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Lucky Number 13 for "George Santos"

Rep. "George Santos" (R-NY) appeared in court yesterday, as expected. He entered a plea of "not guilty" and posted $500,000 bail. His indictment was also unsealed; you can read it here, if you wish.

Santos is charged with 13 separate criminal acts, including wire fraud, money laundering and theft of public funds. Too bad it's boring, garden-variety stuff, because readers wrote in with a bunch of much more interesting guesses. Here are some of those, starting with the two we got at least a dozen times:

In our insta-poll, about 2% of respondents had "Santos" lasting less than a week. On the other end, nearly 30% think he will make it through his entire term. The average guess is that he has just under 280 days left before he exits, stage right. If correct, that would have him leaving office on... Valentine's Day of next year. Really. Isn't it romantic?

In any event, one day in the not-too-distant future, Santos is toast. Recall that the feds don't file charges unless they believe they have an overwhelming chance of success. And not only did they file charges here, they filed a baker's dozen of them. Oh, and it's the sorts of things that leave lots of nice, juicy paper trails. Fortunately for "Santos," he's used to hard time, after sitting all those years in the Bastille wearing that uncomfortable iron mask.

When Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said he was taking a wait-and-see approach, and he'd decide what his opinion is once he sees the charges, we were rather skeptical that he would actually back "Santos'" ouster. And whaddya know, the Speaker says he thinks "Santos" should keep his job. McCarthy did, however, announce that he will not support "Santos'" reelection bid. That is very bold leadership, Mr. Speaker. In other news, McCarthy also announced he will not be backing Captain Ahab vs. Moby Dick, the New Jersey Generals vs. the Harlem Globetrotters, or Shazam! Fury of the Gods for this year's Best Picture Oscar.

The basic problem is that McCarthy, whatever his other strengths or weaknesses might be, knows how to count. "Santos" was, quite literally, the deciding vote that got the debt-ceiling bill over the line. The Speaker will need every vote he can get for future budget stuff, an anti-China bill his conference is working on, and a couple of immigration bills that are in progress, at the very least.

That said, many Republicans are weary of this story sucking up all the oxygen, and they think that if "Santos" isn't going to survive anyhow, it's best to put as much distance as possible between his exit and next year's elections. It's certainly within the realm of possibility that McCarthy keeps "Santos" around for another month or two and then, once the debt-ceiling mess is past and all the show bills have made their way through the House, he cuts bait. (Z)

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