One of the reasons that was repeatedly given for the Republicans’ poor showing in the midterm elections was candidate quality. The irony is that the worst candidate was a person who won his election. I can spend a whole column exposing all the lies that George Santos promulgated about his background. There have been so many, it would not shock people that George Santos is not his real name. He has already used two aliases. Now his financial dealings are being investigated. On the face, his financial situation reeks of impropriety. How did someone who was earning $55,000 a year two years ago with no assets become able to loan his campaign $750,000? If he was someone who was not a pathological liar, then maybe you could believe that it was due to business acumen. Although there are calls for him to resign before being seated, I doubt it will happen. Kevin McCarthy needs his vote to become speaker. That is why McCarthy is silent while the exposure of Santos’ lies has occurred. By the time this article is published, there will be a speaker chosen. It was surprising that Tulsi Gabbard, while substituting for Tucker Carlson, destroyed Santos when she interviewed him. Carlson probably would have made Santos into a victim of media hysteria or said that he was no worse than the president.
I would be shocked if Santos lasts his whole term. It is possible that his case will be referred to the House of Representatives Ethics Committee, which could lead to expulsion from the House by his colleagues. I doubt that the Republican Party would want to take the risk of losing a seat. It is more likely that Santos will be charged with a crime and then resign.
It hard to fathom how Santos was able to get away with his lies for so long. It is an embarrassment for both parties. The Republican Party should have done a better job of vetting. Moreover, the Democratic Party, with minimal effort checking his background, would have discovered the false claims by Santos. I heard Steve Israel, who used to be a House member for part of the district, blame the media, and claim that few people thought that Santos had a chance. That is nonsense. Santos won by eight percentage points. The media is an easy target to blame when you want to deflect from your own incompetence. The Democratic Party machine in New York State messed this up big time and they should admit the obvious.
Another blunder by the New York Democrats is relating to the appointment of a new chief judge. As I had previously mentioned, Republicans did very well in New York State picking up seats in Congress and in the state legislature. It was a repudiation of the excesses by a progressive legislature. Judge Hector LaSalle, the Presiding Judge of the Appellate Division Second Department, was nominated for Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals by Governor Hochul. Although the Second Department is geographically a small part of the state, it is the busiest appellate court in the country. Since Judge LaSalle became presiding justice, he has done a masterful job in running the court. His administrative experience is one good reason why he would be a good chief judge. I have also argued appeals when he was on the panel. He always has been courteous to counsel and has asked thoughtful questions. He would also be the first person of Latino descent to be chief judge of Court of Appeals
On paper, he should be a shoo-in for the position. However, his nomination is in trouble because the progressives do not like that he had worked for the District Attorney’s office and some of the rulings the panel he was on made. Although I do agree that it would be good to have more judges coming from the defense bar, the fact that someone worked for the District Attorney’s office should not be a reason to disqualify them from being chief judge. Secondly, judges should be selected because of their ability and not because of whether we like their rulings. No one likes to lose. However, if you are going to lose, it should be based on a serious analysis of legal principals and not result orientated. If you believe that Judge LaSalle is one of those judges, then it should not matter that he may have ruled against you or your position in a particular case.
Not only is it a bad idea to oppose Judge LaSalle’s nomination on the merits, it politically foolish. It alienates moderate Democrats and Independents. It also will upset many Hispanics that the Democratic Party is opposing one of their own.
If the Republican Party was smart, they should signal that they will support the nomination. This way he will get in. The Republican Party would look good, and it will hurt the power of the progressives. Also, if the Republicans don’t support the nomination and the governor is forced to withdraw it, it is likely the next candidate will be more progressive.
It may be a new calendar year, but little seems to change. Will they learn from their mistakes?