We don’t have any oncologists on staff, but we still know a malignant cancer parading as a human when we see one… The only problem is that there are so many in America. There’s such a toxic ocean of idiotic, petulant, sociopathic, hypocritical candidates that it’s a chore to find the crowning one each month: Which sphincter will hold the scepter?
But at American Consequences, we’ve dug through the trough, like truffle pigs in reverse, finding you the worst of the worst – just as a reminder of however terrible you think you are, at least you’re not this person.
Can I tell you a secret, Matt? The kind you’d probably share on your phone on the House floor amid sh*t-eating grins and ‘atta boy whispers? I was going to go with Andrew Cuomo this month for our Dunce of the Month pick. It seemed inevitable. But then you swooped in like the drunken, handsy, golden Phoenix you believe yourself (and maybe your parents told you) to be.
You make the disgraced New York governor’s transgressions seem positively quaint (almost). And you actually willed this travesty into existence with a tweet, claiming that if there ever were to be a you-centric scandal, that it should be dubbed Gaetzgate – you know, since it rhymes. That’d be like Nixon recommending his favorite D.C. hotel on Virginia Ave. in 1971, or akin to O.J. Simpson smiling through a star cameo in a Ford Bronco ad circa 1993.
With that unwitting seed in the ether, the universe clapped back on your Florida hubris and now no Republicans are returning your texts…
Worst in Show: A Cringey History
In 2008, Gaetz had a DUI (a rite of passage for all aspiring politicians) while returning from Florida nightclub The Swap (too perfect). But what’s extra Gaetz-y about the incident is that his refusal to take a breathalyzer didn’t result in criminal prosecution, as it would for anyone else. Are we noticing a theme yet?
Two years later, Gaetz found himself in the Florida House of Representatives, allegedly creating a fun little game with his colleagues. They’d award each other points for sleeping with interns, aides, married legislators, and lobbyists. There’s a literary term for this: Chekhov’s facepalm.
He graduated to the U.S. House in 2016 and later invited alt-right Holocaust denier Charles C. Johnson to attend Trump’s 2018 State of the Union address. Gaetz got meta afterward, though, by denying that the Holocaust denier denied the Holocaust.
Twelve-term Congressman. Air Force surgeon. Presidential candidate. Ron Paul reveals the secret to “opt-out” of our bankrupt, increasingly socialist system right here.
And in the ensuing years, Gaetz tweet-threatened Trump layer Michael Cohen, baselessly claimed Antifa stormed the Capitol, and took $200,000 of taxpayer funds to rent an office from a Pensacola real estate developer.
But all these morally dubious antics were merely a rehearsal for Matt’s most wicked performance yet.
Let’s review the details (as there are many): there’s a federal criminal investigation into whether Gaetz paid escorts for sex and whether he had a sexual relationship with a teenage girl – and whether he paid her for sex, enticing her to cross state lines to do so, which is, what’s the word, again? Oh, right – child sex trafficking. And then there’s the frat-house move of Gaetz flaunting nude photos of his sexual conquests to other congressmen on the House floor.
As The Atlantic noted, this behavior in any other gig but Congress has the same ending: unemployment. But not in the District… Hell, it makes you a star. Gaetz has since denied the charges with a surreal third-person defense (“Matt Gaetz would never…”), and it’s come to light that he pleaded for a preemptive presidential pardon in the waning months of the Trump White House. Because you know, it’s nice to have one in your back pocket – just in case… Or if you’ve caught wind that you’re part of a federal sex crime investigation.
What will happen next for Gaetz? What new salacious, predatory, squirm-inducing details will fill our feeds and nightmares? And what righteous repercussions will befall him? Well, since it’s Washington, the same thing will happen that always happens: nothing. Or reelection.
The thing about dunces is, the moment you hear about their splash into idiocy, it’s never their first time. They’ve been dunce-ing it up for a while before they’re ever trending on Twitter.
In 2012, Bill Hwang’s hedge fund shorted the shares of three Chinese banks based on – you guessed it – inside information. Along with charges of market manipulation, Hwang pled guilty and paid more than $40 million in fines.
But just as Gaetz’s early indiscretions made him more qualified for politics, the SEC-slapped Hwang was ready for the Wall Street spotlight.
Cue his hedge fund Archegos Capital Management. Archegos in Greek means “the one who leads the way.” Well, to financial slaughter, perhaps. Like a freshly released convict casing his next heist, Hwang went to work on speculative, overleveraged (20-to-1) investing bets applying sketchy tactics as total return swaps – where you’re rewarded returns for an asset without actually owning it. Any time you hear “swap” in a Wall Street saga, you know there’s a crime scene nearby.
Hwang targeted ViacomCBS, Discovery, and Baidu (China’s Google), amassing his wealth in the shadows. He kept quadrupling down on his leveraged bets, like a narcoleptic Vegas gambler who keeps throwing chips on the blackjack table, even though he, the dealer, and the casino are all on fire.
But when ViacomCBS announced $3 billion in new shares, the market called his bluff. As Hwang’s brokers got wise to Archegos’ cash-strapped reality, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Credit Suisse dropped him faster than Gaetz with a woman his own age.
And just like that, $20 billion – gone.
In the 1974 classic movie Chinatown (directed by honorary Dunce Hall of Famer Roman Polanski), Jack Nicholson asks John Huston’s maniacal tycoon how much more money he needs. What else can he possibly buy? He replies with: “The Future.” But for the Bill Hwangs of the world, all they need to do is to look into the past… And there they’ll find all the answers, completely free of charge.