I detect Seth Lipsky’s characteristic prose and train of thought in the New York Sun editorial “Yes, Virginia–There Is a Santos Clause.” Seth’s hand in the editorial makes sense: he is the editor of the Sun.
The subject of the editorial is the post-election discovery that Rep.-elect George Santos is not who he said he was. The subhead summarizes the gist of the editorial: “All the falsehoods George Santos is accused of are small beer compared to the truth of his campaign — which is that the voters in his district decided to bring in a Republican to replace a Democrat.” Seth unveils the Santos clause toward the end of the editorial: “[Congress] can’t refuse to seat an elected candidate on the basis of lies he told — or even, for that matter, truths — or whether Brazil thinks he kited checks [as may be the case with Santos].”
It is interesting to see the hysteria whipped up by the media in response to the exposure of Santos’s fabrications. So far, he has only been exposed as a liar. As Seth argues, he will be in good company if and when he is able to take office, though I wouldn’t want to put much credence in his oath.
Seth’s editorial is a model of contrarian thinking and is even right as far as it goes, as contrarian thinking frequently is. Jim Geraghty compares and contrasts Santos with President Biden and raises the possibility of criminal wrongdoing on Santos’s part in his NRO column.
The hysteria reminds me of the media atmosphere around Ilhan Omar following our 2016 reporting on her interesting marital history and then current marriage to her brother rather than the man she held out as her husband and father of her children. At that time Omar was only on her way to election to the Minnesota state legislature, but we could see she was on her way to intergalactic superstar status. Indeed, that is the status the Star Tribune was according her when she knocked off 22-term incumbent Phyllis Kahn in the DFL primary. The media hysteria of August 2016 was instantly tamped down by the August 22, 2016 letter from United States Attorney Andrew Luger to a criminal defense attorney representing Omar stating that she was not under investigation by his office. I wrote about it in “The Luger letter in context.”
In the 2018 election cycle Omar was running to succeed Keith Ellison in Congress. Elected to Congress in 2006, Ellison has suppressed his active leadership of the Nation of Islam in the Twin Cities with almost laughable audacity. He demonstrably lied about it when we raised it in 2006. See my Weekly Standard article “Louis Farrakhan’s first congressman” and the companion Power Line post “Keith Ellison for dummies.” That’s the audacity. That’s the audacious part. If Twin Cities political reporters ever bothered to read his memoir, they would see that he simply omitted it while portraying himself as a critic of the NOI. That’s the laughable part.
Omar of course won election to Congress as Ellison’s successor in 2018. Three years after we had reported Omar’s interesting marital history, the Star Tribune took a serious look at the evidence in a 3,000-word story. Try as they might, reporters Patrick Coolican and Stephen Montemayor could not unearth a single fact suggesting that Omar was not married to her brother (from 2009-2017). All the evidence they found suggested that she was and, of course, the marriage would have been for dishonest purposes.
There is not much new under the sun in the way of misconduct by members of the House. With Omar we have something new under the sun.
I’m sure there are some deeper lessons to draw, but this is what occurs to me. It helps to be a Democrat, it helps to be a member of one or two preferred minority groups, and it helps to have the authorities on your side. Then you might be able to ride out the storm. That is my addendum to what Seth terms the Santos clause.
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