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We’re going to the Hamptons, baby!!!

So did you ever watch the Seinfeld episode in which George Costanza lies to Susan’s parents, the Rosses, about owning a house in the Hamptons?

Wacky hijinks ensue when Susan’s parents, who suspect that George is lying, insist that he show them the house.  Rather than simply owning up to his fib, George takes them on the two-hour drive to the Hamptons. As they depart for his doom, George quotes Michael Keaton’s Batman character:  “You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts!!!”   All the while as they drive George is wishing and hoping and thinking and praying and dreaming that they will ask him to turn around before his lie is revealed. 

They do not.

Which brings us to Sean Spicer.   In his Thursday press conference Spicer quoted allegations made originally on Fox News as evidence (or “evidence”) that, well, there is evidence (or “evidence”) for Trump’s claims that Obama had ordered wiretapping of Trump Towers.  The twist in this allegation is that it claims Obama did a runaround of U.S. intelligence agencies and sought out the UK intelligence agency GCHQ to do his dirty work. 

Not surprisingly, GCHQ adamantly denied this allegation and apparently expressed their concerns to the Trump administration.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Trump administration appeased the UK by agreeing not to make the allegation again. However, somewhat bizarrely, Sean Spicer denied having any regrets about using the false information and upsetting one of our most important allies, saying that if reporters have a problem with the story they ought to take their grievances to Fox News—a claim President Trump repeated later.    

I retract that.  In the Twilight Zone that is our political order today virtually nothing is really surprising. 

By the way, at the end of the Seinfeld episode George had no choice but to admit that he had lied.  It is yet to be determined whether George Costanza’s ethics are a bridge too far for this administration.

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About Michael Bailey
Michael is Associate Professor of Government and International Studies at Berry College in Rome, GA. His academic publications address the American Founding, the American presidency, religion and politics, and governance in liberal democracies. He also writes on popular culture, and his articles on, among other topics, patriotism, Church and State, and Kurt Vonnegut, have been published in Prism and Touchstone. He earned his PhD from the University of Texas in Austin, where he also earned his BA. He’s married and has three children. He joined OTB in November 2016.

Comments

  1. Speaking of George Costanza ethics and the Trump Administration, this clip is a perfect allegory for what’s going on today:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vn_PSJsl0LQ

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  2. CSK says:

    I was hoping someone would write about this. Thank you, Mr. Bailey. Every time I think that we can’t go further into Bizarro World than we have–we do.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  3. reid says:

    This administration is such an utter embarrassment. Incompetent, arrogant, amateurish, disrespectful. I could go on. If they had (D) after their names, the howling would never end. Since it’s an (R), it’s fine, I guess. Maybe everyone can just ignore them until they go away.

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  4. Gustopher says:

    When confronted with a problem, you should always ask yourself “What would Lucille Ball have done?”, and here the Trumpeters would have done well to follow that advice.

    George Castanza would aimlessly attempt to delay the day of reckoning with easily refuted lies about one of our closest allies.

    But Lucille Ball would have created a whole new country, and had Esther pretend to be the ambassador from that country. Who could possibly refute claims than Kenyakistan agents bugged Trump headquarters? We have the ambassador right here, confirming the allegations in his native Kenyakistani language!

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  5. Just 'nutha ign'int cracker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Indeed! It explains the run up to the Second Iraq War, too.

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  6. Just 'nutha ign'int cracker says:

    @Gustopher: You get one, too. Indeed!

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  7. Hal_10000 says:

    About the GCHQ thing. We spy on the British. They spy on us. For either to not do so would be dereliction of duty. International norms, however, insist that we play this kabuki where we pretend that’s not the case and, when caught, apologize and promise never to do it again. It’s one of these knowing lies — like pretending Taiwan does not have a government — on which foreign relations are built.

    It truly is amateur hour down there.

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  8. Hal_10000 says:

    (Just to clarify: I think Trump’s specific allegation is baloney. But it would not surprise me at all if the British had done *some* intelligence gathering on Trump. It would surprise me if they hadn’t. For the sake of international comity, we pretend that’s not going on. For Trump to make a wild accusation like this is idiotic.)

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  9. Mikey says:

    @Hal_10000: The issue isn’t whether GCHQ did intel gathering on Trump. Of course they did, as they would any American presidential candidate. That’s the normal kind of stuff everyone does.

    The issue is the unfounded accusation from the Trump camp that GCHQ engaged in direct electronic surveillance of Trump in his office and home at the behest of Obama, and did so specifically as an end-run around American laws that prevented American intel agencies from doing so. Essentially, Trump et al. asserted active British participation in a serious crime.

    This is the second thing Trump has done that has made me say “holy shit, he’s going to break up Five Eyes.” And even if it doesn’t break up that alliance, our partners are going to be a lot more discerning in what they mark REL FVEY.

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  10. Hal_10000 says:

    @Mikey:

    Yep. Agree with all of that.

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  11. JohnMcC says:

    @Gustopher: I love the proposed script. But I bet you are talking about Mrs Ethel Mertz.

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