In 1994, there was a memorable episode of The Simpsons called, "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy." In the episode, Grampa Simpson came up with a sexual elixir, and couples throughout Springfield eagerly bought the tonic.
It wasn't long, however, before the children of Springfield started wondering why their parents kept going to bed much earlier than usual, so the kids held a treehouse meeting in the hopes of coming up with a credible explanation.
After some discussion, Milhouse stood at a chalkboard and presented the prevailing theory: "OK, here's what we've got: the Rand Corporation, in conjunction with the saucer people, under the supervision of the reverse vampires, are forcing our parents to go to bed early in a fiendish plot to eliminate the meal of dinner! We're through the looking glass here, people."
In the episode, the kids couldn't recognize the simple and obvious explanation, so they concocted an outlandish tale, involving made-up villains and a ridiculous conspiracy that didn't make any sense.
The episode came to mind yesterday afternoon watching Team Trump's lawyers hold a bewildering press conference at the Republican National Committee.
President Donald Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, took the president's voter fraud claims even further on Thursday, baselessly alleging during a frenzied news conference that the fraud was nationally coordinated. The president's legal team alleged already debunked claims of voter fraud, baseless allegations of corrupted and hackable voting machines, election interference by foreign communists, and even references to antifa.
Giuliani's central claim -- detached from reality -- is that there's a "pattern" of fraud emanating from "a centralized place," as part of a nefarious "plan" that apparently exists only in his imagination.
And then it got worse. Sounding every bit as unhinged as Milhouse in the treehouse, the outgoing president's lawyers concocted a hysterical tale involving George Soros, "communist money," the Clinton Foundation, Venezuela, antifa, Cuba, and possibly China. Apparently, all of this also has something to do with Hugo Chavez, who's been dead for seven years.
Team Trump didn't get around to referencing the saucer people or reverse vampires, but I can only assume they're holding onto this for the attorneys' next press conference.
Like the children of Springfield 26 years ago, the president's lawyers can't recognize the simple and obvious explanation -- Trump lost because most Americans preferred his opponent -- so they concocted an outlandish tale, involving made-up villains and a ridiculous conspiracy that didn't make any sense.
Christopher Krebs, who led the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency until a few days ago, described the press conference as "the most dangerous [1 hour and 45 minutes] of television in American history. And possibly the craziest."
Quite right. Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and the rest of the presidential legal team set fire to whatever remained of their credibility, peddled a ridiculous story, lied uncontrollably for nearly two hours, all in the hopes of undoing the results of an American election.
But after the crazypants event ended, and much of the political world pondered the strange liquid that poured down both sides of Giuliani's face during the press conference, the Republican National Committee published a tweet claiming that Donald Trump won the 2020 election "by a landslide." And to a very real degree, this was every bit as alarming as the press conference itself.
It served as evidence that a once-great American political party has arrived at a bonkers point in history, publicly declaring that a president who lost a free and fair election should hold onto power because reality has no meaning.
And perhaps worst of all, many rank-and-file Republicans will believe the stark-raving-mad lies, assuming their party and its president are reliable and trustworthy.