When it comes to sports, politicians love nothing more than making cute public bets on big games. The public, on the other hand, couldn’t be more disinterested.
I can think of one personal exception: After the 2000 season, my beloved New York Giants lost one of the most lopsided Super Bowls ever played to the Baltimore Ravens. As part of a bet between the senatorial delegations of New York and Maryland, then-New York Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chuck Schumer were forced to read Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” — the reason Baltimore’s football team is thusly named, for those of you with a Common Core education — on Capitol Hill through the most forced smiles I’d ever seen either of those epic phonies attempt to pass off as genuine good cheer.
Sadly, this footage of two of my least favorite Democrats reciting poetry as if they were taking part in an Iranian hostage video has apparently been lost to the ether, as nobody’s even bothered to upload the spectacle to YouTube. In fact, the only evidence I could find that this wasn’t just some fever dream I cooked up from my youth is a CNN transcript of the event, which apparently transpired on Jan. 30, 2001. (The news cycle was slow enough at that point that the recitation was worth airing; nine months later, it might have been a different story.) Suffice it to say, it was the only redeeming aspect of one of my least favorite football games of all time.
Much like watching Sens. Clinton and Schumer eating raven on that January day 22 years ago, another congressional football wager has piqued my interest in an NFL game I would otherwise hate — because, thank ye God, Democrat California Rep. Eric Swalwell doesn’t know when to shut the heck up.
On Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers play each other in the NFC Divisional Round. Like any good Giants fan, I loathe the Cowboys with the passion of a thousand burning suns. I loathe the star-shaped logo, I loathe the pathetic “America’s Team” worship, I loathe the bandwagon fans who have never even caught a connecting flight in Dallas-Fort Worth, I loathe Jerry Jones, I loathe Jimmy Johnson’s perma-fixed hair, I even loathe the mostly un-loatheable Cowboy legend (and U.S. Naval Academy graduate) Roger Staubach. I loathe loathe loathe loathe loathe it all. Loathe it.
On the other hand, the San Francisco 49ers are Eric Swalwell’s favorite team, so I’m rooting for the Cowboys.
Mind you, it’s not just because Swalwell is one of the worst people in America’s worst political party during its worst post-Dixiecrat period. It’s because Swalwell wants to put a bit of skin in the game — and offered a typical politician’s wager to Texas’ most prominent politician.
“I will make this open bet to @tedcruz — if the @dallascowboys beat the @49ers I won’t tweet for the rest of January,” Swalwell tweeted Monday. “If the @49ers win you can’t tweet for rest of January. How Texan are you, Ted? Deal?”
I will make this open bet to @tedcruz — if the @dallascowboys beat the @49ers I won’t tweet for the rest of January. If the @49ers win you can’t tweet for rest of January. How Texan are you, Ted? Deal?
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) January 17, 2023
In football, one of the most important things a team can do is protect the quarterback’s blind side; there’s even a book and a movie adaptation of it that take their name from this concept, as you might be aware of. If a team fails at this task and a defender gets a clean hit on a QB who doesn’t see him coming, watch what happens:
That’s not what you want. Drew Brees is honestly lucky Brian Burns went for the strip and not the brutal blind-side hit. James Hurst beat on this one. pic.twitter.com/s7ZAEKCCGg
— Jeff Nowak (@Jeff_Nowak) October 25, 2020
And that’s what I love about Eric Swalwell: He’s a one-man football team who has no capacity for protecting his blind side:
How about we bet a Chinese dinner instead? https://t.co/7sSk1jwiGl
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 17, 2023
And Swalwell is out for the season with a stripped committee assignment. That’s gotta hurt, Jim.
— YAF (@yaf) January 17, 2023
For those of you with short memories: In December of 2020, Axios first reported that a Chinese spy named Fang Fang, also known as Christine Fang, had “developed extensive ties with local and national politicians, including a U.S. congressman.”
Guess which congressman? That’s right: Eric Swalwell! And not only that, Fang’s methods of intelligence networking included developing “romantic or sexual relationships” with her targets.
Since those facts were first reported two years ago, Swalwell has been given every opportunity to publicly state that he did not have a sexual relationship with Fang. He has failed to do so. Even Bill Clinton — whose inveterate sexual promiscuity was considered a given by the public when the scandal that led to his impeachment first broke — believed he had enough plausible deniability to tell America, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”
If Rep. Swalwell doesn’t think it’s in his best interests to publicly declare he didn’t have a sexual relationship with a Chinese spy — despite the fact he’s one of the most unadvisedly brash and talkative politicians in Congress — well, you do the math.
And yet, the Democrats failed to strip Swalwell of his position on the sensitive House Intelligence Committee because of, you know, stuff. Apparently, they trusted a man who allegedly lacked the sexual sophistication to avoid falling into a potential honeytrap with a Chinese spy to continue receiving classified information just because he had a D after his name.
New House Speaker Kevin McCarthy doesn’t quite share their their trust, however, and stripped Swalwell of the committee assignment as one of his first acts upon taking the gavel, the Washington Free Beacon confirmed on Jan. 10.
By the way, this isn’t the first time Cruz has managed to own Swalwell over his amorous dalliances with the Chinese Communist Party. (I mean, alleged dalliances. Cough cough.)
In October of 2021, Swalwell quote-tweeted a misleading clip of Cruz posted by liberal disinformation machine Aaron Rupar in which Rupar claimed Cruz was defending Nazi salutes during school board meetings. Swalwell then added to the misleading nature of the claim by saying Cruz was directly defending Nazis.
Just Ted Cruz defending Nazis. https://t.co/iCSWN83xC5
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) October 27, 2021
“You are frequently a liar (when you’re not sleeping with Chinese spies),” Cruz responded. “But here, you’re lie is exactly 180 degrees false. I was defending the right of citizens to denounce authoritarian policies. In other words, to OPPOSE Nazis (or petty tyrants), not to support them.”
You are frequently a liar (when you’re not sleeping with Chinese spies).
But here, you’re lie is exactly 180 degrees false. I was defending the right of citizens to denounce authoritarian policies. In other words, to OPPOSE Nazis (or petty tyrants), not to support them. https://t.co/EghsxDaWBo
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 27, 2021
And just like Swalwell apparently doesn’t check if the women he’s sleeping with might be Chinese spies, he also doesn’t check whether, you know, Ted Cruz’s favorite team is the Cowboys. Shocker of shockers, that’s not the case; Cruz, who grew up in Houston, is a supporter of his hometown Texans.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) September 10, 2017
However, it’s never too late to become a Cowboys fan. Heck, I’m one now. Go Dallas! Go Dak! Go Jimmy Johnson’s hair stylist! If this Giants fan can temporarily embrace the ‘Boys, surely Ted Cruz can.
And maybe he can do Swalwell one better on the bet: Instead of a Chinese dinner, the loser has to publicly declare on whether or not they’ve slept with a Chinese spy on Capitol Hill. Boy — that’s a bit more exciting than some politicians turgidly reciting Edgar Allen Poe to fill some CNN airtime, now, isn’t it?
I’m sure Sen. Cruz will have no problem being forthright and honest with the American people on the matter, should the 49ers win. What say you, Rep. Swalwell?
My assumption is that you’ll paraphraseth the raven: “Nevermind.”
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