March 25, 2024 | Reading Time: 5 minutes

Maga Republicans in the House believe in brute strength alone

Democracy confuses Marjorie Taylor Greene, writes Stephen Robinson.

Courtesy of Fox, via screenshot.
Courtesy of Fox, via screenshot.

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Editor’s note: The following first appeared in The Play Typer Guy, Stephen’s newsletter about politics and the arts. –JS

The Republican House majority is an absolute disaster. It doesn’t bother to govern and can’t even effectively run sham impeachments. Members are resigning, and now it’s facing the loss of its third speaker in two years. It’s an impressive record of rank incompetence.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene hurled a grenade at Republican leadership on Friday when she announced that she’d moved to replace Christian nationalist dreamboat Speaker Mike Johnson.

“I filed the motion to vacate today, but it’s more of a warning than a pink slip,” Greene told reporters who provided her the attention she desperately craves. “I respect our conference. I paid all my dues to my conference. I am a member in good standing and I do not wish to inflict pain on my conference and to throw the House in chaos.”

Actual governance is the one unforgivable sin in the maga mad House.

It’s unclear what Greene means when she says she “paid her dues.” She’s only been in Congress since 2021 and she attempted a coup on her fourth day. Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy laughably described Greene yesterday as someone who cares about policy, but she’s sponsored no constructive legislation and has mostly just harassed Democrats and defended insurrectionists. Maybe she’s literally paid dues, as though the Republican caucus is a restricted country club. It’s honestly hard to follow anything she says considering that brain worms scurry out of her mouth whenever she speaks.

“But this is basically a warning,” Greene added without actually grasping the definition of the word, “and it’s time for us to go through the process, take our time and find a new speaker of the House that will stand with Republicans and our Republican majority instead of standing with the Democrats.”

Johnson offended Greene when he briefly aligned with Democrats to prevent a senseless government shutdown and passed a $1.2 trillion spending bill, which Greene soberly describes as an “atrocious attack on the American people.” She claimed that the bill prioritizes progressive policies, but in reality it funds Defense, Financial Services, Homeland Security and other agencies. I suppose it is a progressive preference that government exists and actually functions while the far-right nihilist caucus would see it all burn down.

Greene had ranted Friday morning on the House floor that “this is not a Republican bill; this is a Chuck Schumer, Democrat-controlled bill.” It’s true that the bill only had support from about half the Republican conference, and that violates the child molester speaker’s rule about only bringing a bill to the floor if it has support from a majority of the Republican majority.

Greene hasn’t made her motion to vacate privileged, perhaps because the dues-paying House member doesn’t fully understand what that means, so it won’t be considered until after the Easter break. The current congressional recess ends on April 9, although it feels as if this entire congressional session has been one long recess at a pre-school for particularly unruly children.

More Republicans flee sinking, rat-infested ship
After Ken Buck from Colorado bolted the premises last week, the maga majority was just 218 to 213. Then Mike Gallagher from Wisconsin announced on Friday that he’s leaving before the end of his term. He wasn’t running for re-election anyway, but he’s chairman of the select committee investigating the Chinese Communist Party, and serves on the Intelligence Committee. It’s considered unusual for someone with such plush assignments to bail before the end of their term, but that just reinforces what a hellish environment the House currently is. It’s arguably worse for normal-presenting Republicans who have to work with perpetual rage machines like Greene.

“Normally, they’re trying to talk people out of retirement,” a House Republican told Axios. “Now we’re at a point where we’re trying to talk them out of leaving early.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had reported that Gallagher’s “future work will be in-line with his national security goals and focus on defense policy,” and Gallagher has just accepted a position with defense contractor Palantir. Gallagher is a “China hawk” who supported banning TikTok because China can “surveil its users,” but the Peter Thiel-founded Palantir is a US surveillance firm. That’s “America First” for you.

Gallagher was openly frustrated with the maga House and was one of the few Republicans, along with Buck, who voted against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The frustration is reflected in the timing of his departure. He’s set to bounce on April 19, well after the April 2 deadline to hold a special election to fill his seat for the rest of the year. That seems like a deliberate kick in the pants, or maybe there was a waffle party scheduled for April 18 that he didn’t want to miss.

Fox host Laura Ingraham was predictably furious over this setback and suggested that future House Speaker Hakeem Jeffries should send Gallagher a fruit basket because he “made an affirmative decision to give Democrats more power.” Ingraham was so mad she apparently forgot how to spell “pathetic.”

Greene demanded that Johnson, who she wants to fire him as speaker, immediately expel Gallagher so they can hold that special election.

“Speaker Johnson has also failed our majority,” Greene told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo, “to leave Congress after the deadline date where his district can hold a special election and elect a new representative for the rest of this Congress. Mike Gallagher betrayed all of us, and Speaker Johnson, who’s responsible for our majority, praised Mike Gallagher on Friday after he announced his departure, saying he’s great and thanking him and praising him for his service in Congress. Speaker Johnson should be forcing Mike Gallagher to leave early so his district can hold a special election, and any strong speaker of the House would expel a member for leaving our razor-thin majority in such a delicate, delicate state.”

A consistent theme of this freak-show Congress is that maga believes it can achieve its aims through brute strength alone, even it doesn’t have the votes. A “strong” speaker can’t summarily expel a House member, no matter how much they flex their muscles. That requires a two-thirds vote in the House, and absolutely zero Democrats will help Republicans in this situation. Gallagher isn’t a crook like George Santos, and it’s in Democrats’ best interests to leave a reliably Republican seat vacant until the next Congress. Greene is a bigot, a bully and buffoon so she doesn’t appreciate that Johnson publicly flattering Gallagher is perhaps his best shot at convincing him to move up his resignation.

The maga House is an evil version of the 1962 Mets, but honest self-reflection isn’t a prominent rightwing trait. No, Republicans are going with “Democrats made us do it.”

Turning Points USA founder Charlie Kirk vented on social media:

More and more clear the collapsing GOP House position has been orchestrated by Democrats. They saw a slim majority and instead of giving up, they went to work.

They helped get rid of McCarthy as speaker.

They led the charge with the help of Republicans to remove Santos from Congress.

They pushed Ken Buck to go become a cable news contributor.

And now, someone is offering Gallagher a sweet gig to leave abruptly (but not TOO abruptly!) to effectively end the House majority.

This has been an op from Day One, they have sliced the GOP advantage by any means available. And too many Republicans were perfectly happy to help them.

I wish Democrats were so masterfully Machiavellian, but alas, this is a party with at least one Dick Durbin.

When House Republicans resume what passes for work next month, we’ll see if they move forward with Mad Marge’s motion to vacate the revolving-door speakership. So far, Johnson doesn’t appear worried that he’ll win the Kevin McCarthy Booby Prize. His spokesperson Raj Shah said, “Speaker Johnson always listens to the concerns of members, but is focused on governing.”

Sorry, but actual governance is the one unforgivable sin in the maga mad House.

Stephen Robinson is the publisher of The Play Typer Guy, a newsletter and podcast about politics and the arts. Follow him @SER1897.

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