Marjorie Taylor Greene’s bizarre case against speaker

Rich Lowry, syndicated columnist

The first time that Republicans toppled their own speaker during this Congress, it wasn’t a particularly edifying spectacle, but Marjorie Taylor Greene is reaching for new lows.

To paraphrase Marx: first as a farce, then as a more preposterous farce.

Greene made her anti-Mike Johnson case on Tucker Carlson’s show last week, and it was — as you’d expect — a stew of conspiratorial thinking and sophomoric ranting.

There’s a serious case against funding Ukraine, based on the scarcity of our materiel and the geostrategic preeminence of Asia over Europe, but Greene and her friendly and encouraging interlocutor didn’t come within a hundred miles of it.

Greene complained that in the space of a couple of months, Johnson has gone from a good Christian conservative to being indistinguishable from Nancy Pelosi.

Put aside the grossly unfair exaggeration, what might have happened to change Johnson’s view of his role in Congress? Would it have something to do with going from a backbencher with no responsibility to the leader of a narrow, fractious majority that, unless it can show some minimal ability to govern, is headed straight to the political dustbin?

Just asking questions …

Obviously, it’s one thing to inveigh against spending deals when what you say or do doesn’t matter much; it’s another to be the one who has to decide whether to lead your party into a shutdown fight that it will definitely lose, blighting its political prospects for no good reason.

Similarly, Johnson should feel a responsibility to at least get a Ukraine package to a vote.

There’s a bipartisan majority in both chambers of Congress in favor of sending more aid to Ukraine, and Johnson is the one standing in the way. If he doesn’t move and Ukraine subsequently collapses on the battlefield, he will have played an outsized role in the defeat of an ally at the hands of a bitter adversary of the U.S.

Greene, who has nothing if not an inquiring mind, speculated that it is really that Johnson might be getting blackmailed.

It’s not clear what this insinuation is supposed to be about. Johnson is an evangelical Christian attorney who has not, as far as anyone can tell, lived a life conducive to creating material for a blackmailer. What did Johnson do? Mess up a citation in a brief 10 years ago? Miss a filing deadline once?

On the question of Ukraine, Greene and Carlson are self-professed nationalists who apparently have no idea why people might want to defend their homeland.

Greene said supporters of the war in the West care most about “murdering” Ukrainians, a bizarre way to characterize support for a war of self-defense.

If this is the standard, every leader who has ever resisted a foreign invasion has engaged in the “murder” of his or her own people.

If only Joan of Arc hadn’t been party to the murder of so many Frenchmen as she tried to expel the English in the Hundred Years’ War, and if only Elizabeth I hadn’t murdered so many British sailors in the course of checking the Spanish Armada.

Carlson, as he often does, made much of the Ukrainian government’s actions against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Whether you agree with what Ukraine has done or not, it is relevant to know that the church is a cat’s paw of Moscow. Although, of course, that wasn’t mentioned.

Greene went on to say that it violates “every tenet of our Christian faith” to aid Ukraine, which is, shall we say, an interesting interpretation of the word of God.

Doing a little somnology from afar, Greene also noted that Johnson is always complaining that he’s tired and only getting three hours of sleep.

She believes this shows that Johnson must have a guilty conscience that’s keeping him up at night.

But maybe his sleep is disturbed by the thought that his majority is so small that someone like Marjorie Taylor Greene matters. And who can blame him?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rich Lowry is on X @RichLowry.


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