What to do about Marjorie Taylor Greene?

Along with Democrats, many Republicans are calling for newly elected Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s expulsion from Congress because of her controversial comments about school shootings and Jews starting forest fires with space lasers.  Daniel Greenfield writes at frontpagemag.com that kooks like her sabotage our efforts against the Democrats.

Greenfield makes a legitimate point: GOP crackpots can indeed inflict tremendous damage on the party.  Who could forget Todd Akin’s comment about “legitimate rape”?  Not only did Republicans drop him like a hot potato, but his Senate run against Claire McCaskill imploded. A similar fate befell Indiana’s Richard Mourdock for an equally bizarre rape comment and, thus, Democrats rode the Republican “War on Women” all the way to Obama’s re-election. 

But, unless MTG did something criminal or morally repugnant, just because we think we know better – and maybe we do – should House Republicans be able to nullify her election by giving her the boot? (Liz Cheney’s situation differs in that Republicans seek to remove her as Conference Chair, not from holding office.)  Isn’t Greene entitled to her opinions—no matter how wrong, repugnant, or absurd they may be—in the same way that Adam Schiff’s belief that Trump urinated on Obama’s hotel bed, is still indulged? 

Such folly isn’t just for conservatives.  Every time Pelosi opens her mouth something ridiculous falls out, like passing a bill in order to read it.  The Squad speaks almost exclusively in anti-Semitic and racist tongues.  Hank Johnson feared Guam would tip over from the weight of soldiers.  Whites are racists because of their skin color.  Trump murdered all Covid victims and Cruz tried to murder AOC.    

Asinine comments, wacky conspiracies, and baseless theories abound on both sides of the aisle.  It’s just that the left and right deal with them differently. As soon as someone in the GOP missteps, Republicans jump ship -- as we saw when scores of Republicans abandoned Trump after the Capitol “riot.”  We turn on our own… on a dime.  Republican calls for resignations, ousters, and impeachments often precede Democrat demands for the same!

The Dems, on the other hand, either ignore the condemned behavior or form an impervious, protective barrier shielding the accused from any consequences.  We see this daily with the Squad whose offensive remarks about Jews and America go unchallenged by the party of tolerance.  The Dems even go so far as to legitimize crank ideas by mainstreaming them — as we saw when the party marched in lockstep claiming Trump was a Russian agent, his Ukrainian call was impeachable, and his election scrutiny amounted to incitement to insurrection.    

Republicans generally have a strong moral compass.  We know when to rebuke or expel our own, deny them financial support, or primary them.  We can ignore opposition demands about our members who misstep; or swarm around our own kooks, just as the Dems do with theirs. However, I am not suggesting we do either in regard to Rep. Greene.      

Although Greenfield wants to rip out the infected organ before it damages the rest of the body, I am suggesting a course of anti-biotics and lifestyle changes first, to save the organ before we are forced to excise it.

In that connection, as someone who is Jewish, I consider myself an ambassador for my people when it comes to dealing with anti-Semitism.  Before I dismiss someone, I try to engage them in conversation and explain why they are wrong or why what they say is hurtful and insulting.  I have found more success that way, than turning them away.

Former House member J.C. Watts, Jr. similarly recounts in What Color is a Conservative, how a Klan member’s call to his father’s radio show turned into a discussion that led to a friendship and his ultimate renunciation of the Klan.  While some people can never be reasoned with, others are willing to learn and often make the best advocates against hate.

Thus, I would ask Rep. Greene to meet with a Jewish Republican like Lee Zeldin and another Republican Greene knows and is comfortable with, for a respectful conversation about anti-Semitism and the absurdity of her other comments.

If they come to an understanding, we should support her in issuing an apology, in which she thanks her colleagues for their outreach and help in understanding why her comments were hurtful, expresses regrets that she was misinformed, and apologizes to America’s Jews and the Sandy Hook families. 

If Greene doesn’t see anything wrong with these ideas, then, even if we find them reprehensible — as we do with countless Democrats — we can distance ourselves from her, deny her leadership positions, even funding for re-election, and primary her in 2022.  But we should let the voters decide.   

Greenfield said “voters had the right to elect her but republicans don’t need to be stuck with her.” This is a slippery slope Republicans should be uncomfortable traversing.  It opens the door to endless potential battles among Republicans with varying views on myriad issues.  The GOP has had many internal conflicts over the decades on issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and immigration.  Do we really want to weaponize our differences against one another, to the advantage of the Democrats? 

If the GOP can nullify an election by expelling Greene for believing conspiracies, hoaxes, and just plain bizarre and borderline anti-Semitic tropes, where does this go?  Let’s not forget John McCain and Mitch McConnell called Tea Party conservatives “wacko birds” and tried to thwart the Tea Party’s rise.  Romney  says that “we should separate ourselves from wacky weeds.”   But one man’s wacky weed might be another’s truly held beliefs.  Who will be making those judgments? 

Today, one might be ousted for being a wacko tea party conservative; tomorrow for being a Trump supporter.  Today, for believing in Q-Anon; tomorrow for questioning the wisdom of men competing in sports as women.  Today, for denying anthropogenic global warming; tomorrow for believing in G-d. 

What’s to stop a Republican from demanding a duly-elected Republican president be removed because he suggested some kind of disinfectant be used against Covid, once said “grab ‘em by the pussy,” or was accused of inciting a mob by challenging the legitimacy of an election?

Romney is terrified the Dems will brand us as they see fit, but they labeled us crazies, haters, gun-toting religious zealots, anti-Semites, racists, and now insurrectionists…long before Marjorie Taylor Greene took center stage.    

Republicans have to ask if they really want to model their behavior on that of the Democrats.  At a time when we are battling this invidious cancel culture, do we really want to be in the cancellation business ourselves?

Photo credit: YouTube screengrab via Wikimedia Commons