Dahleen Glanton: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is dangerously kooky

Dahleen Glanton - Chicago Tribune

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is one of the most dangerous people in Washington. But we might as well get used to her because she isn’t going anywhere soon.

An overwhelming number of Georgia voters sent this gun-toting, QAnon enthusiast to Washington in November, and she’s doing exactly what they elected her to do.

Every day, we learn something new about Greene, each report more contemptible than the last. In a newly discovered YouTube video from 2018, Greene suggested that the Clintons murdered John F. Kennedy Jr., who died in a 1999 plane crash, because he might challenge Hillary Clinton for a New York Senate seat.

Greene also suggests that 9/11 was a hoax. She apparently thinks that the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, was a “false flag” planned event designed to take away people’s guns. And she thinks a laser from space, powered by wealthy Jewish Democratic supporters, caused the wildfire that devastated California in 2018.

And she seems to believe it’s OK to execute politicians who oppose her radical views.

Fifty Democratic House members are calling for Greene to be expelled from Congress because of her far right-wing antics, as well as the many inflammatory comments she made prior to taking office.

But congressional Republicans don’t seem to have a problem with Greene, so it’s unlikely the Democrats will get the two-thirds vote needed to remove her. That’s probably just fine with the people who put her there.

The thing about a democracy is that it allows voters to choose just about anybody they want to represent them in Congress. Though top establishment Republicans tried to distance themselves from Greene’s campaign, she came out ahead in the nine-way GOP primary, garnering 40% of the vote. She won the runoff with 57%.

Clearly, the people wanted Greene in Congress. And the GOP isn’t going to do anything to anger voters in this Republican stronghold of a highly coveted swing state that will influence national political races for years to come.

Greene represents the 14th Congressional District, a lily white, extremely conservative enclave in northwest Georgia, a stone’s throw from the Tennessee border. The district of just under 700,000 people is 85% white, 10% Latino and 9.8% Black. (The percentages don’t add up because some people reported more than one race on the U.S. census.)

It has an R-27 rating on the Cook Partisan Voter Index, making it the 10th most Republican district in the nation.

Regardless of how blue the rest of Georgia becomes, this part of the state will be solidly red for a long time. It’s where people who don’t care much for the diversity in the Atlanta area go in order to get away from people who don’t look like them.

Most Democrats and even some conservatives are appalled by Greene’s antics. But she never tried to hide who she is from her constituents. She didn’t have to. Her extreme right, conspiratorial positions probably were an asset to her victory. She won by a landslide, with 74.7% of the vote.

The interesting thing about Greene’s victory is that she didn’t even live in the 14th District. She rented a condo there after deciding to pull out of the race in the more diverse 6th District in order to run in a place where she had a better shot at winning.

She gained favor by giving people what they wanted. In one Facebook post, she is shown wearing sunglasses and holding an AR-15 rifle next to headshots of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, three of the four progressives known as “The Squad.” The caption said, “Squad’s Worst Nightmare.”

Democrats never had a chance against her, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t try. The little-known Democrat who opposed her in the general election lasted only 31 days before dropping out of the race.

Greene won nearly 230,000 votes — more than half of the eligible voters in the district. But not everyone in the district is behind her. Her opponent, whose name still appeared on the ballot, got nearly 78,000 votes.

America needs to give a hearty thanks to those who tried to stop her. But in Greene’s case, as in many strong conservative districts across the country, ideology often wins over decency. Irrationality is favored over common sense.

The voters who put Greene in office will get nothing substantive from her tenure. Though everyone seems to know her name now, she will go down in history as a kook, who managed to simultaneously become a political laughingstock and a threat to democracy.

In a Congress controlled by Democrats, she will be deemed a useless fanatic and a bully, who will never be taken seriously or courted for bipartisan support. She will get no substantive legislation passed and she will fail to deliver on every promise she made to her supporters.

But she will do something, and perhaps this is what’s most important to her constituents. She will be an obstructionist, a loudmouthed agitator and a liar.

So if that’s what the voters in the 14th District want, they have a right to have it for as long as they choose to keep her in Washington.


Dahleen Glanton

Chicago Tribune

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