Like many people who believe that lying on your resume ought to disqualify you for the job, I’ve been appalled at how serial prevaricator and newly elected Republican congressman George Santos hyped himself into office.
Almost every day, another invention in Santos’ past is unearthed. Apparently you can make this stuff up, and Santos went to imaginative lengths to create a fantasy portrait of himself. But he seemed not to be able to settle on one consistent biographical arc, embellishing in ways that should have led people to question whether anyone that young could have done so much so well in so many iterations of heritage, education and experience.
Santos’ venture to the outer limits of credulity has made him the current favorite joke of comedians, editorial cartoonists and social media wags, who are always looking for new fodder. Santos is like the proverbial lambchop being thrown in front of a wolf: Satirists have intimated that he was the first man on the moon, is Elvis Presley’s sole surviving child, invented all kinds of things, might have been the Pope for a while, and played with some of rock’s most famous bands. None of which he has denied.
So it got me thinking: What else might Santos have tucked away in the small print of his life story? What if …
Research ensued and sure enough, there it was, one line among hundreds in the back pages of his curriculum vitae: It turns out George Santos was for a time the publisher and editor of the Methow Valley News. Or so he asserts. Since even his real name is suspect (he has gone by a variety of aliases), it’s possible we don’t remember his tenure. I don’t recall anyone around here saying “I knew him when.”
He is little fuzzy on the Methow Valley years, so longtime residents may have to scour their memories to recall the Santos era of local community journalism. It would be difficult to forget the Pulitzer Prize he claims, but I can find no mention of it in our archives (nor in the Pulitzer listings). Too bad. I’d love to be able to proudly put it on our masthead. As far as I can sort out, that seminal journalistic accomplishment came after his Congressional Medal of Honor and before the Kennedy Center Lifetime Achievement Award, while he was undergoing astronaut training. It’s also possible he was another of our Nordic skiers in the Olympics.
It would be nice to share Methow Valley stories with George some time, although with all those important committee assignments I doubt there would be a slot for me on his schedule. Hey, I don’t want to be accused of making things up, but it’s possible Santos was responsible for the Methow Trails system, Sun Mountain Lodge and the completion of the North Cascades Scenic Highway, and if so he should get proper credit. Too bad he’s not around to help us with a new swimming pool.
I feel like such a slacker by comparison. Looking at my own meager record, I can see where it might have been possible to fudge a bit here and there. But I don’t have that much ambition, it seems, so the record will have to stand. I’m not brazen enough to claim being something I’m not. As Mark Twain said, it’s easier to tell the truth because then you don’t have to remember as much. Santos has a lot to remember.
If nothing else, I can reliably vouch for the past 11 ½ years. I’ve been here, toiling in the trenches of truth. Dull as hell, to be sure, but accurate. As they say, you can look it up.
As for George, perhaps we should underplay the “one of ours” angle given his shaky credulity. If epic grifting can be considered an American success story — do I even have to mention the most obvious example? — well, George Santos is headed for the hall of shame. These days, when the line between famous and infamous is blurred, there don’t seem to be many consequences for galactic scale misrepresentation and misappropriation. A few of Santos’ dwindling coterie of supporters have tried to argue that he hasn’t lied any more than some other political figures. Now there’s a standard to shoot for.