5 Embarrassing Episodes Starring The People In Charge
Every powerful person wants us to forget their past, because if their full truth became known, every one of them would be in that secret U.N. moon prison. But politicians also want us to forget their past because the past is hilarious, and every night, they remember the embarrassment and wince. Well, prepare to wince harder, powers that be, because we are dredging up your dumbest scandals again.
Mitt Romney And The Doggie Doo Road Trip
You may have heard this story if you were paying attention the last nine times Mitt Romney ran for president. But lately, Senator Romney has become better known for stuff like "acknowledging Donald Trump is not good for America" and "suggesting actually passing bills," enough to make people forget the more ridiculous stories from his past. We choose to forget nothing, and we insist that you too never forget about Mitt Romney and the Shower of Dog Poop.
The tale concerns the Romneys' dog, an Irish Setter who -- and we realize this part is confusing for those not well versed in American politics -- was not named "Mitt." "Mitt" is the name of the dad in this story, while the dog is named "Seamus." The Romneys were about to drive 12 hours for a lake trip to Canada in 1983, so five kids piled into the back of the station wagon, while Mitt stuck Seamus into a kennel strapped to the roof. That fact alone turned this into a scandal in later years, with people picturing a dog mistakenly left on top of speeding car, but the way Mitt describes it, he had built a windshield for the kennel so Shamus got fresh air but was spared 60 miles-per-hour winds.
Then, well into the trip and some time away from the next scheduled stop, young Tagg Romney noticed brown liquid snaking down the car's rear window. Seamus had let loose some doggy diarrhea. So Mitt pulled over at a gas station and did exactly what you'd expect a millionaire businessman to do: He borrowed a hose and washed Seamus and the vehicle himself. Then he ... put the dog back into the carrier and continued the trip.
Mitt's decision to stick Seamus back into the carrier, after receiving some semi-solid evidence that this mode of travel wasn't nearly as comfortable on the dog as he had hoped, reveals something about Mitt Romney's inability to adapt his views to account for new information. Either that or he realized that the dog was a loose stool time bomb, so it was now more important than ever that Seamus be kept out of the station wagon's interior. Either way, this added up to the second-cringiest Mitt Romney Dog Incident, the cringiest being the following 2008 campaign stop:
The Bumbling Love Life Of Gavin Newsom
Lest people accuse us of being politically biased, let's declare something formally: We believe that anyone, Republican or Democrat, might find themselves dating Kimberly Guilfoyle. That's former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, who left the network after being accused of sexual harassment. She then went on to a successful career in the Trump administration (the Trump-Fox News pipeline works both ways), and is now romantic partner to Donald Jr. But from 2001 to 2006, she was married to Gavin Newsom, then mayor of San Francisco and now governor of California.
Was there anything Trump-like about Guilfoyle's marriage to Newsom? Yes, since we categorize "bragging about his penis size" as Trump-like. It was 2004, Guilfoyle was speaking at a gay rights dinner, and the question arose over whether Newsom himself was gay, as rumored. "Is he hot? Yeah," said Guilfoyle. "Is he hung? Yeah." And is he gay? The punchline to this joke varies depending on whom you ask. Either Guilfoyle just said, "Not unless you're better than me," pointing at herself. Or, she said something to the tune of, "Not unless you give better blowjobs than me," while miming an action that news sources euphemistically called "eating a banana."
While that got a few tongues wagging (which is not a euphemism in this case), the greater gossip around Newsom came after he and Guilfoyle divorced and he immediately started dating a 19-year-old. People felt there was something weird about the mayor dating a lacrosse-playing sophomore. But there was nothing illegal about the relationship of course. Unless the role of consort to the mayor involves going to galas and drinking, in which case, yes, we suppose that's illegal.
Luckily, Newsom's girlfriend, Brittanie Mountz, had the perfect workaround for this. She went to her MySpace profile and changed her age there from 19 to the comfortably over-21 age of 26. This completely ended the controversy because, true fact, MySpace profiles were unimpeachable legal documents in 2006.
Chris Christie Ate How Much?
As the governor of a state, you have an expense account for dining. The idea is that you take people out and let taxpayers pick up the bill, which is not at all corrupt -- at least, not as corrupt as the alternative, in which people lobbying for your ear pick up the tab, with only the richest of them managing to meet with you. Chris Christie made good use of his expense account during his time in New Jersey. Over five years, he expensed $360,000 in food and drink. That's a perk equal to almost half of his pre-tax salary during that time.
So, we're all now picturing Chris Christie at a bunch of fancy restaurants, plotting how to burn down orphanages, or plant trees, or whatever it is governors plot. And he must have spent some of that money that way. But a review of his expenses also say he spent on groceries (unclear if this is what the expense account is meant for), "desserts," and a staggering $82,000 just on concessions at MetLife Stadium, where the Jets and Giants play.
That's not $82,000 for tickets at MetLife Stadium. As governor, he has his own luxury box (and we always assumed the luxury box comes stocked with basic refreshments). He spent $82,000 for snacks, over the course of just 58 transactions. So, an average of more than $1,400 per visit on food.
Now, that makes slightly more sense if you figure Christie kept stocking his luxury box with a dozen guests each time and used the stadium's pricey private catering. Either way, the people of New Jersey were steamed, and the Republican State Committee paid the amount back, just in case this matter would end up being his one obstacle thwarting Chris Christie's eventual certain future as party leader and president of the United States.
But Chris Christie did not provide receipts listing exactly what he'd bought. Therefore, nothing stops us from imagining that Christie went to these games alone and spent the entire amount to satisfy his own impressive appetite. By our calculations, that means he ate 40 hotdogs and 155 beers per game, or 10 franks and eight pitchers per quarter. What's that Chris Christie, you don't want us making these assumptions? Then itemize your expenses.
The Groundhog Who Chose Death Over Bill De Blasio
Groundhog Day, of course, is an extremely silly tradition, originally invented and existing even today exclusively as a publicity stunt. The media get a nonstory to report on, and some local official -- either in Punxsutawney or in any of the many other towns that hold their own groundhog ceremonies -- gets a photo op. Maybe the groundhog sees its shadow, maybe he doesn't. According to the latest scientific findings, this likely does not correlate with whether winter will continue, so there is really no way Groundhog Day can go wrong. Unless you drop the groundhog.
In the above video, you see New York Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014 at the Staten Island Zoo, whose annual Groundhog Day features resident meteorologist rodent Staten Island Chuck. The groundhog's handler guides the animal onto de Blasio's gloved hands. Chuck is skittish, and de Blasio struggles to twist his hands to keep the groundhog upright. It's no use -- Chuck is soon off the hands and falls five feet to the floor. A child screams. The adults all applaud.
A week later, the groundhog was dead.
According to the autopsy -- yes, animals receive autopsies when public figures may have contributed to their deaths -- the death resulted from internal injuries following a fall. Still, the zoo claimed that toppling from de Blasio's grasp wasn't the fall in question, but rather the animal must have fallen some other time, while no one was watching.
This all sounds very suspicious, all the more so when it came out that the groundhog who fell from de Blasio, the one who died, wasn't Staten Island Chuck at all. It was actually Chuck's granddaughter, a groundhog named Charlotte, who subbed in because Chuck himself had bitten de Blasio's predecessor, Mike Bloomberg. Neither woodchuck asked to participate in this nonsensical ritual, but Charlotte in particular had no good reason to be there. We hold de Blasio 100 percent responsible for not taking a groundhog-juggling course beforehand, and we dearly hope as punishment he receives some kind of unspecified holiday-themed curse.
Lauren Boebert And The Diarrhea Pork Sliders
To set up today's second diarrhea story, let's offer a crass joke about Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, the QAnon devotee most famous for vowing to bring her Glock with her into Congress, and then for refusing to pass through the new metal detector that checks for said Glock. Before getting elected, we bet Boebert waited tables at Shooters! Kind of like working at Hooters, except in this restaurant that we just we made up, the wait staff's gimmick is that when bringing you onion rings and jalapeno poppers, they all carry loaded guns. Ha, ha!
That is not a joke. Shooters Grill is real, though rather than waiting tables, Boebert owns the place.
In 2017, Shooters Grill (and the neighboring restaurant Smokehouse 1776, which Boebert also owns) sold food at an event called the Rifle Rodeo at the Garfield County fairgrounds. This was not a show where performers ride and shoot rifles but rather a rodeo in the municipality of Rifle, which is where Shooters is located. How Rifle got that name is a mystery; we're thinking it had something to do with rifles. Some 80 people had an awful time at the fair that day. They found themselves harboring a bit of Clostridium perfringens, a foodborne pathogen that gave them cramps, nausea, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, and chills.
After surveying as many of the affected as were able to speak audibly between groans of pain, county epidemiologists determined the source of the infection: pork sliders, served by the Shooters food stand. Investigating closer, they discovered that Boebert had applied for a license to sell food at the rodeo, had not received one, and then sold food anyway. The stand lacked any facilities for keeping the meat hot or cold, instead letting the pork stew at the medium optimal temperature for germ growth. The stand lacked any handwashing facilities, staff used bare hands on food, the place had just one set of tongs for serving everything, and there were no guards to keep bugs off the food.
The best defense against these accusations would be "It's a fair, what do you expect? If you don't get a little sick, you're not even trying!" Boebert's actual defense, through a spokesperson, was to say that Shooters received no fine over the matter, while not denying that their food caused the outbreak.
The real surprise in all this would be skill of the county health examiners, who swept in and swiftly investigated the incident. This wasn't their first rodeo, and they pinpointed what had gone wrong by couriering samples to a lab in Denver. That included stool samples, donated both by sick fairgoers and also by healthy fairgoers who just wanted to help out. Even those not affected by food poisoning were willing to give a crap.
Top image: Gage Skidmore