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Life's a show, and Lauren Boebert only plays one role

Vaping in the middle of 'Beetlejuice' is who she really is.

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If Politico is to be believed, election-denying, gun-obsessed Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert is a changed woman. Or at the very least, a woman who contains multitudes. 

In a glossy profile published Wednesday, the outlet generously attempts to do some pretty hefty image laundering for the Colorado lawmaker. They suggest that despite her shrieking at President Biden during the State of the Union or getting into a public scuffle on the House floor with fellow unhinged Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, Boebert’s “embrace of a political split personality illustrates the limits of raucous Trump-first conservatism in a competitive district.” We’re supposed to believe that back home on the ranch she’s just a good ‘ol girl trying to get down to the business of governing.

But a story that broke Tuesday evening proves definitively that there is only one Lauren Boebert – and it’s the same one we’ve come to know.

Boebert and a companion went to the theater Sunday night in Denver to catch a performance of the musical Beetlejuice, and were subsequently kicked out for bad behavior. Surveillance video shows security approaching them a few minutes into the second act, and after a not insignificant amount of time, finally rising from their aisle seats and exiting the theater. The footage follows them into the lobby, where we see Boebert snap a selfie as she’s getting thrown out, then amble towards the door, turns around to point a finger in one of the security guard’s faces, and finally leaves the building.

According to the Denver Post, theater officials reported that Boebert and her companion were “vaping, singing, recording and ‘causing a disturbance’ during the performance,” and multiple audience members complained. Throughout the altercation with security, Boebert reportedly said things like “do you know who I am,” “I am on the board” and “I will be contacting the mayor.’ ”

Much like her defense of her MAGA compatriots storming the capitol, Boebert showed her disdain for the theater—another hallowed institution.

“They told me they would not leave. I told them that they need to leave the theater and if they do not, they will be trespassing,” one of the theater’s ushers said in the report. “The patrons said they would not leave. I told them I would (be) going to get Denver Police. They said go get them.”

This behavior contrasts wildly with what Politico quotes a local Colorado GOP official as saying: “She’s really done a good job of moderating. I think she realized, when she had to run against Adam the first time and barely won, that ‘I’ve got to start governing now.’” He’s referring to Democratic candidate Adam Frisch, who was just 546 votes shy of winning the 2022 election in their district. The two will likely face off again next fall. 

If Boebert is “moderating,” it’s hard to see where and how. 

“She’s not a very pragmatic person, and my assumption is that she’s proud of that,” Frisch told Politico. “Her team is trying to get her to change, but people are who they are.”

And Boebert has shown us who she is time and again. She believes in QAnon; She tried to bring a gun into Congress; She voted against a bill to help cancer patients; She heckled President Biden during the State of the Union as he was about to speak about his deceased son; She fomented a hate campaign against a government employee; and now she’s reached a new low by helping lead the charge to impeach Biden over…nothing.

All that evidence aside, Boebert makes it clear that a leopard never changes its spots. Despite the fact that the incident occurred in Colorado where she’s supposedly taking her job more seriously, her response says it all.

“It's true, I did thoroughly enjoy the AMAZING Beetlejuice at the Buell Theatre and I plead guilty to laughing and singing too loud!” she tweeted Tuesday night. “Everyone should go see it if you get the chance this week and please let me know how it ends!”

And in a statement provided to the media from her campaign manager Drew Sexton, he wrote, “I can confirm the stunning and salacious rumors: in her personal time, Congresswoman Lauren Boebert is indeed a supporter of the performing arts (gasp!) and, to the dismay of a select few, enthusiastically enjoyed a weekend performance of ‘Beetlejuice.’”

He [nauseatingly] added that his boss “appreciates the Buell Theatre’s strict enforcement of their no photos policy and only wishes the Biden Administration could uphold our border laws as thoroughly and vigorously.”

These two stories dropping within 24 hours reveal yet again the distressing tendency by some reporters to do image rehab for bad actors. In part, it’s a function of “access journalism”—trying to keep the powerful happy so they can continue to get quotes for their stories. 

“The segmentation of the press and the rise of social media have made it less necessary for candidates to sit down with interviewers who will challenge politicians on their statements and stances,” Parker Molloy, publisher of The Present Age on Substack, wrote for Dame last year. “A politician may no longer need legacy media to get their messages out to voters, which, in turn, creates perverse anti-journalism incentives for outlets and reporters to handle candidates with kid gloves. When journalists deviate from politicians’ preferred interview trajectory, they risk having their access to candidates cut off.”

In addition to satisfying the need for access, there’s another factor at play when it comes to these sorts of pieces: It’s the desire to convey a sense of “I know better than you,” and “Your assumptions about this very bad person are pedestrian at best.” To call a bad person a bad person is basic; to suggest they’re a political enigma is to demonstrate a level of sophistication only the most learned reporter can reach.

We’ve seen it happen time and again: The years of the Trump presidency were brimming with this sort of thing. After Michael Wolff published his scathing book about the then-president in 2018 in which he refers to him as a “dope,” “child,” and “idiot,” CNN had this to say:

The uproar sowed by Michael Wolff’s bestseller “Fire and Fury” left Donald Trump needing a counter-narrative and to project an image of control, authority and an even temperament.

On Tuesday, he largely pulled it off in a freewheeling meeting on immigration with Republican and Democratic leaders that he conducted for 55 minutes before the cameras…

Tuesday’s unexpected encounter showcased Trump’s flair for drama and his capacity to create an unexpected, reality show-style look behind the scenes of Washington bargaining. And it was perhaps Trump’s most effective effort yet to harness the theatrics and symbolism of the presidency to position himself as the dominant player at a key political moment – a skill he was slow to master in a tumultuous first year in office when his erratic behavior alienated many voters. 

This maddening pattern would continue throughout his presidency and beyond. 

This isn’t to say that people are incapable of evolution and growth. But when Lauren Boebert shows us who she is by vaping in the middle of a crowded theater, let’s believe her.

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