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Ex-Simpsons writer accuses Republicans of ‘Sideshow Bob defense’ in WaPo op-ed


Bill Oakley, a former writer for “The Simpsons,” in an op-ed for The Washington Post accused Republicans of inadvertently defending President Trump with a joke from a 1994 episode of the animated sitcom.

Oakley invoked a line from the episode “Sideshow Bob Roberts,” which he co-wrote with Josh Weinstein, in which the title character complains that he should not be in prison for attempted murder, rhetorically asking, “Do they give a Nobel Prize for attempted chemistry?”

Oakley, citing liberal columnist Jonathan Chait’s coinage of the “Sideshow Bob defense,” notes examples of Republicans who’ve defended Trump by arguing that even if he did seek a quid pro quo with Ukraine, there was no wrongdoing because it was unsuccessful.

“It’s hard to believe that the Sideshow Bob defense of Trump will be long-lived, as it fails to stand up to even the slightest scrutiny. It is literally a joke,” Oakley writes, noting that Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) drew a similar parallel in Wednesday’s impeachment hearing when he asked Ambassador William Taylor whether attempted murder was a crime.

“Indeed, many in the GOP have pivoted to a new defense of the president: The new argument is that famous corruption fighter Donald Trump just wanted to fight corruption wherever it may be found, with the assistance of his sidekick, famous corruption fighter Rudolph W. Giuliani,” Oakley wrote.

“’Oh come on now, that’s too much. People won’t seriously fall for that,’ Sideshow Bob might reply,” he continued. “And then, with an evil gleam in his eye: ‘ … Will they?’”

Tags Bill Oakley Donald Trump impeachment inquiry Joaquin Castro The Simpsons

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