Sunday, March 14, 2021

BTRTN Presents The (Lindsey) Grahammy Awards: The Year's Best in Republican Hypocrisy

No doubt many of you will tune in to see The Grammy Awards tonight, but today is also the big day when Steve hosts our celebration of a stunning year of Republican Hypocrisy with our "Grahammy" Awards.


Good evening, ladies and gentleman! Live from Born To Run The, we are awarding our first ever Grahammy Awards, the coveted statuettes that symbolize the most epic moments in Republican hypocrisy in the past year.

The Grahammy Awards are named, of course, for South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a man who has sacrificed the tiny, tattered remnants of his reputation in order to live the life of perfect sycophancy as principle primping poodle for Donald Trump. Graham has dedicated the later years of his life to a full embrace of the hypocritical oath, and executes it with such an utter lack of shame that we marvel that so much moral corruption could be crammed into such an unimposing wee burrowing creature.

Many people have asked us why we decided to name our hypocrisy awards for Lindsey Graham when we had so many worthy Republicans to choose from.  But the simple fact is that the Senator from South Carolina is one of the few people on earth to have executed two astonishing full triple axels of hypocrisy in Olympic-level competition, sticking the landing both times. Breathtaking stuff.

It was in 2016 that Lindsey Graham justified his opposition to Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court by publicly declaring that it was a matter of principle, and that he was perfectly willing to be held accountable to it:

"I want you to use my words against me. If there's a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, 'Let's let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.'"

Graham, of course, never dreamed that such a quirk of circumstance might actually come to pass. Sure enough, when Ruth Bader Ginsberg passed away in the final months of Donald Trump’s presidency, Lindsey managed to completely, totally, and unabashedly abandon his “principled” position of 2016, thoroughly endorsing Trump’s right to ram through a new court appointee.

But here is the amazing third loop in Graham’s “Triple Axel.” When called on his hypocrisy, Graham justified his flip-flop by accusing everyone else of being equally lacking in moral fiber. “I am certain if the shoe were on the other foot, you would do the same.”

Well, that, my friends, is what separates a garden-variety hypocrite from somebody who deserves a statue named for him.  First, Graham feigns a lofty principle, abandons it literally the very next moment it must be applied, and then justifies his actions by announcing that everyone else is as morally bankrupt and cowardly as he is! You know what, Lindsey? Your inability to understand that some people operate on the basis of character, principle, and reputation is the very reason you so richly deserve to have these awards named for you!

Graham’s second “triple axel?” Watch the man spin over the last two months on Donald Trump’s “big lie.” Graham was so supportive of Trump’s “big lie” that he not only publicly advocated for it, but even attempted to intercede by placing calls to Georgia’s election officials. Then, on the night of January 6, a supposedly “principled” Graham is seen shouting to the Congress, acknowledges that Biden and Harris were the “lawfully elected President and Vice President.” And yet – again, a third spin around – once Graham realized that Trump still held the most power in the Republican Party, he was back to supplicant, reconfirming his complete fealty to Trump.

Why, if we claim to be in a position to hand out awards for hypocrisy, and we don’t name them after this spineless little weasel, well – we would be being hypocritical!

Now, ladies and gentleman, everyone grab a glass of extremely white whine, because the Grahammy Awards are about to begin!

The first envelope, please, is for the outstanding performance by an emerging hypocrite – a guy who you’d never heard of until he exploded on to the scene with a singular gift for double talk. 

This “Grahammy” goes to Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, a rookie who hit one out of the park just this last week! Wicker sent a text alerting his constituents about the benefits coming their way as a result of Joe Biden’s history-making COVID 19 stimulus bill.  But get this! Wicker’s tweet failed to mention one little detail – he voted against it!

Yes folks, Senator Wicker has shown us a brilliant example of Republican hypocrisy – take credit for something that you opposed, figuring your constituents will be too stupid to notice! Well played, Senator Wicker!

Our next category is “Greatest Hypocrisy in a Leading Role,” and there is no one on earth who is more deserving of this accolade than Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

What distinguishes Mitch McConnell from Lindsey Graham is his demand to be taken seriously. Graham seems aware that he is a weak, frightened fool, reminding us of Peter Lorre’s “Ugarte” character in Casablanca, who asks Humphrey Bogart’s Rick if he despises him. Rick pauses and says, “If I gave you any thought, I probably would.”

McConnell, though, leans into his hypocrisy with a sturdy sense of purpose and resolve, and usually takes the time to find some thin reed of explanation for why the thing that he said today is not the polar opposite of what he said yesterday. As we have already lauded Senator Graham for his sickening hypocrisy on the Merrick Garland nomination, we must tip our cap to McConnell's more central role in that fiasco, as he was the one who actually exerted the power to withhold the Garland nomination and speed through Coney-Barrett proceedings.

But that sordid hypocrisy still did not match what Mitch McConnell achieved with a head-spinning quintuple flip-flop executed in three short weeks in January and February of 2021. It began when the House passed its second impeachment of Donald Trump on January 13. McConnell falsely declared that it was impossible to begin a Senate iimpeachment trial until after Trump had left office. Then, after January 20th, McConnell took the position that the Senate had no standing to conduct an impeachment trial because Trump was no longer in office! What an implausible, impeccable pirouette! Talk about gall – Mitch McConnell has a pair of gall stones!

But wait, there’s more!!!

The Senate has the sole power to make rules about impeachment proceedings. And the majority of Senators disagreed with McConnell, formally establishing that the Senate most certainly did have the right to conduct the impeachment trial of a former President. Indeed, the Senators noted that there was clear precedent for the Senate conducting an impeachment trial of a government official no longer in office. So what does McConnell do? He votes to acquit, and announces that the basis for his vote is the claim that the Senate did not have standing to conduct the trial… essentially invoking a rationale that does not exist to avoid holding Trump accountable for the insurrection. That’s spin #3.

What does Mitch do after the aquittal? He rises to the Senate floor, and gives a sizzling indictment of Trump that unambiguously holds Trump accountable for the insurrection: “There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day.” With this turn, McConnell has now publicly stated that Trump was guilty of the charges in the impeachment motion, but McConnell voted to acquit Trump of the charge because of a reason that the Senate declared was not a valid reason for acquittal. Ok, now we are up to four flips… but don’t pull your head out of the spin cycle yet, because there is still more.

You see, you’re playing checkers and Mitch is playing 3-D hypocrisy with a ten second timer. Asked on Fox News if he would support Trump should he win the nomination in 2024, our boy Mitch did not hesitate. “Absolutely.”

Whoa, baby, that’s not just serial hypocrisy or flip-flopping on steroids, that is cartwheeling the length of a football field while giving a real-time changes of opinion on each landing. Give the man the statuette for proving himself to be one of the most craven, unprincipled men ever to serve in government.

Now we know you folks are eager to get to our two big awards of the night – our “Grand Grahammy” for outstanding hypocrisy in the past year, and our “Lifetime Achievement Grahammy.” But first, we need to announce the winners in two of our “Technical Hypocrisy” categories.

First, is Maine Senator Susan Collins in the audience? Oh, there you are, Senator! Won’t you stand up for a moment, please? There you go, now we all can see where you stand – which is pretty darn rare! You know, Senator, one way we measure hypocrisy is by the degree to which people present themselves as persons of high character and integrity. Nobody gets terribly upset when Lindsey Graham is hypocritical, because it is the defining component of his brand. You expect it, so you’re not surprised when you get it.

But when someone walks around behaving as if he or she operates on the highest moral and ethical principles and is revealed to be just another two-bit con artist, that person qualifies for a Grahammy in the category of “Hypocritical Posturing.”

And, yes, Senator, after Donald Trump’s 2020 impeachment, you rationalized your vote to acquit by saying that simply having been impeached taught Donald Trump “a pretty big lesson.” So you avoided alienating Trump supporters by voting to acquit him, and you tried to mollify your state’s centrists by asserting that having been impeached would cause Trump to mend his ways.

Now tell the audience, Senator, because we are all want to know! Today, do you feel like a na├»ve, foolish, easily manipulated, intellectual lightweight, or are you just one of those people who routinely tries to disguise a turd of hypocrisy in the fancy clothing of high-minded morality? We think it’s the latter, and that’s why you win tonight’s technical achievement in “Hypocritical Posturing!”

How about Nikki Haley? There you are! Hey, Nikki, you were pretty forceful in your denunciation of Donald Trump in your interview with Politico on February 12. "We need to acknowledge he let us down. He went down a path he shouldn't have, and we shouldn't have followed him, and we shouldn't have listened to him. And we can't let that ever happen again." You pretty much flushed Trump down the toilet as a player in the party’s future when you said, "I don't think he's going to be in the picture. I don't think he can. He's fallen so far."

Sounds great, Nikki! Tough, strong, honest, independent… What’s that, Nikki? Can’t hear you! You say that your big talk went down with the Republican base like a power grid in a Texas ice storm? You discovered that you now have one of those “toxic waste” warnings plastered on the back of your campaign bus? 

So you called Trump in Mar-a-Lago to arrange a one-on-one meeting to clear the air, and Trump blew you off like just so many leftover packing peanuts in a used Amazon box?

Step right up, Governor Haley, and take your statuette for Technical Hypocritical Achievement in what we call “Yes, I Will Back Down.”

Ok, ok, the crowd is stirring! You can feel the tension in the air! It is time for the “Grand Grahammy” for the year, the singular crowning moment of Republican hypocrisy.

Now, the judges had to consider so many examples of egregious Republican deceit to reach this moment, and we do need to remind you of the rules. When Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin reads a wingnut conspiracy theorist’s account of January 6 into the Congressional Record, or demands that the entire Biden Coronavirus Stimulus Bill be read out loud in Congress, that is clearly not hypocrisy. It is shameless, epic stupidity and ignorance… but remember: Ron Johnson is a very stupid and ignorant man! There is simply no hypocrisy when a stupid man says stupid things.

Now when a smart man intentionally lies to manipulate the voters, that’s getting much closer. Say, when Stanford and Yale educated Josh Hawley pretends that he believes there was rampant voter fraud in order to grease his way into the embrace of the Proud Boys, QAnon, the Oath Keepers, and the rest of Trump Nation, you are talking about a serious candidate for the “Grand Grahammy.”

But when all the votes were in, who could possibly deny that this year’s “Grand Grahammy” belongs in the sniveling, smarmy, unctuous, groveling, pompous, posturing hands of the junior Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz.

At the precise moments when millions of the citizens in his home state were freezing, starving, without electricity, dealing with frozen pipes and lack of potable water, Ted Cruz decided to go on vacation at a Ritz Carlton Hotel in Cancun, Mexico.

Now again, remember our rules: this alone would merely be evidence of an utterly degraded human soul, a man so impervious to the suffering of others that he must – seriously – be viewed to be a borderline sociopath.

But there are totally different awards for sociopaths… here at the Grahammy Awards, we focus on hypocrisy. And that is where Ted Cruz’s magic dazzles.

Ted Cruz tried to blame his decision to take a vacation in Mexico on his daughters. He tried to say that they wanted a vacation, and he was just trying to be a “good dad.” Yes, Ted Cruz tried to explain that he went to Mexico for a vacation while fellow Texans were literally freezing to death because he is such a good, caring guy.

That, my friends, is the stuff of legendary hypocrisy.

It almost didn’t matter that he was proven to be lying about that, too. Texts from Heidi Cruz planning the holiday escape did not mention at any point that the Cruz daughters were the ones asking for the trip.

Cruz would later claim that he realized the trip was a bad idea “when he sat down in the airplane,” as if he himself had suddenly brought his ethical reasoning to bear on the matter. Far, far more likely: Cruz’s sudden epiphany was engendered by the realization that his escape to Cancun was roaring across social media in a Mount St. Helen’s grade eruption of disbelief and outrage.

Ted, take the damn Statuette. Nobody can touch you in your chosen field. You are the Hercules of hypocrisy, you are the Picasso of pretenders, the doyenne of double standards. Accept our award, and then turn humbly to our audience and tell them that, aw, shucks, folks, you are not really worthy of this high honor. Because that is exactly what the perfect hypocrite would say.

And now, for our last award of the evening, it is time to announce The Grahammy Awards “Lifetime Achievement Statuette.”

The judges would first like to take a moment and thank Google for producing 9,720,000 references to this man’s hypocrisy is .52 seconds. We simply do not have the space or time to individually credit each and every source.

The epic scope of this man’s hypocrisy truly defies measure. He refuses to miss a single plausible opportunity to bring disingenuous deceit to bear on the topic at hand.

From the seeming low-grade stuff…

… Savagely criticizing Barack Obama for spending time on the golf course, only to exponentially more time golfing than Obama himself.

… Demanding to see Obama’s college grades, only to threaten to sue his college if it released a transcript of his academic record.

… Promising that he really wanted to share his beautiful tax records with everybody, but he couldn’t because of an audit… a completely unfounded statement.

This is a man who has created a structured, discipline approach to effortlessly manufacturing hypocrisy at a moment’s notice, a man for whom hypocrisy is a performance art. Present him with evidence of failure, deficiency, or lack of success on any topic under the sun and watch him pivot into full hypocrisy mode.

“Well, you’re fake news. Many people are saying that they can’t believe what an incredible a job we are doing on (fill in the topic under question here). We’re doing more than anyone has ever done. You should have seen the complete disgrace on (topic) that we inherited from the Obama administration. Many people are saying that they’ve never seen anybody who’s ever been able to accomplish what we’ve accomplished, and that my administration has accomplished more in (1,2,3,4) years on (topic) than any administration every accomplished. They wouldn’t have believed what we were able to do but we did it.”

Call it the hypocrisy-olator. It takes any single piece of factual information and inverts it into complete self-serving hypocrisy in a matter of moments.

Yes, friends, our “Golden Grahammy” for lifetime achievement goes to the man who stands at the outer, most egregious frontier of hypocrisy…

…The man who graded his administration with an A+ for his handling of a pandemic that has killed over a half million Americans.

…The man who demanded the unflinching loyalty of his Vice-President -- a Vice President who kept toeing the line through every policy disaster, every incident corruption, and every loathsome betrayal of his office – and then unleashed a lynch mob on a search-and-destroy mission to hang him. 

…The man who claimed to have done more for Black Americans than any President, with the “possible exception of Abraham Lincoln,” and yet encouraged a white supremacist mob to stampede into the U.S. Capitol.

…The man who swore on oath with his hand on the Bible to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and proceeded to do everything in his power to ignore it, undermine it, and destroy it.

Ladies and gentleman, the winner of the “Golden Grahammy” for Lifetime Achievement in Hypocrisy is… oh, never mind. We won’t make you read that name one more time.

That’s our show for tonight, folks. Be sure to tune in next year, because while we have no idea what the coming year will bring, we know one thing for sure… Republicans will be hypocrites about it.

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