The GOP in 2023: A Pop Quiz
What a rousing start to the new year the Republican party has had! Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s torturous 15-ballot path to the House speakership. Sniping among members of the GOP’s lunatic fringe. The seemingly endless stream of lies from now-Rep. George Santos of New York. The constant jaw-dropping flow of mendacity, madness, and moral turpitude. Here’s a quiz to gauge your command of recent news. (Answers appear at bottom.)
- Which of the following did Rep. Kevin McCarthy—in the words of Charlie Sykes, “the avatar of GOP cowardice, surrender, and humiliation”—not do to secure his election as speaker of the House, so far as we know?
A. Lowered the threshold for forcing a vote to remove the speaker from more than half the House GOP conference to any five of its members—later reduced to any single member.
B. Effectively agreed to give a small band of extremists key committee appointments as well as “carte blanche to disrupt the workings of the House—and to hold him hostage to their demands.”
C. Pledged his support for reviving the Holman rule, which will allow members of the House to move to defund any programs, investigations, or agencies they don’t like.
D. Sold his eternal soul to someone named “B.L. Zebub.”
- How many Republicans in Congress did Donald Trump manage to persuade with his impassioned Truth Social post (“REPUBLICANS, DO NOT TURN A GREAT TRIUMPH INTO A GIANT & EMBARRASSING DEFEAT”) urging them to support McCarthy?
- Match the quote with the person who said it (worth up to six points):
Options: Marjorie Taylor Greene, Elon Musk, Kevin McCarthy, Nancy Pelosi, Donald Trump, Matt Gaetz
A. “Every single Republican in Congress knows that Kevin does not actually believe anything. He has no ideology.”
B. “Kevin McCarthy should be Speaker.”
C. “If Republicans are going to fight, we ought to be fighting Mitch McConnell and his domineering, China loving BOSS, I mean wife, Coco Chow.”
D. “Lying to the base is a red line for me.”
E. “This is a problem of their own making.”
F. “See, this is the great part. Because it took this long, now we learned how to govern.”
- What issues have Republicans in Congress not identified as being among their legislative priorities?
A. Ensuring that all Americans have access to health care, a clean environment, affordable education, and equal opportunity.
B. Taking an even deeper dive into Hunter Biden’s laptop.
C. Looking into the evidence they say they have of federal crimes committed by the Biden family, including wire fraud, violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, human trafficking, tax evasion, and money laundering.
D. Investigating whether former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Department of Justice violated the civil liberties of the rioters and insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
- What barb did Rep. Lauren Boebert hurl at Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, often seen as a close comrade, over her support for McCarthy?
A. “I’ve been aligned with Marjorie and accused of believing a lot of the things that she believes in. [But] I don’t believe in Russian space lasers, Jewish space lasers, and all of this.”
B. “If she’s not careful, people are going to start to think she’s a bit nutty.”
C. “The only reason she supports Kevin for speaker is because he can put her in a position of real power and influence, and allow her to guide the political direction of the entire Republican party.”
D. All of the above.
- What did Greene say about Boebert in response?
A. “She childishly threw me under the bus for a cheap sound bite.”
B. “The country is facing extremely difficult times. Americans expect conservative fighters like us to work together to Save America and that is the only mission I’m 100% devoted to, not high school drama and media sound bites.”
C. “Save America! Defeat the Democrats!”
D. All of the above.
- Which of the following representations by Republican Rep. George Santos is evidently true?
A. He is a “proud American Jew” whose grandparents’ are survivors of the Holocaust.
B. He attended Horace Mann private school, New York University, and Baruch College.
C. His mother worked at the South Tower and died as the result of the 9/11 terror attacks.
D. He founded a charity called Friends of Pets United.
E. He worked at Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.
F. He owns 13 properties.
G. He employed four of the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre in 2016.
H. He was inspired to run for Congress by Donald Trump’s success in the political arena.
I. He helped develop a breakthrough carbon capture technology.
- More than half of the freshman Democrats newly inaugurated to the 118th Congress are . . .
A. Illegal immigrants.
B. Cannibals who engage in the sex-trafficking of children.
C. The children or grandchildren of people who perished during the Holocaust, on 9/11, or both.
- How many of the record 13 members of Congress who identify as being LGBTQ are Republican?
- What did Jason T. Schofield, the Republican elections commissioner for Rensselaer County in upstate New York, recently do?
A. Get hit with a 12-count federal criminal indictment for leading a scheme to fraudulently obtain and file absentee ballots.
B. Agree to plead guilty to the charges against him.
C. Be reappointed to a second term by the GOP-led county legislature.
E. All of the above, in that order.
- What explanation has Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin not offered in response to revelations that he actively participated in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election?
A. “I was aware that we got this package [containing a slate of fake electors declaring that Trump won the election in Wisconsin] and that somebody wanted us to deliver it, so we reached out to [Vice President Mike] Pence’s office.”
B. “My involvement in that attempt to deliver [this slate of fake electors to Pence] spanned the course of a couple seconds.”
C. “I have no recollection of the phone call referenced in the texts [exchanged by state GOP officials stating that he “now is arguing for us to have the legislature choose the electors. OMG”], and therefore do not know the context of any comment I might have made.”
D. “I’m just a singer in a rock and roll band.”
- What facetious claims made in a recent article from the Real Raw News, a satire website, were picked up as true and shared widely on social media?
A. That contrary to initial denials, Jewish space lasers are real and account for nearly all of the alleged impacts of so-called climate change.
B. Hunter Biden has been found to have a second laptop, one that he uses to play Scrabble with members of an international drug cartel who also eat babies.
C. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was arrested by U.S. special forces, charged with treason and seditious conspiracy, taken to a safehouse to sober up, and hauled off to Guantanamo Bay.
D. Donald Trump has acknowledged that he lost the 2020 election and apologized for his role in the January 6th insurrection.
- D. The name is rendered as it is phonetically pronounced. Sources for the other concessions can be found here, here, here, and here. The “carte blanche” quote is from the New York Times.
- D. Zero. There were 20 GOP votes against McCarthy at the end of the first day of balloting and 20 against him on three votes the following day, after Trump tweeted his support.
- A. The comments about Hunter Biden’s laptop (B) and alleged evidence of federal crimes (C) were made in November by Rep. James Comer, a Republican from Kentucky, now chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. The pledge to probe the harsh treatment of insurrectionists (D) was made in a closed-door meeting reported by the New York Times.
- A. Boebert made this comment at an “AmericaFest” event with Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk.
- D. Greene made these comments in a series of tweets.
- H. Santos said this in a 2021 interview with the former president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump. A deconstruction of his other claims can be found in a helpful article by the New York Post.
- D. The 118th Congress is the most diverse in U.S. history, with 140 members—more than a quarter of the total—identifying as black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, or Native American. Of these, 113 are Democrats and 27 are Republicans.
- B. The only avowedly gay Republican member of Congress is George Santos, who has lied about virtually every (other) aspect of his background and identity. Santos, purportedly the first openly gay non-incumbent Republican ever elected to Congress, was once married to a woman and is now married to a man, and is a proud supporter of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s anti-LGBTQ “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
- E. He was charged in September, agreed to plead guilty to the charges against him just hours before he was reappointed on December 13, and resigned in late December, ahead of a scheduled court appearance of January 11. His case, noted the New Republic, “follows a wider trend of Republican officials and voters being guilty of the phantasmal voter fraud they so often fearmonger about.”
- D. Johnson is not even known to be a Moody Blues fan. He told CNN in June about the “somebody” who wanted the package delivered, adding that he had “no idea” who this somebody was; made his “couple seconds” remark to a Madison television station in August; and claimed in a statement last week in response to newly released documents for the House Jan. 6th committee that he could not recall his call to state GOP chair Andrew Hitt, a plot participant.
- C. The article and a Facebook post that included it was shared hundreds of times on social media. The U.S. Navy publicly debunked the report, which was followed by an Real Raw News article in late December reporting that she had been hanged.
When you’ve completed the quiz, add up your score and see what your performance says about you:
1–5: You know enough about current events to be concerned, but not so much that it’s driven you mad.
6–10: Your sanity is being threatened by your political awareness.
11–15: Your friends and colleagues discuss you in hushed tones. They know that you know what’s going on, and it breaks their hearts.
16 or 17: You are condemned to perpetual remembrance of what has happened to the party of Lincoln. Bummer.