U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia has had her 15 minutes of fame. It’s time to move on to more substantial issues in Washington.
Despite a hypocritical flip-flop on Thursday when she renounced a number of the controversial positions she had repeatedly endorsed previously, Greene was stripped of her committee assignments by the members of Congress.
In a press conference Friday, she spun the events to say that losing her committee seats was a good thing, and that now she would be “freed” to do more important work, and that serving on Congressional committees was “wasting time.”
Congressional committee assignments are typically a partisan affair, with the leadership of each party deciding which members will serve on which committees. When the Republican leadership refused to remove Greene from her committee appointments, the body as a whole took action instead, with 11 Republicans voting with Democrats that she should be punished.
Many Republicans in the Congress felt Democrats had overstepped their bounds in taking action against Greene in a manner that violated the traditional way of doing business in the Congress. Democrats, meanwhile, felt they were forced into action because Republicans refused to do anything about the disruptive freshman representative from Georgia.
Greene made a name for herself on the national stage with her unwavering support for former President Donald Trump and by espousing her beliefs in a number of conspiracy theories to the delight of those on the farthest extreme of the conservative political scale. Thursday, she recanted her support for some of those theories, saying she really did believe the terrorist attacks of 9/11 happened after all, and that she knew school shootings were real despite having said in the past that they were not.
Those who voted for her based on what she said before should not be as outraged as those who did not.
In the aftermath of the mob’s attack on Congress on Jan. 6 and the attempt to stop the peaceful transition from one presidential administration to the next, Greene’s presence in the U.S. House has made for great political drama. It is time for the curtain to drop and for more important business to be handled.
It’s not as though Georgia hasn’t had a few controversial characters representing parts of the state in the Congress before, from both ends of the political spectrum.
Remember ultra-liberal Cynthia McKinney, who once was accused of attacking a Capitol police officer because he failed to recognize her? Newt Gingrich, who bounced from one scandal to another and once bemoaned the fact that his fellow Republicans were not “nasty” enough? Larry McDonald, the uber- conservative John Bircher, who may have had his own spy organization in his personal crusade against Russia? And let’s not forget Hank Johnson’s concern about Guam tipping over if too much of the weight shifted from one side of the island.
The state has been in this sort of spotlight before.
Had we not just exited the Trump administration, had there not been an attack on the American government, had the fires of political partisanship not been stoked to such intensity in Washington (nasty enough now, Newt?), had the voices of so many Americans not been deemed irrelevant by those in positions of power, Marjorie Taylor Greene would just be another gadfly on the far end of the political spectrum, where many others of both parties have resided before. A vocal outlier of little consequence beyond inflammatory sound bites.
Instead, she’s caught more of the media spotlight than she deserves.
Republicans in positions of leadership on both the state and national level should have distanced themselves from Greene and rejected her nonsense long before this week’s action in Congress. That they did not shows an allegiance to political party and to the supporters of Donald Trump that is dangerous to the nation’s future.
In the end, however, Greene was elected to serve a single district of Northwest Georgia. It is up to the voters of that district to decide her fate. She does not represent the entire state, nor does she deserve any special attention at the national level beyond that of a freshman member of Congress who now serves on no committees within that body.
Much of what Greene has said in the past is repulsive and irrelevant. Her preference for repeating inane conspiracies and refusing to accept established facts is indicative of someone for whom advancing a particular position for personal gain is more important than the people she was elected to serve, the Constitution she professes to uphold, and the foundations upon which the nation sits.
That she would say she now knows better, and should not be judged on her past actions, without any offer of an apology for the harm done, says all we need to know about her character.
There are huge problems that must be resolved in Congress if the nation is to survive. Rep. Greene is very unlikely to be a positive factor in resolving any of them. It’s time to move on.
Times editorial board
Norman Baggs, general manager
Shannon Casas, editor in chief