Tuesday, January 25, 2022


Responding to Marjorie Taylor Greene's endorsement of J.D. Vance in the Ohio Senate race, New York magazine's Ed Kilgore writes:
... it has to be sobering to the more thoughtful Republicans to watch this cartoon character become a national political force. She has now been in Congress just over a year. Her only accomplishments, best I can tell, have been losing her committee assignments thanks to revelations of the hateful and violent things she said on a host of social-media posts in the very recent past and ringing up record fines for defying House rules mandating mask use on the floor (she is, of course, proudly unvaccinated). She appears to spend much of the time she saves by having no real work running around the country with her buddy Matt Gaetz like a sort of evil Johnny Appleseed who starts fires instead of planting trees. Yet she’s raised over $6 million for her reelection campaign in a deep-red district and appears to have struck fear in the heart of House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, who can’t bring himself to rebuke her seriously.
The word "Yet" at the beginning of that last sentence reflects a profound misunderstanding of the situation: Obviously Greene has raised all this money precisely because she's the most proudly extreme wingnut in the House, despite very stiff competition.

And as for the notion that Greene has "struck fear in the heart of House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy," what evidence is there of that? The link goes to a post Kilgore wrote last February, just before Greene was stripped of her committee assignments on a party-line vote. Kilgore wrote then:
For all the talk about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy confronting his violence-loving freshman member Marjorie Taylor Greene and giving her a stern talking-to, it’s now obvious that he (and likely a majority of the House GOP Conference) lacks the guts to deal with her decisively. In a Wednesday statement characterized by evasions and whataboutism, McCarthy refused to discipline Greene and will clearly defend her against a Democratic move on Thursday to take away her tentative committee assignments.
At the time, McCarthy wasn't afraid of Greene -- he was afraid of the millions of angry wackaloons all over America who are Republican voters and who consider Greene a hero. Quite a few of those wackaloons are in McCarthy's own caucus. At the time, his job was probably at risk if he threw her under the bus.

But now it's clear that there's nothing for him to fear. Democrats could tarnish the Republican Party by portraying her as the face of the GOP, but they're unwilling to do that, or incapable, and McCarthy knows that. So she's not any kind of liability for him. If Republicans take the House back in the midterms, he'll probably announce the restoration of her committee assignments on Election Night, or maybe he'll announce that she's getting her dream assignments, whatever they are. Far from being afraid of her, he'll probably use his support for her as a shield to protect himself from a challenge to his speakership from the very far right. Oh, and his already announced plan to strip several Democrats of their committee assignments is a sign that he wants to be identified as the person who got vengeance for the punishment of Greene.

For McCarthy, Greene isn't a concern -- she's an asset. He doesn't fear her at all.

No comments: