To everyone’s horror, this weekend's big news revolved around video of Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert and her date vaping, taking flash photos, and groping each other in public during a performance of “Beetlejuice The Musical.” She got booted from a Denver theater for that, then ended up lying her ass off about it before she realized there was video, then shoved out a half-assed apology after the video was released and it showed much, much more than any of the rest of us wanted to see.
It’s no surprise that her colleagues on the right have responded with radio silence. In recent years, Republicans have honed an intentional strategy of “whataboutism” whenever one of their own gets caught in a scandal that would have political leaders calling for someone's resignation back when we all pretended politicians had a shred of decency. It's rote.
Russia boosted Trump's 2016 election with a bit of strategic hack-and-dump; Rudy Giuliani comes back with a new theory that Russia's enemy Ukraine was behind it all. Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner scores $2 billion in "investments" from Saudi royals immediately after departing the White House; suddenly House lawmakers are frothing with impeachment-level rage over the thought that President Joe Biden's son might have gotten a board position years ago based more on his name than his qualifications. Some Republican gets caught in a sex scandal, and that's enough for another two weeks of every other Republican in politics calling some other subset of Americans "groomers."
I'm not one who has much patience for "this thing is meant to be a distraction from that other news" claims, but a new Republican outrage at somebody not following The Esteemed Senate Dress Code came on conspicuously close to the weekend's video-assisted news of Boebert getting tossed from a theater for acts of public indecency that she would likely be prosecuted for if she wasn't a state big shot.
That's right: The latest Republican push is expressing public horror over a Democrat not meeting Senate dress code standards. Engaging in mammalian rutting behavior while the adults and children around you are trying to enjoy a high-priced musical production might count as a bit uncouth, in the same way that ransacking the Capitol might count as an ordinary tourist visit in Republican minds. But the sheer indecency of not following the dress code? Well, I never.
Axios reported that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has told the Senate’s sergeant-at-arms not to enforce the dress code anymore. This led to thinly veiled as well as direct jabs at Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman, who is known to favor hoodies and gym shorts. The Pennsylvania senator was not particularly in the mood to take etiquette lessons from the House Revenge Porn Caucus.
Yeah, this is the thing that will bring America down: not wearing formal attire when you're gleefully showing off stolen pictures of the president's son's penis on C-SPAN. Or wearing sweats when you're getting publicly mauled by your date in a manner that would get you fired as a strip club lap dancer, just after vaping in a pregnant woman's face, rather than wearing something classy.
This is the hill Republicans will die on rather than comment on the video that just 10 years ago would have resulted in the immediate resignation of any politician anywhere. Pay no attention to the humping couple in the theater: This guy over here doesn't have his tie on!
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What do you do if you're associated with one of the biggest election fraud scandals in recent memory? If you're Republican Mark Harris, you try running for office again! On this week's episode of "The Downballot," we revisit the absolutely wild story of Harris' 2018 campaign for Congress, when one of his consultants orchestrated a conspiracy to illegally collect blank absentee ballots from voters and then had his team fill them out before "casting" them. Officials wound up tossing the results of this almost-stolen election, but now Harris is back with a new bid for the House—and he won't shut up about his last race, even blaming Democrats for the debacle.