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Jon Stewart has it correct: Danger comes with absurdity

Breaking from NBC News: George Santos says his mom was in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Records show she wasn’t in the U.S. (She was in Rio de Janeiro at the time.) Santos’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

From Facebook . . .Jeff Beede: "He misspoke. Give the guy a break, he was the Pope after all." Thomas Molocea [reply to Jeff Beede]: "Was that before or after his time as the 5 th Beatle?"

So we have the mythical George Santos, low-hanging fruit to all who judge and the most savaged meme of late on social media.

In this Post-Truth Era, ushered in by Agent 45, Santos merely becomes Exhibit S. Where does it end when a self-distorting politico wannabe is duly elected a U.S. Representative – one of 435 chosen to represent you and me – and then, once exposed clothes-less like the emperor, is given a pass on his “fabrications” in the interest of majority party preservation? Lying has privileges. Ridding itself of a miscreant like Santos requires all of a super majority of two-thirds of House members present and voting. An NPR story reports it has happened only five times over history, including to remove Confederates after the Civil War. Problem is, it’s more embarrassing – and politically costly -- to the GOP to vote the New Yorker out than to keep him. That’s spineless and shameful governance, of course.

Santos – who alternately could be fined or censured -- has been aptly labeled a “serial liar.” He has lied about much of his background and resume and is the subject of investigations at the local, state and federal levels. His outrageous falsifying is not harmless is this age of truth decay.

“That’s the beauty of his lies, is you wouldn’t even think to check because it’s just so stupid,” the former Daily Show host said of Santos on his Apple podcast, The Problem with Jon Stewart, released Wednesday and reported on A week earlier, The Hill reported that Santos had told reporters, “I have done nothing unethical.”

In a recent interview with The New York Post, he apologized for certain pieces of his biography. “I’m embarrassed and sorry for having embellished my resume,” the Post quoted Santos. “I own up to that . . . we do stupid things in life.”

Several lawmakers have called for his resignation for his mistruths about his work history and education, including a degree claimed from Baruch College. Critics have raised questions about campaign finances, family history, and accusations he took money raised for a veteran’s dying dog as part of a fundraising campaign. Brazil is pursuing him for misdeeds there.

Stewart calculates Santos has navigated the thin ice of his scandal “because of how he looks. Everything about (Santos) screams of just mediocrity. He’s not obese. He’s not skinny. He’s everything in the middle.” But Stewart, a man of rare common sense, warns: “The thing we have to be careful of – and I always caution myself on this, and I ran into this trouble with (former President) Trump – is we cannot mistake absurdity for lack of danger.”

Perhaps like this danger: The House Republican Steering Committee, a day before Stewart’s remarks, recommended Santos sit on two House panels – the Small Business Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. He would seem absurdly unqualified for either

– and not to be accorded a speaking part by his colleagues.

“It takes people with no shame to do shameful things,” Stewart posited. “Absurdity is where the real danger always is.” Absurdity “always makes you think something is more benign than it is,” citing former Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi – at times dressed like Michael Jackson – as a prime example.

The Apple TV+ host added: “I misjudged Trump because he’s so ridiculous. And then you think about, well, the worst people in history have been ridiculous.”

We are in the worst of those times.

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