It was smart of Pelosi to turn this into a battle over what Marjorie Taylor Greene said about school shootings when she could have as easily turned it into a battle over what Greene said about *her.* Remember, the chatter about Greene started this week with a story about her “liking” online comments a few years ago calling for Pelosi to be executed for treason.
“Is it right to hate Nancy Pelosi?” is a comparatively difficult debate for Democrats. “Is it right to think someone’s a nut if they believe Parkland and Sandy Hook were false flags?” is much easier, so that’s the debate Pelosi is setting up here.
Either way, though, it scratches an itch for the left. With Trump gone, there’s no easy Republican villain for the weekly news cycle. Greene, the most kooky new MAGA rep in the House, is an obvious substitute. Watch, then read on.
NEW: Pelosi on House GOP assigning Rep. Greene to Education Cmte:
"Assigning her to the Education cmte. when she has mocked the killing of little children at Sandy Hook Elementary … What could they be thinking, or is thinking too generous a word for what they might be doing?" pic.twitter.com/qmlfjl5NxQ
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 28, 2021
The talking point about how egregious it is to put Greene on the education committee, of all places, is clearly coordinated. Dem Rep. Bobby Scott happens to be the chairman of that committee and posted this earlier:
“House Republican leadership is responsible for appointing Republican Members to the Education and Labor Committee who can make a positive contribution to our work. These appointments are supposed to reflect their commitment to serving students, parents, and educators.
“House Republicans have appointed someone to this Committee who claimed that the killing of 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax.
“House Republicans have appointed someone to this Committee who claimed that the killing of 14 students and three teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was staged…
“House Republicans made this appointment and Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy must explain how someone with this background represents the Republican party on education issues. He is sending a clear message to students, parents, and educators about the views of the Republican party.”
One Dem rep, Jimmy Gomez of California, upped the ante by announcing that he’ll introduce a resolution to expel Greene from the House. That’s not going to go anywhere — I think — but such an extreme proposal will make it seem more reasonable if House Dems opt for the lesser punishment of excluding Greene from committees instead.
Er, can they do that? If the House can expel a member from Congress, I assume that a committee can expel a member from sitting on that committee. Pelosi doubtless prefers not to do so, though, and not just because it would invite reprisals once the GOP controls the House again. She wants to make Marjorie Taylor Greene entirely Kevin McCarthy’s problem. If House Dems move against Greene, it becomes a partisan affair with Pelosi and her party as the villains in the eyes of MAGA. If instead it’s McCarthy who ends up moving against Greene, that’s a divisive “RINO vs. MAGA” fight that can only mean good things for Democrats in the short term. If McCarthy strips her of her committee assignments, Republican populist will be mad at him. If he does nothing, Dems get to say that Greene is the new de facto leader of the Republican Party.
Pelosi did allude to Greene’s comments about executing her elsewhere in this morning’s presser — with a reference to “the enemy within” that wishes violence on colleagues:
Reporter: "What exactly did you mean when you said that 'the enemy is within'" the House?
Speaker Pelosi: "It means that we have members of Congress who want to bring guns on the (House) floor and have threatened violence on other members of Congress." pic.twitter.com/lE3bgQP6G7
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) January 28, 2021
I wonder if one indirect effect of Dems trying to raise Greene’s profile as a major villain will be to make McCarthy and some fencesitters in the caucus more eager to protect Liz Cheney. They’re desperate to win back some of the normie voters in the middle who tilted towards Biden last November. The more Dems succeed at convincing those normies that the GOP is the party of QAnon and false-flag theories and pro-Trump fanaticism, the harder that gets. An easy way to counter it is to keep Cheney in place in leadership as proof that anti-Trumpers are welcome in the party. We’re not all kooks or kook-enablers. There’s Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger and, uhhhh…
Speaking of which, here’s Kinzinger this morning curiously insisting that Greene isn’t a real Republican. Seems to me that the Republican Party is whatever it says it is, and there were a lot more Republicans in the House voting Greene’s way on impeachment on January 13 — including “reasonable” members like Nancy Mace — than there were voting with Kinzinger. I hate to say it, buddy, but you’re the RINO now.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is "not a Republican," @RepKinzinger says. "She may be like this new definition of Republican, but that's kind of a RINO thing, a Republican in name only is what she is … I don't think she should have the privilege of any committees." pic.twitter.com/jqKIqTHI1J
— New Day (@NewDay) January 28, 2021