindsay – I guess your point is that states should decide -- so long as they decide to agree with you?
6. Ron DeSantis: Watch Out, Pal. The Woke’s On You.
It seems everybody thinks that Ron DeSantis will save the party from Donald Trump, beating him in the primaries and riding on to victory in 2024. DeSantis blew away a weak Democratic candidate to win re-election in November, and he is the only challenger to Trump scoring double-digits in early Presidential polls.
Yeah, Ron DeSantis has got swagger. He’s the man. He’s gonna take Trump down. He’s gonna beat Joe Biden.
But there are problems with Ron DeSantis.
For one thing, he is just another Republican hypocrite. For another, he is… um, hey, can we say this on network tv? Ron DeSantis is a world class asshole.
Ron DeSantis loves to position himself as the gritty tough street fighter who takes on the prissy wokeness of the liberal elite, which is un peu de tros from a guy who went to Yale undergrad and Harvard Law. He oozes a childish, smug self-satisfaction when he uses human beings as pawns in grade-school stunts like flying desperate, frightened, and confused immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard. He has all the charm and personality of a stop sign. He centered his personal brand on a culture war against “wokeness,” which is apparently a cute way of saying that he wants to have some fun with gender identity, public health, and the censorship of books in Florida schools to score points with the right. Ron DeSantis is a cheap-shot artist who exploits the weak for personal gain. Yeah, like I said. A real asshole.
But the far bigger problem with Ron DeSantis is that he will inevitably discover what Mitch McConnell learned the hard way. “When you strike at a king, you must kill him.”
It’s easy to see DeSantis beating Trump in primaries. It’s easy to see the smarmy, sweaty DeSantis fist-pumping as he clears 40% of the vote in New Hampshire.
What’s harder to see is how he ever hopes to win a general election if he has taken a strike at the king, but not killed him. Try winning the Presidency if one-third of Republicans don’t bother to show up at the polls. Try winning the Presidency if Donald Trump announces a third-party run.
And once you’ve really thought all that through, try to strut like a stud when you suddenly realize that it might not be such a good idea to challenge Trump in 2024 after all. Wait until the “all clear” sign flashes in 2028.
Enjoy your moment in the Florida Sunshine, Ron. You like to say that Florida is where "woke" goes to die… and maybe Florida is where your dreams die, too.
7. Barr the Door! I have a reputation to salvage!
Oh, the House January 6 Committee! Let the hypocrisy games begin!
Let’s start with a special achievement in the “Law of Unintended Consequences” category for Kevin McCarthy, who made the stupendous blunder of pulling all Trump loyalists off the January 6 committee. Absent any opposition, the Committee steamrolled through a blistering series of punishing public prosecutions of the Trump administration.
There were delicious soupçons of breathtaking idiocy, like when General Michael Flynn pled the Fifth rather than answer questions about whether the January 6 violence was justified, and whether he believed in the peaceful transfer of Presidential power.
But by far the greatest performance was by Bill Barr, who dazzled in the role of a man who realized that his service as Trump’s Attorney General had infused his reputation with the pungent and permanent stench of gas passed. Bill Barr was Donald Trump’s long-sought Roy Cohn, nothing more nor less than a dirty lawyer who used his position as Attorney General to torpedo Robert Mueller’s special prosecutor report in the first Trump impeachment, who initiated and fanned the fruitless Special Counsel investigation by John Durham that sought to undermine the Mueller report, and who said nothing in public as he witnessed the Trump White House make plans to overturn the 2020 Presidential election.
Ah, but in the House hearings, Bill Barr suddenly had the chance to say out loud all the brave stuff that he was too frightened to say when we really needed to know it. And he made the most of it, peppering his testimony with all the salty language that he supposedly told Trump about the Administration’s desperate efforts to claim election fraud.
Perhaps of all the people in the parade of charlatans, grifters, and low-lifes involved in Donald Trump's desperate efforts to retain power, Bill Barr is the man most self-aware of his corruption. He is a smart man and a knowledgeable attorney. That means that Barr – unlike stooges and 30-watt posers like Eric Trump or Louis Gohmert – knew and understood his deceit, his efforts to mislead, and his failure to tell the American people what they needed to know.
Give Bill Barr his statuette and let’s move on before the stench overwhelms us.
8. There’s Inflation, Ukraine, Global Warming, Daily Mass Shootings, an Immigration Crisis, Out-of-Control Police Violence, and Rampant Disinformaton on Social Media. But First, We Have to Investigate Hunter Biden!
There is an essential, defining hypocrisy of the modern G.O.P.: it is a political party that actually has very little interest in governing. It is as if the Chicago Bears decided to spend all day crocheting, or the Radio City Rockettes announced that they were shifting their focus to insuring municipal bonds. Republicans do not appear to want to do the one thing that they are in existence to do.
Few noticed that the Republican Party did not even bother to try to write a platform for their 2020 Convention. They literally could not figure out what the Party stood for, other than what Donald Trump said five minutes before.
Republicans claim to be concerned about immigration, but it has been years since they made the slightest attempt to formulate legislation toward that end. Republicans claim to care about financial stewardship, but implement reckless tax policy that just keeps repeating failed “trickle down” theories, balloons the national debt, and widens the wealth and income gaps that strangle our economy. Republicans once were the party of military hawks, stalwart advocates for America’s role as the world’s policeman… but now right wing Republicans want to cut off funding for Ukraine and roll over for Putin.
With mountains of challenges at every turn, what is the first thing the new Republican House majority focused on?
Hearings about Hunter Biden.
Let’s give a statuette to the party of “no.” No ideas. No principles. No mission. No philosophy of governance.
9. Maybe Donald Trump Can’t Win, But He Sure Can Destroy.
Notice a theme running through our awards, folks? Like, who nominated the two hypocritical Judges who misled Congress and gave the Republicans the votes needed to overturn Roe? Who pushed to have Hershel Walker nominated for the U.S. Senate? Who forced Kevin McCarthy to his knees? Who played Mitch McConnell like a fiddle? Who would rather destroy Ron DeSantis than let someone else win the Party’s nomination? Who was Lindsey Graham helping in Georgia? Who demanded that Bill Barr bend the law for his purposes?
Donald Trump’s power to lead the Republican Party may be fading, but his ability to destroy it has a radioactive toxicity that will endure. Trump – the man who literally cannot bear the crippling psychological cataclysm of admitting that he is a loser – will not be able to accept being rejected by the party in favor of Ron DeSantis, let alone DeSantis winning the Presidency after Trump’s failure to do so in 2020.
Donald Trump’s hypocrisy is on the epic scale of Greek tragedy: he who claims to lead the Republican Party will be he who seeks to destroy it. Stay tuned. If the Republicans don’t nominate Trump in 2024, he will announce a Third Party bid, sapping DeSantis of the votes he would need to beat Biden.
10. And now, Our Grand Grahammy goes to -- the Man who Came Out of Nowhere to Steal our Show (and a Seat in Congress!) -- the Incomparable George Santos!!
It’s shocking to realize that just a few short weeks ago, the BTRTN judges were in heated debate about who should win our Grand Grahammy as the biggest Republican Hypocrite of the Year.
And then – George Santos exploded on our hypocrisy radar full-borne, an apotheosis of all the phoniness, deceit, deception, and corrupt self-aggrandizement of the modern Republican Party in one pudgy, smarmy, oily nerd native of Queens.
He’s a Goldman Sachs banker! A Citigroup star! A founder of a charity that funds medical care for service dogs of wounded veterans! A volleyball hero! The son of a victim of 9/11! A self-made moneyed man, just a generation away from Holocaust survivors!
Uh, no. He is, in fact, none of that.
George Santos is nothing more nor less than the logical endpoint for a party that has no policy, no beliefs, no moral center… a political party with only one motivating and organizing idea: to attain and retain power by any possible means. Given its bankruptcy in genuine charisma and authentic moral leadership, this party defaults to ruthlessly grasping for power by lying, cheating, dividing, and blaming. It is a party that weaponizes the language of deceit to demonize minorities, women, and immigrants. It is a party dominated by a man who told 30,573 false or misleading statements while serving as President of the United States.
George Santos is actually not a phony. He is the genuine, pure breed Republican of the 21st Century. Program a computer to fabricate the quintessential contemporary Republican, and out pops George Santos, an utter figment of the imagination, all artificial and no intelligence.
George Santos has repeatedly been told that he should resign, most pointedly by the leaders of the Republican Party in the district he now represents. He refused, citing the will of “142,000 voters who voted for me," breezily ignoring the fact that those 142,000 had – and still have – no idea who he really is.
We conclude our program by inviting George Santos to the stage to accept the Grand Lindsey Grahammy for the Most Egregious Hypocrisy of the past year.
What’s that, George? You say you are honored and will put this award on the mantle next to your two Oscars, your Emmy, your Peabody, Pulitzer, and Nobel Prizes? Of course.
There you have it! And so we wrap up another year of Republican hypocrisy. How bad have things gotten for this political party? Perennial hypocrisy superstars didn’t even get nominations! No Josh Hawley – who famously fist-pumped insurrectionists before sprinting out their path like a terrified kitten. No Ted Cruz – who headed off for a vacation in Cancun while his Texas constituents suffered a massive, freezing power outage. We didn’t even mention Mark Meadows, Ron Johnson, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan… there just isn’t enough time in our broadcast to name all the deserving hypocrites.
Good night, everybody! Let’s end with the only thing that you can be certain of in today’s Republican party – we will all be back here again next year with all-new examples of Republican hypocrisy.
And, once again, it is sure to get worse.
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