The Simpsons has been a beloved television institution for over 30 years. The program is not only popular with kids and teenagers, it also knocks down pop culture and political figures with cutting wit. The show even joked about a Trump presidency all the way back in the year 2000.
One of the GOP messaging points during Trump’s impeachment inquiry was that an offense might have been attempted, but wasn’t successful. Some Simpsons’ fans have referred to this as “The Sideshow Bob Defense.” On Thursday, former Simpsons writer Bill Oakley penned an piece for The Washington Post explaining that the initial defense was written as a joke.
Oakley began the column with a quote from the Sideshow Bob character:
Convicted of a crime I didn’t even commit. Hah! Attempted murder? Now honestly, what is that? Do they give a Nobel Prize for attempted chemistry? Do they?
This line is nearly in lock step with one delivered by Laura Ingraham on Fox News last night. “Even assuming the Democrats’ strained and ridiculous interpretation of the facts…attempted bribery isn’t in the Constitution,” she told her viewers.
Ingraham was summarily corrected on Twitter by University of Alabama law Professor Joyce Alene.
Actually, it is. You see, the federal bribery statute, 18 USC 201, defines bribery to include attempted bribery. It's enough to "seek" a bribe – you don't actually have to pull your illegal scheme off. https://t.co/Q6KynEOQIF
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) November 15, 2019
Oakley ended his piece by comparing Sideshow Bob to Trump. “He’s (Bob) savvy enough to know that in Springfield — and, perhaps, elsewhere in the United States? — a middle-aged white male wearing a tie and saying anything with some conviction will be believed by at least 55 percent of people, especially if they already want to believe it.”
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Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey-based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com, and PoliticusUSA. An avid pet lover, he has been known to contribute to Pet Lifestyles Magazine. He enjoys sports, politics, technology, and spending time at the shore with his family.