House Dems to threaten GOP: Strip Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments or we will

This is a clever maneuver, knowing that Kevin McCarthy was already set to meet with Greene this week to discuss her “colorful” theories about school shootings and Jewish space lasers and Pelosi maybe deserving execution.

But it’s also a “tell” that Democrats don’t really want Greene sidelined. Their endgame in all of this isn’t to expel her or pressure her to resign.

It’s to make her the new face of the post-Trump GOP.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is planning to deliver an ultimatum to McCarthy this week: Either Republicans move on their own to strip Greene (R-Ga.) of her committee assignments within 72 hours or Democrats will bring the issue to the House floor.

The Democrats’ move comes amid intense fury within the Democratic Caucus over Greene’s long record of incendiary rhetoric, including peddling conspiracy theories that the nation’s deadliest mass shootings were staged. Greene also endorsed violence against Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats before she was elected to Congress…

On a leadership call on Sunday, top Democrats discussed a straightforward motion that would go through the House Rules Committee. That would be separate from a resolution led by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), which would also remove the Georgia Republican from any House panel slots.

If Democrats wanted Greene dealt with as painlessly as possible, the obvious move would be to keep quiet for now and wait to see what McCarthy does. There’s a chance, albeit a small one, that he’ll strip Greene of her committee assignments himself. He did it to Steve King, after all, although the fact that Greene recently received a phone call of support from the person who owns the party has left McCarthy in a sticky position.

Which is why, I take it, Dems are making this threat. They want McCarthy to go easy on Greene knowing how bad that’ll make the party look to certain swing voters, and they know that by threatening to punish her themselves it’ll create right-wing pressure on McCarthy not to take action. If he takes away her committee slots after Dems have warned that they’ll do it if he doesn’t, it makes him look like a cuck who’s doing their bidding. Combine that with Trump’s support for Greene and McCarthy is risking a nasty backlash from the populist right if he cracks down now.

So he’ll probably decline to punish her, claiming that it’s not fair to sanction her for statements she made before joining Congress. (A defensible point.) That’ll clear a path for House Dems to move against her instead. But wait: If the point of all this is to raise her national profile, why would Democrats try to reduce her role in Congress? Shouldn’t they *want* her on committees, since it’ll make her more visible to voters?

Nah. I think the strategy here is that Greene will get more traction among Republicans after Democrats make her a conservative martyr by taking away her committee slots than she would if they left her alone. (She’s on the House education and budget committees, FYI.) Fox News isn’t going to put her on the air as some new folk hero of the party because of anything she says at a committee hearing. They *will* put her on the air — potentially — as the righty victim du jour of cancel culture if she loses her assignments, an effort ringled this time by none other than Nancy Pelosi herself. The fact that Trump has taken a shine to Greene because of her zombified public expressions of total loyalty only sweetens the pot for Democrats. They want voters to conclude that the “Jewish space laser” lady is perfectly representative of the GOP nowadays. Having Trump come to Greene’s defense, as he well might do if Dems follow through with this, will make it even easier.

Republicans in Georgia, Greene’s home state, are groaning at how all of this will be used against them down the road:

“If you have any common sense, you know she’s an anchor on the party. She is weighing us down,” said Gabriel Sterling, a Republican election administrator who became a leading voice criticizing the baseless election conspiracy theories espoused by Trump and his supporters like Greene.

“Some people are saying maybe [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi will throw her out” of Congress, Sterling said, referring to the House speaker. “The Democrats would never throw her out. They want her to be the definition of what a Republican is. They’re gonna give her every opportunity to speak and be heard and look crazy — like what came out Wednesday, the Jewish space laser to start fires. I mean, I don’t know how far down the rabbit hole you go.”…

“Greene was just a symptom of what’s going on in the Republican Party in the state and, frankly, the nation, in our election,” a [Kelly] Loeffler adviser said. “But in 2022, she’s going to be a symbol, assuming she’s not now already.”

Have Democrats kick Greene off her committees and Greene will bask in it for the next two years. “They impeached President Trump twice and now they’ve deplatformed me! They hate us both because we fight hard for America unapologetically!” That’s what Greene’s going to tweet every day until the midterms to try to build a following. And that’s exactly the outcome Democrats want. If they can make her the second-most famous Republican in the country by 2022, their mission will have been accomplished.

They might even get a bipartisan vote to remove her from her committees that’ll make this extra painful for the GOP, assuming the matter ends up coming to the floor. “I’d certainly vote her off committee,” anti-Trump heretic Adam Kinzinger said recently. “In terms of eviction, I’m not sure because I’m kind of in the middle. I think a district has every right to put who they want there. But we have every right to take a stand and say, ‘You don’t get a committee.’ And we definitely need to do that.” There could be other Republicans who cross the aisle too. Nancy Mace, for instance, has reportedly been at odds with Greene privately over her crankishness. But Mace flinched on impeachment when forced to vote, knowing how it would jeopardize her career, and presumably would choke again on removing Greene from committees if this dispute with House Dems began to get the attention of MAGA voters nationally.

One other benefit to Democrats of picking with a fight with Greene is that it makes it that much more likely that she’ll be reelected in 2022. Ninety-eight percent of the GOP agenda at this point is simply owning the libs, and if the libs have made clear that they reeeeeally don’t like a certain Republican, Republican voters get reeeeeally invested in making sure that person wins. Dems would love to have Greene to kick around in the next Congress too and smart GOPers know it, which is why righties like Henry Olsen are already gaming out how she might potentially be gerrymandered out of her seat with a little creative map drawing by Georgia’s state legislature. Still, Dems are playing a dangerous game by trying to build the profile of someone who’s obviously unfit for office, not unlike Team Hillary going easy on Trump during the 2016 primary in the belief that he’d be the easiest Republican to beat. You never know how circumstances might conspire to make an “unthinkable” candidate thinkable. If Greene ran for Senate in Georgia and the economy tanked next year and Biden struggled with containing the pandemic, is it *that* unlikely that she would defeat Raphael Warnock for a six-year term? She’d be the underdog. But her chances wouldn’t be zero.

Here’s Meghan McCain warning Democrats not to attack Greene too much for fear that Republicans will circle the partisan wagons around her, a legitimate worry as I said above. “This is how we got Trump,” she says. But one way to keep those wagons from circling is by Republicans like McCain making clear that Greene isn’t part of the “tribe.” The real reason we got Trump is too many people subscribing to the brainless partisan rule that righties mustn’t criticize Republicans whom Democrats despise, as if the mere fact that Team Blue dislikes you is per se proof of virtue. Dems do dislike Greene, but they dislike her for the right reasons. Saying so is a step back towards sanity.