As frequent readers of this Web log know, my birthday is on April 1. Although a lot of people regularly take their birthday off from work, I have only done that a couple of times, and last Friday wasn’t one of them – I was way too busy, with consultations booked starting at 7:30 in the morning and running well after six o’clock. I did take an hour for lunch – sushi delivered from SEI over in the Penn Quarter – but only had forty-five minutes to eat it because of a last-minute Webex appointment with the youngest member of the US Congress, Representative Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina. Here’s a transcript.
Tom: Representative Cawthorn, you’re on mute.
Tom: It’s the button with the red microphone that says “Unmute.”
Tom: Click on “Unmute” so I can hear you.
Cawthorn: Uh… what the [expletive]…
Tom: I think you must have clicked it twice. It’s a single click, not a double click. You’re on mute again.
Tom: It’s just a single click on the Unmute Button.
Cawthorn: [Expletive]! All right, can you [expletive] hear me now?
Tom: Yes, I can. Good afternoon.
Cawthorn: You, too.
Tom: What can I do for you today, Representative Cawthorn?
Cawthorn: Well, uh, first thing, Ted Cruz told me this would be free. I mean, “First time’s free,” he said.
Tom: That’s correct.
Cawthorn: I mean, holy [expletive], people really pay you that kind of money for advice?
Tom: Congressman Cawthorn, I’m booked up solid all day. As a matter of fact, I’m carving this meeting out of my lunch hour.
Cawthorn: Huh – nice work if you can get it, I guess. They tell me you’re the smartest person in Washington.
Tom: Which is a lot like being the tallest building in Baltimore.
Cawthorn: Baltimore? Never been there. Too close to the Mason-Dixon line for my taste; Washington DC is bad enough as far as that goes. Never heard anything about the buildings in Baltimore being very tall, though.
Tom: They’re not. Most of them are two stories tall and around a hundred years old. What’s on you mind?
Cawthorn: Ah… okay, uh… I got a… problem, I guess you’d say, with Kevin McCarthy.
Tom: The House Minority Leader.
Cawthorn: Yeah, him. You hear about it?
Tom: Of course.
Cawthorn: So you know what the problem is, then.
Tom: Yes I do. You went on a podcast and said this: [CAWTHORN’S VOICE] “The sexual perversion that goes on in Washington, I mean, being kind of a young guy in Washington where the average age is probably sixty or seventy, I look at all these people, a lot of them there that I, you know, I’ve looked up to through my life; I always paid attention to politics, guys that, you know – then all of a sudden you get invited to like, “Oh, hey, we’re going to have kind of a sexual get-together at one of our homes, you should come.” I’m like, “What did you just ask me to come to?” And then you realize they’re asking you to come to an orgy. Or the fact that some of the people who are leading on the movement to try and remove addiction in our country, and then you watch them do, you know, a key bump of cocaine right in front of you and it’s like wow, this is wild.”
Cawthorn: You had that on tape?
Tom: We both know it’s a digital audio file, but yeah, people still say “on tape,” don’t they?
Cawthorn: I mean, you recorded it?
Tom: I downloaded it as soon as I knew I’d be meeting with you today.
Cawthorn: You knew we’d be talking about it?
Tom: What else?
Cawthorn: Well, I don’t know, maybe I could want some advice about my re-election campaign.
Tom: Or maybe you’d might have wanted some advice about how to handle your problems connecting to reality.
Cawthorn: What! What… What problems connecting with reality?
Tom: Oh, let’s see here – how about, your constant repeated lying about your friend, Bradley Ledford, abandoning you to die, in a “fiery tomb” after the traffic accident that put you in a wheelchair?
Cawthorn: That’s what happened!
Tom: No, you lied. You lied about being abandoned by your friend and you lied about being declared dead at the scene. The fact that you lied was substantiated by numerous press investigations. In fact, I even have a video clip of your own parents telling the press that you lied about those things. Want to hear it, kid?
Cawthorn: That video is a fake! You know they can make deep fake videos where people say anything they want! And don’t call me “kid!” I’m a member of Congress!
Tom: You’re a member of Congress who dropped out of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia with a C-minus average and your entire education consists of that and being home-schooled through the twelfth grade. And while you were there, at what amounts to a nondescript small-town Christian college, getting mostly D’s in everything, you behaved like a total juvenile, kid.
Cawthorn: What are you talking about?
Tom: You’d take the pious little Christian co-ed’s out on joy-rides…
Cawthorn: Those were fun-drives, not joy rides. “Joy rides” is like when you steal a car and drive it around for kicks!
Tom: All right. “Fun drives” it is. You’d take the pious little Christian co-ed’s out on fun-drives and do things that got you what could be described as a pretty bad reputation in the inter-gender relations department. So bad, in fact, that not only did the RA’s adopt a policy of warning young women not to go out with you, when you were running for Congress, one hundred-and-fifty Patrick Henry College alumni signed a letter that said your time there was filled with, and I quote, “gross misconduct towards our female peers, public misrepresentation of his past, disorderly conduct that was against the school’s student honor code, and self-admitted academic failings.”
Cawthorn: That was all political! I have never done anything sexually inappropriate in my life!
Tom: So they were lying?
Cawthorn: Yeah! And my low grades were because of temporary brain damage from the accident, and I quit Patrick Henry College because I was heartbroken after my fiancée broke off our engagement!
Tom: You’re saying it was all just made it up?
Tom: It’s complete fabrication, total fantasy, bald-faced obvious lies?
Tom: Like when you claimed you were the head of a successful investment firm named SPQR Holdings, LLC that turned out, in reality, to have zero income and one, single employee, namely – you?
Cawthorn: I never said how big it was. And everybody has their own definition of success, you know.
Tom: Like when you told everybody you were training to become a Paralympian, but were never even on a recognized Paralympics team?
Cawthorn: That’s a technicality! I was training! That’s what counts! Didn’t you see the campaign video of me training to become a Paralympian?
Tom: I saw a campaign video of you pretending you were training to become a Paralympian.
Cawthorn: I wasn’t pretending!
Tom: Right – and so, how about when you claimed that you were accepted at Princeton, Harvard and the US Naval Academy, but in fact none of those schools would give you the time of day in a watch factory?
Cawthorn: I was nominated to the Naval Academy by Mark Meadows!
Tom: And the Naval Academy rejected you. Before your involvement in the traffic accident where Bradley Ledford fell asleep while driving and put you in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. But you lied about it and said you had been accepted and that the accident was what kept you from attending the Academy, didn’t you?
Cawthorn: That depends on how you interpret the time line!
Tom: And I suppose your claim that you were declared dead at the scene of the accident is just a matter of how one interprets the word “dead?”
Cawthorn: “Incapacitated,” “dead,” whatever!
Tom: And I suppose the meaning of the term “douche crew” is open to interpretation, too.
Cawthorn: Who told you about the douche crew?
Tom: Oh? You didn’t know? That’s out there, too. You were the leader of a clique known as the “douche crew” at college. As a matter of fact, two members of the douche crew, Micah Bock and Blake Harp, were on your campaign staff. Or at least, that’s what the news reports say. Any idea what you guys did to get that particular collegiate distinction?
Cawthorn: Uh… no. That’s a lie, too! I mean, we were a crew, but we weren’t douches, okay?
Tom: But it’s true that the other students called you the “douche crew” isn’t it?
Cawthorn: Maybe it’s true they called us that, but saying we were douches is a lie!
Tom: Be that as it may, looks like you’ve been caught lying yourself, quite a few times.
Cawthorn: Those lies about me lying are all lies!
Tom: Sure they are. And this latest… issue… the one we listened to you expounding on a few minutes ago. You were accused of having made it up – of lying. That’s why you’re talking to me right now, isn’t it?
Cawthorn: Um… yeah, like you said.
Tom: You’re between a rock and a hard place because you spun a tale of sex orgies and hard drugs in the Nation’s Capital. I bet it felt like a good idea at the time, on that podcast with one of your own – a young alt-right dude like yourself, assault rifle on the shelf behind him, the whole set decked out in MAGA regalia – sure, go ahead and tell the folks out there in Podunk how evil and corrupt Washington really is. Only you forgot one crucial thing – nobody is going to believe those were Democrats inviting you to snort some blow and hop in a flesh pile with them. No way – there isn’t a Democrat on Capitol Hill who, upon finding you on fire in the gutter, would urinate on you to put it out, and everybody knows that. Except you, apparently. So the fallout, blow-back and crap-storm from your hot little insider confidential, such as it was, landed squarely in the laps of your Republican colleagues – not just in the House, but in the Senate, too, and for a very good reason I will tell you about later. Bottom line, you got taken to the woodshed by the Minority Leader and Steve Scalise, the Minority Whip.
Tom: And you told them you made it all up, didn’t you?
Cawthorn: Yeah, kinda, sorta, you know.
Tom: You told them that you lied.
Cawthorn: Not… lied. I just… revised and extended my remarks. I’m a Congressman. I can do that.
Tom: I see. And in reaction to that, as I recall, Minority Leader McCarthy said, “He changes what he tells and that’s not becoming of a Congressman. He did not tell the truth, that’s unacceptable.” And now, you’re sweating bullets about what’s going to happen next. So you went looking for somebody who might know what to tell you to do.
Cawthorn: Yeah, I guess so. What’s your… analysis?
Tom: Okay, first of all, I believe you.
Tom: I said I believe you – about the sex orgies and the drugs.
Cawthorn: Holy [expletive]! You do?
Tom: Yes. I’m certain that you went into that meeting and lied to them when you said you had lied about being offered drugs and invited to orgies.
Cawthorn: How did you… I mean, what makes you think so?
Tom: I strongly suspect that, very uncharacteristically, you were telling the truth to your fellow fascist bro on that podcast. I’ve done plenty of drugs since I moved here to Washington and I’ve been to plenty of orgies, too. As a matter of fact, I still take drugs and go to orgies here in Washington with my girlfriend. And by the way, there are plenty of people in your home district in North Carolina who take drugs and go to orgies, too.
Cawthorn: There are?
Tom: Sure there are. Most of the folks in the Eleventh District, out there around Asheville, can’t afford cocaine, of course. They use meth instead. It’s all over the place down there. You knew that, didn’t you?
Cawthorn: Uh, no, I didn’t, actually.
Tom: That’s because you’re a home-schooled twerp. If you’d attended a public high school anywhere in North Carolina, you’d know all about meth, and ecstasy, for that matter, including how to tell if the stuff’s been cut with fentanyl. Look, kid, sex and drugs used to be a big deal – a real reputation killer; but not since about five years before you were born. Democrats aren’t going to change their votes because one of their politicians does some lines and jumps into bed naked with more than one person of various genders. And actually, most Republican voters aren’t going to care much about it if one of their guys or gals up on the Hill does the same, either. As a matter of fact, the only people who do care about that kind of behavior anymore happen to be Bible-thumping Christians of various conservative persuasions. Your colleagues’ problem with your salacious tale is that those people are virtually one-hundred-percent Republican voters. And in a close election, that can make a difference – for Republican politicians like them.
Cawthorn: Oh. So that’s why they’re so upset.
Tom: That is indeed why, as I promised to explain. So my advice to you is, go on and imitate your hero Donald Trump if you want to, and see if you can lie more than he can. Nobody who votes Republican will care. What somebody like you has to watch out for is telling the truth about the wrong things.
Cawthorn: That’s a relief, because, you know, I was beginning to worry about whether I can stop lying. I mean, maybe it’s, you know, compulsive or something.
Tom: I’m not a psychiatrist, but who needs to be one? It’s obvious to anybody, you are a completely incurable pathological liar.
Cawthorn: Oh, my God! Oh, sweet Jesus… is it… fatal?
Tom: Calm down, kid, no problem! You’re a politician. These days, in your line of work, it’s an asset. Now, let me give you a little test here, just to see if all this has sunk in properly. Answer this question: did you participate in planning an invasion of the Capitol building in Washington DC on January 6, 2021 in furtherance of an insurrection against the United States of America, as part of a conspiracy to obstruct Congress that also included Representative Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia, Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas, Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama; and, Representatives Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs of Arizona?
Cawthorn: Uh… what you just said about how I should watch out for telling the truth about the wrong things.
Tom: Very good. I think we’re done here.
Cawthorn: Um… Thank you?
Tom: You’re welcome? Goodbye!