OK, it’s official — I no longer care about Marjorie Taylor Greene. I don’t care that she was once a QAnon follower. I don’t care that she has this obsession with AOC. I don’t even care that she refuses to accept the results of last year’s presidential election and claims the Parkland school shooting was a “false flag” operation.
This is America, and she is entitled to her opinions. I just don’t care — and I’m sure she wouldn’t care if she knew that I no longer care. She probably wouldn’t like me, anyway.
However, the people who should care are the good folks in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District who elected her. Whatever money they spent to help her campaign along, they should demand it back, because it should be obvious by now that Ms. Greene — described by Wikipedia as “an American politician, businesswoman, and far-right conspiracy theorist” — is not in Washington to try and improve the lives of the people in her district. All she wants is a megaphone.
The 14th district is actually an exurb — Atlanta on one side and Chattanooga on the other –, and it is about as red as red gets. Tom Graves, Greene’s Republican predecessor, twice ran unopposed and was duly credited with 100 percent of the vote (not even one person voted for Mickey Mouse or Superman?).
Greene eventually ran unopposed once she survived the primary gauntlet. Democratic opponent Kevin Van Arsdale, apparently freaked out by some of Greene’s more vocal and hostile defenders, not only dropped out of the race but left the state.
All of which means Marjorie Taylor Greene didn’t need to be so outrageous. About the only thing that could have cost her the election — maybe — would have been a criminal conviction for molesting children. Kevin Van Arsdale didn’t have a prayer of beating her, and then even he was gone.
Indeed, the electoral history of the 14h District indicates that practically any living, breathing human being/candidate who declares himself or herself a Republican has a free ticket to Washington. Nevertheless, Greene managed to raise $2,596,914 in campaign funding, another $3.2 million after being elected. I would guess that only a small percentage of that windfall came from her district.
The MO is obvious here, happily adopted by other candidates nationwide. If you make a lot of controversial statements in a very loud voice, the media will be attracted to the noise like sharks to blood in the water. It doesn’t matter whether they are for or against you, just that lots of people from all over the country might hear about you and decide: “You know, she feels just the way I do. I think I’ll send her some money.”
Greene had moved to the 14th not long before the election and was probably a little light on matters of local concern, so all she did was promise to take her family values to Washington. She does have a family, a fair amount of money, and she goes to church regularly.
Nevertheless, it seems more and more apparent that being famous matters a lot more to her than serving her constituents. Whenever you read or hear about her, it is almost always in the context of doing something to thumb her nose at the Democrats. Couldn’t she have done that without being in Congress?
As for any Democrats in the 14th District, they might as well not even exist.
Here’s what I don’t understand about America as a political entity. More than 60 percent of us (still a small amount) will turn out for a presidential election, 20 percent for an election in our backyard. This is odd because the people we elect locally are the ones who will have much more of an effect on our lives — what our property taxes will be, how our schools are run, whether our potholes get filled — than any president ever will.
Still, a lot of people obviously voted for Marjorie Taylor Greene because they liked what she said about Donald Trump and gun rights and hoped she could perhaps use her influence in Washington in those directions. Instead, she has become a tabloid caricature. She was immediately given a seat on two important House committees, then had them taken away from her before the chairs were warm.
Since she’s been in Congress, Greene has sponsored just a handful of bills, at least half of them attracting zero co-sponsors. Her first was a call to impeach Joe Biden — submitted after he had been in office for a day. Others included two separate measures involving fellow Congressional member Maxine Waters — one to remove her from one of her committee posts, the other to evict her from Congress altogether. She did submit a request to honor the memory of Georgia sheriff Michael Garrigan, who died of COVID after being infected by a prisoner in his jail, and that was nice. As far as any other Georgia-related legislation, however, there was none.
I also looked up the legislative records of Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) and Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), two of the more extreme new legislators elected last year. Neither had much in the way of sponsored bills, but that’s generally true of most freshmen. Boebert wanted to strengthen the Capitol Police’s hand and praise the police in general for opposing what she called “the BLM riots” last year — somewhat contradictory, but fair enough. She also asked that the community of Silver Cliff, Co, receive its own zip code.
But then there was her call for a total moratorium on all immigration. This can be argued either way, I suppose, but what’s the point? It had no chance of passage in a Democrat-controlled House.
As for Cawthorn, he wanted to make Daylight Savings Time permanent, which at least seems apolitical enough. But he also proposed legislation to make Donald Trump’s uncompleted border wall a national monument (very low bi-partisan possibilities there).
The time being squandered here is mind-boggling. Some of the legislation we see is nothing but a knee-jerk reaction to some event in the daily news cycle, long before there is a chance for any perspective to take form. Suggesting other bills that have no prayer of passing is simply using Congress as a personal podium. That could be done on social media without wasting the taxpayers’ money.
There is a lot of blame to pass around for this state of affairs. TV news entities such as Fox and CNN have taken to giving obscure state (and even local) office-holders a national platform if they have something outlandish to say, thus rubbing salt in the wound of mindless partisanship. Voters, in many cases, elect individuals to public office whom they would never have hired for a job simply because of their stance on a single issue.
Yet politics is supposed to be a job, too. Let the Marjorie Taylor Greenes of the world get their attention fix somewhere else.
“This is a woman who is deeply unwell,” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said of Greene.
Maybe. Or maybe she’s crazy like a fox.
Darrell Laurant is a veteran journalist who previously worked at the News & Advance (Lynchburg). He published over 7,000 pieces in three decades. Darrell has covered papal visits, the Olympics, American sports, and political issues in Virginia. He has also written a variety of books, including "Inspiration Street: Two City Blocks that Helped Change America."