By Paul V. DeMarco
Those of you who are avid readers of this column (yes, all three of you) may remember my writing a column with a similar headline about QAnon back in October. QAnon has pretty much run its course. MTG will be a little harder to get rid of, but please don’t worry about her.
For many, listening to Marjorie Taylor Greene is exasperating. She is often wrongheaded, facile, bombastic, and defensive. I don’t have enough space to recount all the ways Greene is unsuitable. They are well laid out on her Wikipedia page. Perhaps the most famous are her belief in QAnon and various other conspiracy theories, including that space lasers started California wildfires. She has been a vociferous champion of the lie that Trump won in 2020. Most disturbing was her statement opposing a peaceful transfer of power two days before the attack on the Capitol. She says on video “You can’t allow it to just transfer power ‘peacefully’ like Joe Biden wants, and allow him to become our president. Because he did not win this election. It’s being stolen and the evidence is there.”
She routinely calls journalists and opposing politicians “liars” and has mastered the simplistic, us-versus-them trash talk that has worked so well for Trump. In doing so, she has become the darling of the extreme right. In an inevitable response governed by Newton’s third law of social media, many Democrats are amplifying her as well, hoping to delude voters into thinking that she represents most Republicans.
In trying to understand Greene, I watched multiple interviews including one between her and CNN’s Jim Acosta in April 2022. It is an ambush sidewalk interview. Acosta questions Greene as she walks down a D.C. street about a tweet to Mark Meadows in the aftermath of January 6th. In the tweet, she raises the idea of Trump declaring martial law to avoid leaving office.
She defends herself vigorously. Her willingness to push back against those she and her supporters see as enemies has earned her a loyal following. Going toe-to-toe with a “fake news” reporter, calling him a liar to his face, is the MTG brand. She has a feisty, take-no-prisoners attitude that has replaced well-chosen words and sober deliberation as the currency of our nation’s politics. She feels Acosta has misrepresented the text and at one point says, “Why don’t you be honest for once?” But she doesn’t finish strongly. After some back and forth, she refuses to answer any more questions and walks away saying, “We’re done, we’re done, stop harassing me… leave me alone.”
The exchange left me feeling sad for Greene. She seems like a lonely, angry person whose career will mirror Sarah Palin’s – each has opted for transient political notoriety at profound personal cost. Palin and her husband divorced in 2020 after 31 years of marriage. Greene and her husband divorced in 2022 after 27 years.
So I would urge you, if you disagree with Greene, to recognize that she is unlikely to change and that you already know enough about her to predict most of her policy positions. Recognize that she is a second-term House member, a position with very little power. Yes, she was helpful to Speaker McCarthy but only because the Republican margin in the House is so small. With a larger majority, she would have been irrelevant. Remember that she’s well-liked by voters in Georgia’s 14th district. Her Democratic challenger in 2022 raised more than $15 million (a gigantic sum for a house race), much of it from out-of-state donors, and lost by more than 30 points. It was foolish for people outside the state of Georgia, most of whom knew nothing about her opponent, Marcus Flowers, to give him money. There was not a single clear-eyed person in the state of Georgia who felt that Flowers could win.
So I say to those donors, don’t waste your money until a credible candidate opposes Greene. And I say to all those of you outside of Georgia, don’t waste your mental energy on her. She has turned Teddy Roosevelt’s advice of “Speak softly and carry a big stick” on its head. She shouts “Liar!” at the president during his State of the Union, but she has no clout. Spend your precious mental resources elsewhere.
A version of this column appeared in the February 22nd edition of the Florence Morning News.