Best of ’22: Costanza Politics Goes To The Polls

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  Much like many other daily media efforts during this time of year, we’re reprising “best of” from the soon-to-be ending year (and not a minute too soon, may I add).  Each day, we will attempt to connect something that just occurred or may happen in the world now with something we previously mused on.

We sometimes never learn.

As the George Santos scandal blew up this week when it was learned the newly elected Republican congressman-in-waiting for a district partially contained in  Queens that is geographically a reciprocal to the area which Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez represents, it was an eerie reminder of the decsions we faced in August when a midterm version of Super Tuesday put the concept of how much gravitas voters are willing to give the truth was put to the test.

Many people who opinions once mattered to me insist that this space should never be devoted to politics or any thoughts I may have on them–this SHOULD be just a place where media is discussed in detail and with topics exclusively limited to a narrow scope of what I’ve done be the exclusive content.  I consented to that only when the possibility of what this person considered to be a shoo-in job opportunity loomed.  Much as this person was time and time again of late, they were dead wrong.  And I was categorically assured by that company’s HR head, in one of the few concessions of decency I’ve received during my endless search, that social media opinion absolutely played no role in it, so long as the company I was pursuing wasn’t mentioned.

After the news cycle of last night, where Santos was dressed down by the likes of Tulsi Gabbard in as unlikely a forum as FOX News thusly, I wonder if the honesty I showed with my temporarily reconstructed archive may have been not have been dishonest enough to be favorably impactful.  As Hannah Getahun of Yahoo! recounted:

On Tuesday night, former Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard put pressure on GOP Representative-elect George Santos about the lies he has been caught in over the past week.

“If I were one of those in New York’s third district right now, now that the election is over, and I’m finding out all of these lies that you’ve told — not just one little lie or one little embellishment, these are blatant lies,” Gabbard said to Santos on Fox News. “My question is, do you have no shame? Do you have no shame in the people who now you’re asking to trust you to go and be their voice for them, their families, and their kids in Washington?”

Santos responded by claiming that President Joe Biden was lying to the American people, and asked if Biden himself had any shame. He also said some of the claims that he lied about his employment history were “debatable” and that he would be willing to explain himself.

“It’s hard to imagine how they could possibly trust your explanations when you’re not really even willing to admit the depth of your deception to them,” Gabbard replied.

The exchange happened as Gabbard was filling in for Tucker Carlson, a man caught telling many lies before, on his nightly show, Tucker Carlson Tonight. Gabbard has also courted controversy: Earlier this year, she left the Democratic Party, and has, at times, aligned herself with far-right Republicans.

Santos, who was elected in New York’s third district as the first non-incumbent out gay Republican, has been mired in controversy after reports indicated that he fabricated details of his employment, higher education history, and finances, and lied about losing four employees during the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016.

And he GOT elected.  Because, it seems, he applied the Costanza rule to his campaign, as we observed on August 2, which, as ratings proved, was one of the most watched nights of content, news or entertainment, all summer (there’s my justification for covering it!):

When Jerry Seinfeld was trying to score with a hot female police sergeant who was skeptical about his claims that he was not one of the simpletons who obsessed over watching MELROSE PLACE, he sought the advice and counsel of his friend and experienced delusionist George Costanza.  Jerry’s object of desire challenged him to take a polygraph test to prove he indeed did not care about the antics of Michael, Amanda and Kimberley, and Jerry was both horny and desperate enough to ask his BFF for tips on how to beat the test.

In one of the series’ more inspired scenes, George, with the sagacity of Yoda, offered this parable:  “It’s Not A Lie If You Believe It”.

When all that was at stake was whether or not a cad like Jerry would get his night stick taken care of by a cop, it was funny.  Tonight, in five states holding key midterm primaties, this theory gets to put to the test with more significant stakes.

More than a dozen key races in Michigan, Arizona, Missouri, Washington and Kansas feature election deniers as candidates, many witn former president Trump’s personal endorsement.   In Arizona and Michigan, leading candidates for their respective governorships are females with media backgrounds–and scant actual political experience–and are poised to potentially win the Republican party nominations to lead their states, two which Trump has challenged the certified results of how they voted in the 2020 presidential election–states he lost.  Pledging loyalty to him is indeed one of the strongest claims that Kari Lake can make, aside from whether or not she was the reason her Phoenix TV station won a sweep period with the newscast she anchored.  Lake has mocked her opponent, Karrin Taylor  Robson, for refusing to endorse that viewpoint, claiming that “disqualifies” her as a viable candidate.  Lake is leading several polls, unfortunate but not unexpected in a state that had already supported an audit of the 2020 presidential race by the infamous Cyber Ninjas that took up most of last summer–at taxpayers’ expense.  So in a state where brains are already wilting in desert heat, the relentless badgering of Lake is inexplicably being seen by many as an oasis of believability.

It is a further attestment to both irony and gullability that Trump is throwing his support behind female journalists at a time when his legal team informed CNN of his intent to file a lawsuit charging them with repeated defamations of character since 2016.  As Yahoo! reported:

“I have notified CNN of my intent to file a lawsuit over their repeated defamatory statements against me,” Trump said in a statement. “I will also be commencing actions against other media outlets who have defamed me and defrauded the public regarding the overwhelming evidence of fraud throughout the 2020 Election. I will never stop fighting for the truth and for the future of our Country!”

The 282-page letter from Trump’s attorneys to CNN executives, dated July 21, calls for the network to retract or correct numerous on-air statements and published articles about Trump that the lawyers allege are false and defamatory.

The letter goes on to cite dozens of examples, many of which relate to the network’s coverage of Trump’s repeated claims that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent. CNN coverage frequently referred to those claims as “lies,” “false narratives” and “baseless theories,” among other terms.

The lawsuit alleges those descriptions are “false and defamatory,” in part because Trump genuinely believes his claims that the election was stolen.

“Without regard for President Trump’s genuine belief in his statements, CNN has published numerous articles characterizing him as a ‘liar’ and the purveyor of the ‘Big Lie,’” the letter to CNN states.

Yep.  A Lie Is Not A Lie If You Believe It.

And, upon reflection, I guess even I have been guilty of that practice, and in further irony, I was attempting to get people to believe slightly less in the appeal of the Costanza Defense.

You see, I shepherded a team of researchers who were devising selling strategies for reruns of AMERICA’S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS to local TV stations at the same time reruns of SEINFELD were in the marketplace.  For reasons that were both an endorsement of my team’s talents, as well as a way to stretch the size of an overmatched sales staff, my team was given the incentive to directly pitch executives in the smallest markets in the U.S., outposts like Anchorage, Alaska, Boise, Idaho and Jonesboro, Arkansas, among others.  In these cities, the degree of SEINFELD’s popularity was somewhat muted, and, motivated by the potential of bonus commissions, several members of my team were able to successfully convince executives in these hamlets that a far lesser viewed show had greater potential.

So we put forth our own, much lesss consequential version of a Big Lie.  And we succeeded.  So much so, in fact, that the bonuses my team earned were three and four times the estimates our bosses had budgeted for.  Mind you, these were the same leaders who had signed off on our chowing down on $175 orders of truffle-infused grains as “just a rice side dish” at the restaurant at the casino in Monte Carlo.  (I’ve told that story already).

All our “Big Lies” cost the United States were the employment of some otherwise nice but careless sales executives.  So I’ll hope you’ll give me a mulligan. (Oh, BTW, I personally didn’t make a dime extra from my team’s efforts; I was already considered to be too highly paid ; insert guffaw here).

Tonight, there’s far more dire consequences at stake.

God, I hope those voters aren’t SEINFELD fans.

I sure wonder how Tulsi Gabbart feels about SEINFELD.  Maybe at one time she did  I’ll wager a guess she’s more likely to binge LAST MAN STANDING these days.  But it’s likely whatever answer she gives, it probably won’t be fully truthful.  That’s what seems to work best these days, aside from being Jew-ish.

Until next time…

POSTSCRIPT:  We’re adding the following link with every repost through the end of the year because, well, you’ll see the reasons if you click on it.  If you like what you’ve read, and perhaps are inclined to do more catch up, I’d greatly appreciate your consideration of taking the requested action.

Fundraiser by Steven Leblang : Steve Leblang (

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