George Santos, the Most Novel Con of All

Rep. George Santos arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, November 30 to speak about the House Ethics Committee report ahead of his eventual expulsion from Congress. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

It was really the late 1990s when we started to see the emergence of the Novelty Cons—the people who figured out that there was a pretty good career path in Republican politics and conservative media that consisted simply of being something other than white and male while also being a conservative, or at least able to do a passable impersonation of a conservative. Of course, there had long been conservative women of several different stripes (Jeane Kirkpatrick, Phyllis Schlafly) and black conservatives (Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas), gay conservatives (a long tradition from Noël Coward to Marvin Liebman to a lot of people whose old friends still aren’t ready to hear about it), etc., but those were accomplished people with real portfolios. Nobody ever put Jeane Kirkpatrick on the cover of a book in a little black cocktail dress—nobody ever thought to, because readers reading a Jeane Kirkpatrick book knew why they were reading it. 

No, the Novelty Con offers something else: “I’m a college-educated white woman/black man/gay man/Latina/[some combination of the previous] under 40, and I am ready to repeat today’s GOP talking points!” That is the entire value proposition, but it works. Why listen to the Novelty Con? Why put the Novelty Con on television or on a stage? 

For the novelty, of course.

This content is available exclusively to Dispatch members
Try a membership for full access to every newsletter and all of The Dispatch. Support quality, fact-based journalism.
Already a paid member? Sign In
Comments (179)
Join The Dispatch to participate in the comments.
Load More