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This Week in Schadenfreude: The Santos of the South?

It seems that Rep. "George Santos" (R-NY) might not be the only member of the House whose biography is more fiction than fact. On that point, we give you Rep. "Andy Ogles" (R-TN).

Perhaps "Ogles" angered someone at WTVF, which is a local station in Nashville. Whatever the case may be, the news staff there has been all over the congressman in the last few weeks (see here, here, and here for examples).

As with "Santos," virtually every claim "Ogles" has made about his qualifications for office is either a gross exaggeration or an outright lie. The core of his campaign pitch was that he is an "internationally recognized expert in economics, with multiple degrees in the subject." He's only got one degree, as it turns out, and it's in international relations. His "study" of economics was limited to one community college course. As to his professional work, he spent about a year at an economics-centered think tank (he was not the executive director, as he has claimed). As to his "international recognition," he wrote a grand total of three op-eds for the kinds of sites that run lots and lots of op-eds. It is very doubtful that anyone outside the U.S. has ever heard of him.

There are other holes in "Ogles'" biography. He also claims to have "extensive" law enforcement experience. In fact, he was a volunteer sheriff's deputy for a short period, and was dismissed from the program due to not showing up for training and not attending mandatory meetings. As a result, he never got to the point of, you know, enforcing any actual laws. "Ogles" has also said he is an expert in sex trafficking, and that he was COO of an organization dedicated to fighting that particular crime in 12 different countries. The group in question is Abolition International, and he was never COO. He was a part-time staffer for a few months, and left long before it had become involved in 12 different nations. So, if "Ogles" has any expertise in sex trafficking, it's because he's been chatting with his colleague Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).

Of course, "Santos" is an alleged grifter in addition to being a liar. And, guess what? "Ogles" is, too. He is, he says, father to a stillborn child. This may well be true, though you probably shouldn't take that to the bank. In any event, he posted a picture of a stillborn child to social media, and used it to raise $25,000 for a burial garden. There is no garden, however, and no public record of what happened the money. When pressed for an explanation, "Ogles" refused comment.

In the end, "Santos" and "Ogles" both appear to be sociopathic jerks, and hopefully they will be booted out of office by voters at the next available opportunity. Certainly there is some schadenfreude in their shenanigans being made public for all to see. But more important, now that it is clear that people sometimes lie with impunity when running for office, the amount of scrutiny of wannabe officeholders' claims should increase dramatically. And that is surely a good thing. (Z)

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