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A modest proposal

William S. Klein: The Liar's Caucus, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the big lie


(Overheard in a Congressional backroom sometime in the near future.)

Rep. George Santos: I want to welcome my colleagues to this inaugural meeting of the Liar’s Caucus. There are hundreds and hundreds of congressional caucuses representing common interests from beef to biofuels, but today we can finally shed the stigma liars have suffered and come out from the shadows. The distinction between whether something is literally “true” or whether it just ought to be true doesn’t matter to our voters and it shouldn’t matter to us. The Liar’s Caucus is a safe place where we can be our inauthentic selves. The Chair recognizes Rep. Jordan of Ohio.

Rep. Jim Jordan: Mr. Chairman, thank you for your leadership and vision in creating the Liar’s Caucus. You know, my choice to lie about what I knew about a university doctor’s sexual abuse of student athletes when I was an Ohio State wrestling coach was my choice, no one else’s. The liberal elite can’t take away my right to lie — that’s just the kind of woke wokey wokism they love. I’ll lie if I want to — so what?

Sen. Marco Rubio: I like that. “I’ll lie if I want to—so what?” I wish I’d thought of that when I got all those headlines about what I said about my parents fleeing Castro’s Cuba.

Sen. Josh Hawley: Let’s make that our slogan. Can we have a slogan? Something to put on T-shirts and bumper stickers?

Rep. Lauren Boebert: Or a cheer. Something to shout at football games. That would be great. Let’s try it.

All: “I’ll lie if I want to — so what!”

Rep. Boebert: Again! Keep going!

All: “I’ll lie if I want to — so what! I’ll lie if I want to — so what! I’ll lie if I want to — so what!”

Rep. Santos: Let’s move on. I started this caucus because, like all of you, I have long relied on lying, exaggeration and invention to disguise my incompetence and inexperience, but until this campaign my sights were too low. But when I turned the volume of lies up to 11, I saw a tissue of lies weave into a heavy blanket of deception. Now, the sky’s the limit. Our enemies call it the “big lie.” Of course it is — because we aim high. And we achieve great results, as Speaker Marjorie Taylor Greene reminds us in our daily two-minute unity sessions.

All: Hail our glorious leader!

Rep. Santos: Hail, hail. You may be seated. Now, back to the Big Lie. I think we can all agree that a lie is only bad politics when it stops working. And even after that, you can still get sworn in as a member of Congress, thank you very much. But our right to lie is still under attack. That’s why we need to make the big lie something to be proud of. The bigger the lie, the better, I say. Just look at me: I got away with so many lies that people even believe I was born in the U.S. — sorry, forget I said that.

Rep. Matt Gaetz: Consider it forgotten. Hey, maybe that’s something else we can work on. Why don’t we declare an amnesty for things we’ve all said that aren’t exactly accurate, like the ages of people we dated and what substances might or might not have been used on those dates? Just for example.

Rep. Scott Perry: How many credits do each of us get? I’ve already made this list for my lawyer, and it’s long.

Louie Gohmert: “If you’re a Republican, you can’t even lie to Congress or lie to an FBI agent or they’re coming after you.” (Actual quote from a June 2022 interview.)

Rep. Santos: What? He isn’t? Are you sure? Umm, Mr. Gohmert, it’s been brought to my attention that you’re no longer a member of Congress. You shouldn’t be here — but can I ask how you made it past security? I might need to know that soon.

(Meeting dissolves into chaos.)

William S. Klein is a political consultant who has worked with campaigns at the local, state and national level since the 1980s. He lives in Canaan, N.Y.

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