CSotD: It’s my party and I’ll lie if I want to

I’ve had enough cartoons about the speakership voting, but I did get a laugh out of RJ Matson’s commentary because he plays around with a kerfuffle over McCarthy having moved into the Speaker’s office before he held the position, and adds a bit of theatrical flair when the sign went up.

Matson’s depiction of the failed votes as botched signs is a good metaphor that turns excellent when he adds McCarthy’s joyous, triumphant attitude, which contrasts with cartoonists who have shown him battered and compromised at the end of the battle.

Chris Britt (Creators) also shows McCarthy in an incongruous spirit of celebration, but, unlike Matson, does not leave anything to the imagination, choosing instead to point out the debts to the Freedom Caucus that McCarthy ran up in gaining a leadership role in which he will not be permitted to lead.

Which leads us to a second topic I’m tired of: Jokes about George Santos. We’ve run out of fresh jokes and everything funny about it has been said and repeated and beaten into the ground.

The revelation of his bizarre dishonesty not only didn’t cause him to resign and slink away but also didn’t lead to his being rejected by the Republican Party. This isn’t surprising, given their willingness to promote Herschel Walker as a Senate candidate or their elevation of Marjorie Taylor Greene to a position of power.

Loyalty to party is valued above both honesty and intellect, and doubly so with the GOP’s slim majority in the House.

If Santos were to resign, it’s uncertain that the Republicans could win a special election, given how Santos lied to the constituents of that district, and it’s hardly likely that NY Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, would appoint a Republican to fill the vacant seat.

It’s not about honor. It’s not about ethics. It’s about power, and the GOP’s waffer-theen majority does not leave space for irrelevant factors.

In fact, the new rules in the House have included diminishing the power of the Congressional Ethics Committee, which Santos declared “a good thing for Americans.”

Meanwhile, the GOP has used its House majority in a quixotic attempt to defund the IRS, a move based on a blatant, transparent lie about the service’s funding increase which has been disproven again and again and again. (Need more? Knock yourself out.)

The nonsensical move won’t survive a Senate vote or a Presidential veto, while, if it succeeded, it would likely increase the deficit.

But who cares? It’s about performance, not achievement.

If facts mattered, if honesty and ethics had any place in government, if the country’s best interests were more important than party loyalty, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

Juxtaposition of the Day (Domestic Version)

(Clay Bennett — CTFP)

(Dave Whamond)

(Gary Varvel — Creators)

I’m not thrilled with Bennett’s cartoon, because I haven’t seen actual proof that Trump intended to break the law, and Whamond may be closer to the point: While in office, Trump showed either total ignorance of the law or a reckless disregard for it, destroying documents he was legally required to preserve.

That he purloined them is irrefutably true, however, and whether he did so maliciously or ignorantly or simply out of grotesque incompetence is legally irrelevant.

Whamond also provides some clarity to Varvel’s dubious accusation, because Merrick Garland ordered a Trump-appointed US Attorney to investigate Biden’s possession of material that, similarly, should have been turned over to the National Archives.

CNN not only reported on the vast difference between the two cases, but created this cheatsheet to boil it down, while CBS has posted an extensive explanation of Biden’s possession and return of documents.

Biden had some classified documents among a variety of papers stored in a locked, secure closet, which his staff discovered when shutting down the office where the materials had been. They immediately contacted the Archives and made arrangements to return the documents.

Trump had a far larger stash of classified materials in an unsecured location in his combination home and resort, and not only did he not notify the Archives, but, when they requested return of the documents, he refused to comply, forcing the Justice Department to seek and carry out a search warrant.

In other words, the reason the FBI raided Mar A Lago is because they had to. The reason they didn’t seize documents from Biden is because they didn’t have to.

Jennifer Rubin explains why the GOP would be smart not to get entangled in this false equivalency, which boils down to the fact that, if they accuse Biden, they can no longer excuse Trump.

But her argument relies on truth, ethics, honesty and common sense having a place in national politics.

As the attorneys say, a fact not in evidence.

Juxtaposition of the Day, International Division

(Kevin Siers)

(Ann Telnaes)

The assault on federal buildings in Brasilia by pro-Bolsonaro election deniers did, indeed, seem familiar, and apparently Steve Bannon and other Trump supporters were involved in advising Brazil’s ex-president, such that, if Trump’s fingerprints weren’t all over the attempted coup, they weren’t entirely off it, either.

Telnaes may be closer to the truth, however, given that Trump seems to have retreated into a somewhat pitiable degradation that Olivia Nuzzi documented in a breathtaking, must-read story for New York Magazine.

She reports that he not only resembles Norma Desmond, the washed-up, delusional movie star in Sunset Boulevard, but screens and enjoys the film without recognizing the irony.

However, if the Washington power brokers are not ready to give him another close-up, the former president of Brazil seems to have taken a leaf from his book.

Though what Bolsonaro apparently missed was that Trump staged his coup in order to retain, rather than to regain, power.

It’s advisable to pull this stuff while you’re still nominally in power, which explains why so many of Bolsonaro’s supporters wound up in handcuffs while so many of Trump’s wound up in Congress.

Historians Weep

(Matt Wuerker — Politico)

(Scott Stantis)

I appreciate Wuerker’s sentiment, but fear that Stantis may be closer to the mark, given our dubious history in countries south of the Rio Grande.

There is a significant difference between exporting democracy and importing bananas, and Chiquita managed to set a lot of our foreign policy.

Whether it’s official policy or not seems irrelevant.

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