Ignoring Marjorie Taylor Greene Like An Ingrown Toenail Won’t Make Her Go Away
How do you solve a problem like Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Republican congresswoman from Georgia and coveter of Jewish space lasers? White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki refused to comment on Greene during a press briefing Friday, claiming that would only “elevate conspiracy theories." However, Greene isn't Beetlejuice or Candyman where you can avoid any unpleasantness if you don't say their names out loud. Greene is a sitting member of Congress.
Psaki on why she won't talk about Marjorie Taylor Greene: "We don't want to elevate conspiracy theories further in… https://t.co/d15YthnhWv— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1611934755.0
It stands out to me that a Black woman reporter sounds alarms about a white supremacist in Congress and the press secretary's response is “We have more important things to worry about." It's not elevating Greene's crackpot beliefs to acknowledge they exist and that Greene is an active threat to the nation.
Charlie Warzel at the New York Times also warned against directly engaging Greene. We run the risk of making her a big star, a CELEBRITY, somebody everyone knows!
The problem with this argument is that not even Democrats believe the GOP making Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib "stars" was a positive for Democrats at the ballot box. Moderate Democrats complained on a conference call that they got "killed" because of the supposed "socialist" wing. Do white moderates believe that liberal women of color are more damaging politically than complete wackjob white congresswomen? That's a rhetorical question.
Warzel suggests that the media and Democrats “ignore" Greene, who is after all just a freshman House member with limited power, but Republicans made gains down ballot in 2020, in part because they argued that the Squad would call the shots for Democrats. Supposed “good Republican" Nancy Mace rose to fame after attacking Ocasio-Cortez's fashion choices at the State of the Union. She later went on to defeat moderate South Carolina Rep. Joseph Cunningham.
It's also incredibly short-sighted to think that Greene, whose unfitness hasn't stopped her so far, won't advance higher in politics. She could conceivably run for the Senate in 2022 and win. She's popular with the base and has the full support of the previous White House occupant.The so-called “good Republicans" will still vote for her in the general election against incumbent Raphael Warnock because they want to win back the Senate. Hell, Gabriel Sterling voted for David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler even after everything those clowns did.
If a significant segment of the Republican electorate is QAnon-curious, we should hammer them with this fact until the remaining Republicans can no longer remain the same party. There is strength in numbers and every superficially benign Republican from Nancy Mace to Claudia Tenney benefits from the Greenes and Lauren Boeberts, especially if they pay no political cost for associating with them.
There's a solid argument that ignoring Greene is how she won in the first place. Republican leadership issued tepid rebukes of her racist, anti-semitic, Islamophobic, and otherwise crazypants statements. They did very little to actually stop her, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy remain neutral in her GOP primary. Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, and Rep. Jim Jordan were critical early supporters. Democrats didn't directly link Republicans in swing districts with Greene, and the media didn't hit Republican leadership about her daily. Going into the midterms, which are historically hostile to the party in the White House, it would behoove Democrats to saddle every supposed “normal" Republican with Greene, who is messy and loves drama.
But beyond political calculations, there's the reality that violent white supremacists don't foster a healthy working environment for minority House members. Greene walks around the Capitol with her face hanging out during a pandemic. Rep. Cori Bush asked her to put on a mask, which CNN interpreted as Bush “starting the altercation." Please note that Congress members have caught the coronavirus after spending time in close quarters with maskless idiots. Greene and her equally terrible staff berated Bush and targeted her on social media. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi moved Bush's office for her own safety. I hope it's a better office, not just separate and potentially less equal.
I am retweeting this video clip without comment. The video speaks for itself. https://t.co/LReRzluhjb— Ted Lieu (@Ted Lieu)1612044792.0
The New York Times wrote:
Ms. Greene, 46, has also created a dilemma for Republican leaders, who for months have been unwilling to publicly rebuke or punish her in any way for her inflammatory statements, in part for fear of alienating voters delighted by her incendiary brand of politics and conspiratorial beliefs.
Democrats and the media should force Republicans to choose between their most deranged voters and the respectability they still somehow possess. Ignoring Marjorie Taylor Greene just makes it easier for them. However, I'm not in the “make life easier for Republicans" business.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."