Make Marjorie Taylor Greene The Puppy-Killing Face Of The GOP
After Winning, Hit The Gas
Democrats turned out in droves for Election Day 2022, ruining the GOP’s dreams of a “red wave.” The results had the effect of giving President Biden the best midterm result in 20 years for a sitting president, and of utterly humiliating the propagandists at Fox News. Good news, all around.
That is why it is no time for the Democrats to take their foot off the gas and lean back, as so often happens after an election — especially one with a positive result.
Oliver Willis Explains is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
It is extremely likely that Republicans will take the House of Representatives, and even if that majority is down from Kevin McCarthy’s 60-vote dream he was crowing about a year ago and down to single digits or in the teens, it is still a majority. In the House that means extremist committee chairs and “investigations” based on whatever the conservative conspiracy theory of the moment is (Hunter Biden’s laptop! Suspicious “vote dumps!” Barack Obama’s birth certificate!).
This unfortunate turn of events can nonetheless be politically exploited by Democrats to make the case for returning the party to the White House and increasing Democratic membership in the House and Senate, ideally with majorities that can overcome a filibuster (and yes, they should ditch the filibuster but let’s just deal with one problem at a time).
I think one of the keys to doing this is Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Really.
Greene is one of the most visible Republicans in the country, at the tier right below the ubiquitous presence of Donald Trump, but definitely near the right’s summit. She easily won reelection and has a chip on her shoulder after Speaker Pelosi rightly sidelined her by stripping her ability to serve on committees. Kevin McCarthy will have to bend the knee to her as part of his (likely successful) bid to be Speaker of the House.
Democrats should use this.
For decades now, Republicans have used Speaker Pelosi as a boogeywoman. They have exploited her image, along with Secretary Hillary Clinton and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as a shortcut to their core voters brains: Put Democrats in charge and these “scary” women will ruin your life. The right has never been able to truly get their voters to the same white-hot level of anger about Presidents Obama or Biden — at least not as consistently as they’ve gotten them mad at Pelosi.
Despite an overflowing roster of conservative villainy, from Tucker Carlson to the Koch Brothers to Sen. Mitch McConnell, Democrats have not done as well at keeping a conservative in voter’s minds as shorthand for a nightmare scenario for liberal voters. There have been short term campaigns centered around Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump, but that fades away. For the foreseeable future, Greene is set to be a part of the high visibility wing of the Republican Party. So exploit that area of vulnerability.
As leader, McCarthy is bland and boring and while he should be frequently called out, Greene’s looming presence should constantly be invoked. Unlike Trump, she will be directly connected to legislative activity or inactivity. She can be the avatar through which Republican Congressional behavior is framed for the public.
When Republicans begin searching for scandal and slinging innuendo against Biden and others, that should be “Congressional Republicans, led by extremists like Marjorie Taylor Greene, are attacking the president while he’s leading the country.”
When Republicans attempt to hold the debt ceiling hostage and/or cut Medicare and Social Security, it should be “Congressional Republicans, led by Marjorie Taylor Greene, are trying to crash the economy and destroy the safety net that so many people rely on.”
Any topic which remotely involves congressional action can be laid at Greene’s feet, and because she will never shut up, she can also be the face of conservative mania and extremism.
By the same token, she also works well as a representative of Republican obstruction. Democrats should take the opportunity to introduce easy to understand legislation that unambiguously offers the public popular progressive solutions. Then, when Republicans predictably reject those legislative proposals, make Greene the face of that opposition.
If a Democrat proposes legislation against killing puppies and House Republicans refuse to consider it, then it’s “Republicans, led by Marjorie Taylor Greene, won’t even step up to help protect puppies. We need Democratic majorities to protect puppies.”
In a very real way this is true of the fight over abortion rights. The vast majority of Americans — as seen in the midterm election — support the abortion rights that were granted via Roe vs. Wade and they absolutely detest the Supreme Court decision and actions by Republicans to ban abortions. “Greene and her Republican allies are blocking women from having the full rights they deserve” is an accurate statement and quickly communicates the immediacy of the problem without getting into the weeds of wonkery.
Dare Republicans to stand in the way of popular ideas Americans want (their agenda is unpopular and rejected by most) and use their opposition to rally support for leadership that will enact those ideas and reforms.
But shouldn’t Democrats “just ignore” her? Won’t speaking like this elevate her?
News flash: She is already elevated. That issue was decided long ago. Democrats avoiding mention of Greene will not keep her out of the discourse as a face of conservatism, it will just allow her to be unchallenged.
Regardless of what Democrats would like in this world — the exclusion of extremist figures like Greene from our national discourse — she is going to be there. So instead of pining for a dream world that is impossible to attain for the forseeable future, use what you’ve got to get the public closer to the dream anyway.
Turn Greene into an albatross for the right, someone Republicans cannot distance themselves from out of fear of backlash to their base, but who is so venomous and cartoonishly grotesque in her ideas and rhetoric, that it is an instant turnoff to independent voters — while also a huge oppositional motivator to core liberal Democrats who (rightly) stand against everything she believes in.
Constantly stoking those fires over the next two years could do wonders as Democrats press the case to the public to keep going with Biden’s popular agenda and to expand upon it.
Greene is going to be around no matter what Democrats want, so get something out of her presence to make this country better.
Follow me, Oliver Willis, on Twitter @owillis
Exclusive Kal-El Photo
Kal absolutely loses his mind for lawnmowers and leaf blowers and construction noise, but while there were tropical storm winds whipping around our house this week, this was his very Zen-like demeanor (yawning). I can’t pretend to ever truly understand the mind of a dachshund.
Finally, someone who gets it! I hope with Fetterman’s victory, more Democrats start to realize the power of negatively branding your opponent, using them to give a face to unhinged ideas and grotesque policies, and keeping them on the defensive.
M.T. Head Green is a great figurehead for attacking Republican pathology.