A Perfect Candidate For The Fact-Free Party

I haven’t commented on the increasingly bizarre stories that continue to emerge about George Santos, the Republican candidate who won a Congressional race in New York, and was later “outed” as a serial liar–or, as several articles like to label him, a “fabulist.”

Initially, I ignored the story. After all, the media was all over it and it was unlikely that anyone who follows political news would be unaware of it. But a recent recap in the New York Times yesterday– just before Santos was scheduled to be sworn in– made me realize that Santos is the candidate who really epitomizes the current state of the once Grand Old Party.

On the off-chance that readers are unaware of the extent of Santos’ fraudulent biography, I’ll share part of the Times’ very abbreviated description:

Mr. Santos has said that he grew up in a basement apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens. Until Wednesday, Mr. Santos’s campaign biography said that his mother, Fatima Devolder, worked her way up to become “the first female executive at a major financial institution.” He has also said that she was in the South Tower of the World Trade Center during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and that she died “a few years later.”

In fact, Ms. Devolder died in 2016, and a Brazilian community newspaper at the time described her as a cook. Mr. Santos’s friends and former roommates recalled her as a hardworking, friendly woman who spoke only Portuguese and made her living cleaning homes and selling food. None of those interviewed by The Times could recall any instance of her working in finance, and several chalked the story up to Mr. Santos’s tendency for mythmaking.

His apparent fabrications about his own life begin with his claims about his high school. He said he attended Horace Mann School, a prestigious private institution in the Bronx, and said he dropped out in 2006 before graduating and earning an equivalency diploma. A spokesman for Horace Mann said that the school had no record of his attending at all.

There is much, much more: his claim to be Jewish and a descendant of Holocaust survivors, an attendee of universities that have no record of his ever being a student, an employee of firms that never heard of him…it goes on. He is evidently still wanted by the police in Brazil, where he admitted to stealing checks from an elderly man.

The extent of his fabrications was uncovered by the Times after the election, which raises all sorts of questions about the failures of both opposition research and the media covering the race. (A tiny Long Island paper, The North Shore Leader, had raised timely questions about his claims, but was ignored.)

Whatever lessons we may want to draw from those failures is one thing. More to the point, what  the revelations really do is shine a bright and unforgiving light on the increasing disaster that is today’s GOP.

Kevin McCarthy has refused to comment on Santos’ deceptions, because he desperately needs the new Congressman’s vote for Speaker of the House–a vote he has thus far been unable to secure despite prostrating himself to the lunatic caucus. There’s a down-and-dirty fight for the position of Chair of the RNC–a fight featuring arguments over who has the most fidelity to Trump, and “serious “candidates like The Pillow Guy.

Santos’ campaign evidently focused heavily on his presumed (invented) bona fides–a perfect representation of the current Republican Party, which has abandoned even the pretense of policy advocacy in favor of a full-blown dependence upon identity politics.

I know that very few voters actually read the party platforms that have routinely been produced by the parties until now, but the significance of the Republicans’ refusal to even bother creating one is obvious. Today’s GOP relies for support on two groups: rich people who don’t want to pay taxes, and White Christian Nationalists frantic not to be “replaced” by Jews and/or people of color. Its subservience to both doesn’t need to be spelled out in a platform.

Really, when you think about it, Santos is a perfect representation of today’s GOP–a party devoted to the Big Lie(s) perpetrated by a more successful con man. Like Trump, Santos won an election by pretending to be something he isn’t–in Trump’s case, a successful businessman–and has evidently used campaign dollars to enrich himself.

It remains to be seen whether Congress will be stuck with this character for the entirety of his two-year term, or whether he’ll be forced out. Either way, I think it’s safe to say that the next two years will feature the inevitable implosion of the current iteration of the Republican Party.

Pass the popcorn.


  1. And now the crazies control the house. This is going to be an awful shit show. They may do a lot of damage.

  2. This morning’s Morning Joe broadcast mentioned that McCarthy has already moved into the Speaker’s office even before the Republican idiots in the House vote on that position. By no means is McCarthy’s election assured. Typical. To your points, Sheila, McCarthy simply isn’t very smart. He is fundamentally corrupt.

    Santos is simply another example of how short the bench of candidates is for Republicans. Guys like Santos have to look up to see the bottom of the barrel. Identity politics? Well, who with more than a couple of neurons would identify with this loser/liar/cheat and pick him to represent them in Congress? Oh. Wait. We’ve had this discussion before. The answer is the same Republican voters who think Trump is their savior.

    Never mind.

  3. Perhaps, like Trump, he thinks being in public office will shield him from prosecution for his crime(s).
    We hare at the stage (how long have we been here?) where many people will vote for the R or the D, candidate be damned. And the really sad part is, they don’t even know what the “R’s” or the “D’s” stand for.

  4. it is my understanding that to run for any political office there are specific requirements which must be met to qualify. Are the requirements the same for all parties or do each party decide what standards must be met to be nominated? In the list, or lists, of qualifying requirements does it contain being an inveterate liar? That appears to be the top requirement for the GOP party at this time. The facts of Santos’ background had to be available to anyone who cared to investigate him, or those who knew him to speak out; that includes both parties and the media, why are we just now learning the Republicans have added “A Perfect Candidate For the Fact-Free Party”? Was everyone so distracted by “The Don” and his family, who operate at the Corleone Family level, that they missed Santos coming out of his rabbit hole to win a seat in the House? Lying is epidemic within the GOP; like the snake-oil salesmen and women that they have become, they tell the people what they want to hear to maintain donations and voters.

    “Really, when you think about it, Santos is a perfect representation of today’s GOP…” Can the endless reports on all aspects of his life and his GOP campaign get him ousted before the end of his two-year term or is he another “rising star” like Gaetz and Taylor-Greene?

  5. It would be nice if there was the same amount of scrutiny given to Indiana’s own “George Santos”, Diego Morales.

  6. Fortunately, it appears that the GOP is going to destroy itself before it destroys our democracy.

  7. The head of a Jewish (Republican leaning) organization was repulsed by Santos’ lies, but not enough to ask him to resign. Santos should be a “placeholder” for 2 years, until the voters could elect a proper Republican representative. In other words, better to have a do-nothing liar, whose votes they can count on, than a possible Democrat who could actually serve the NY constituents.
    Tangentially related, what happened to the idea of Democrats nominating Liz Cheney for Speaker. They’d only need a handful of Republicans to make that happen. It sure would be the death knell of the MAGAt party.

  8. Santos has been as fun to watch as Elon Musk, the first oligarch of record to lose $200 billion. Elon has significant contracts with the establishment while now being an anti-establishment crusader.

    Any self-respective con man would resign his post after his con was revealed, but I doubt this happens with Santos. He is another serial liar who makes himself a perfect congressman, whether Democrat or Republican. Lying is a prerequisite.

    As Professor Jeffrey Sachs frequently mentions, “There seem to be a lot of sociopaths in Washington.”

  9. When our country’s founding fathers chose the requirements necessary to serve as a member of Congress they omitted what should be the most important attribute – proof of ethical behavior that includes no record of lying and/or past criminal activity. Of course, the same should be required for supreme court nominees.

    The members of congress and state legislatures have become even more adept at being the foxes watching the henhouses during the past forty years. Thanks Newt!

  10. I look at Santos and see a sociopath with delusions; in other words, the man is seriously mentally ill.

  11. Nancy, if those were the qualifications nobody would qualify to run for Congress. I’m just glad that most of the media and the people who speak about it are calling him a liar and his statements lies, not misinformation. It’s a big step forward IMHO.

  12. the rightwing as awhole either staunch or bypass trumper depend on this elect anyone at any cost folly. seems its a fact, they know their voters are ignorant,and do not,study issues or the canidate. now point the finger(any one or all five),the republican party is laughing at its own voter. lets see them elect trump again while their at it.
    if the republicans can not or will not shun the ignorant,liar,scamer,pedo,or walkers then we will only gain a ignorant congress.but
    the problem isnt the ignorant,its the seasoned republican in congress who wield the power telling the ignorant sign here and shut up.just like they are doing to their voting blocks. it is a authoritarian design,and its already in public view.. reality sucks, but this game of thrones on the republican side is very close to a authoritarian regime.
    santos is elected ignorance and proves the system works to elect for the ignorant.
    joe goebels ,read his 25 quotes, @ azquotes, seems his policy is in full swing in our media and word of mouth,and the republican party..

  13. James Todd – I think Diego Morales did actually get quite a bit of scrutiny. The Star and a number of other places ran stories all about his problems before the election. The majority of Indiana voters decided they preferred someone with Morales’ problems. So… you know. Not a great sign.

  14. Peggy: congressional decorum denies the right to critcize its own ilk. so unless the press privleged few who get to DC want to end their career wont say liar, and that makes them ineffective. again,a ineffective press telling us how to think aagain and again.
    Cronkite dumped on Johnson about the reality of Vietnam, and its outcome,that was the last great hurrah for news journalism.. johnson would not run again because of that..

  15. I’ve been following this in the NYTimes since the news broke. The extent of the fabrications are truly breathtaking. There is even questions if he is even actually gay. He is a serial liar. I think what is going to take him down is violations of campaign finance laws.

    In typical Republican fashion, the quest for power over what is good for constituents has put Keven McCarthy in a position where he won’t say anything. That right there should disqualify him as Speaker of the House, but I guess not with Republicans in charge. Speaking of, election of the Speaker of the House is going to be interesting this year. Did you know that that position does not even need to be a member of congress.

  16. Theresa — A sociopath is not by definition mentally ill. They know what they are doing is wrong and they just don’t care. They have no ability to consider the needs of others (like DJT and Santos). I don’t think Santos is delusional — he’s just an boldface liar and he doesn’t give a rip.
    Sociopaths fall under the classification of Cluster B (DSM V) personality disorders: Antisocial Personality Disorder (e.g. hit men, mob bosses, Ted Bundy, etc.), Histrionic Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder to name a few. The thing with Personality Disorders is that they are rarely curable because the people who have these disorders NEVER recognize they have a problem. They are great at blaming.

    On the other hand, seriously delusional people might have images of being watched by the CIA or think that they have the power to influence the government just by thinking about it. These people suffer from Schizophrenia, paranoia, depression with psychosis, etc. (For an excellent read on this topic, I suggest: Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker, the true story of a modern day family with 7 schizophrenic sons. This portrays “seriously mentally ill” people.) When they are not caught up in their delusions, they know they are ill.

    As a former licensed mental health counselor I think these distinctions are important to remind the readers about. While I try to have compassion for everyone, sociopaths are more difficult to for me to feel empathy.

  17. I believe he has committed Voter Fraud,
    If a person lies to get a chance to vote it’s Voter Fraud , it should be equally fraudulent for a Candadate that lies to get a vote.
    That would have the potential to convict lots of politicians, however in this case the way in witch he went about committing this fraud is exceptional by getting trusting voters to cast their votes for a massive lier should be illegal.

  18. I BELIEVE; he has committed Voter Fraud,
    If a person lies to get a chance to vote it’s Voter Fraud , it should be equally fraudulent for a Candadate that lies to get a vote.
    That would have the potential to convict lots of politicians, however in this case the way in witch he went about committing this fraud is exceptional by getting trusting voters to cast their votes for a massive lier should be illegal.

  19. This is the Republicans Problem! They did not vet this guy Santos! How is that the democrats problem? This should not be allowed.

    The last job I had I worked for a global manufacturer that ran a background check on my resume before they hired me permanently after a temporary assignment. A colleague of mine Lied on her resume and was fired the day the background report came back. I got hired because you don’t lie on your resume.

    Santos should have never been allowed to run the campaign! This is not Right! Why is he being seated? Why hasn’t 45 been arrested yet? What are they waiting for? What is happening?

  20. Re: the failures of the media covering the race, I am now a supporter of Indiana Capital Chronicle and am encouraging my friends to join me. Thanks, Sheila, for introducing me to it.

  21. This clown, oh, there are so many of them, is a perfect fit for the GOP, opersting on those (in)famous “Alternative
    facts,” that Sean Spencer, Sarah Huckabee and TFG so love.
    In recent memory, we have had several top GOPIGGIES, try to enforce their altenate versions of reality on us:
    GWB and his list of words that gov’t people could not speak, or write, TFG doing the same, and DeSantos’s
    “Don’t say gay” idiocy. I may have left some out.
    Understand that would-be totalitarian demagogues work intensely to spread their own doctored version of truth,
    in their case setting up what they hope to create once in power, and TFG, who lies as he breathes, is only a little bit
    ahead of Santos.
    If the GOP should ever find themselves in any kind of real power, again, expect them to slip Santos into a judgeship.

  22. Ray I — excellent point!
    Aging Girl — right! the “little people” in this world don’t get away with lying on resumes, etc. (nor should they).
    However, it would appear that governmental high-profile elected officials can clearly get away with all sorts of nefarious deeds – lying under oath, ignoring subpoenas, lying, serious lack of ethics (SCOTUS), making up rules as you go along (McConnell’s rules of SCOTUS nominations), lying to the public about EVERYTHING!! (see DJT), lying, and more lying, etc.
    When I was a child, there were severe consequences for lying. Not to mention Commandment 8 (or 9, depending) about not bearing false witness.

    But, oh wait, now it’s “alternative” facts.

    Hello, 1984!!

  23. The most intriguing question — and the one that could lead to criminal liability — entangled in Santos’ mass fabrications is how he managed to go from being evicted from apartments and owing landlords and other creditors thousands of dollars just a few years ago to being able to loan his 2022 campaign over $700,000 (some of which he apparently used to pay his rent). An utterly amazing turn of financial fortunes falling into the realm of “too good to be true” — to have been done legally and the up and up.

  24. A few minutes ago I received an E-mail from Mike Braun thanking me for my letter seeking his help preserving my Medicare. Below his E-mail was an E-mail from my address; glowing terms about how “thrilled I am” with his help preserving my Medicare. I have NEVER sent Braun an E-mail till my response that I did NOT sent the letter and to remove my name from his mailing list. The terminology is not my style, he is nowhere in my Address Book, my Sent box nor is there an E-mail from me to him on the date “my” E-mail at the bottom of his was sent. How can this happen? Finding no listing for Braun anywhere in my E-mail listings I can’t Unsubscribe him. Is this a new form of Republican lies to add names of voters to their mailing lists?

  25. Sandy I wish that were true. However I believe the Repugs will destroy the US and the GOP at the very same time. We’ll end up with a democracy in name only with one party rule. The Fascist party named the Republican Party.

  26. The NYTimes did cover how this guy slipped by. The article was never able to get a statement from the Republican side, but on the Democratic side, there was a background check done by a low level person that did raise some questions, but without spending a lot of money to hire a deceptive or running a back ground check (expensive to do if you don’t have the cooperation of the person being check) none of these things rose to level of a red flag warning. Sheila has mentioned this before, but with the demise of local papers, there are very few local journalists doing this type of work. It was not until after this guy got elected that people that knew him called up the NYTimes to tell what they knew about this fraudster.

    I suspect on the Republican side, somebody knew exactly what they were doing and manufactured a persona of a most electable guy and then found some stooge that was willing to front that lie.

    Like a few other people have commented, I think this guy is going to be tied up with campaign finance issues until charges stick. It already looks like he used $11,000 of champaign money to pay his rent which is blatantly illegal.

  27. I love the term “lunatic caucus.” So much more on point than “extreme conservative” for that portion of the GOP.

  28. Mr. Santos of course is an even worse prima than Donnie. He feels no shame for any lie, no benefit from any truth. Is he a typical Republican? No. Does he stand out among Republicans? No. Now we are apparently stuck with him for a couple of years. He has no reason to change over that time because he’s been successful so far.

    What will happen to his relationship with party members after his vote is no longer needed to determine who will be House Majority Leader? Will he be ostracized in any way?

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