The Calls are Coming from Inside the House

...of Representatives

Happy Monday my beautiful babies. You may be feeling like the weekend went too fast, or that you had too much to do and couldn’t get it done on Saturday and Sunday, and, as a result, you are just in a rotten mood about having to go back to work or run more errands. Nonsense. This will be your most productive week because the Super Bowl is next weekend, and the week that follows is usually the least productive of any other week all year round. So, even if you can only crawl through this week, it will still be more efficient than your post-Super Bowl hangover. Therefore, go to the Lord today, ask Him to help you live for His glory, flex on your haters, and get that paper. Amen.

Now that the mild blasphemy is out of the way, I can tell you that I was on the Happily Opinionated podcast last week with my close and good friends Adam and Beth Kail. We covered election fraud, the Capitol Insurrection, and Trump’s impeachment trial. Credit to both of them as hosts and their great discussion questions, because I really think we were able to cover a lot of subjects without glossing over anything important. (Side note: I pull a Chuck Schumer and say, “incited an erection.” Apologies to my Mom, and Elisabeth’s family.)

The podcast discussion did get me thinking about one of the two big stories that popped up this week. To get to the one not related to the podcast first: I truly have no idea what is happening with Gamestop. This is way outside of my area of expertise, so I can only tell you that this piece really helped explain it to me. One thing I can address that is in my wheelhouse: I think it’s safe to say that the people who filed lawsuits against Robinhood (there are two right now, but I suspect there will be more) are unlikely to be successful. Robinhood’s decision to suspend trading probably falls within whatever section of their contract covers “best practices.” That’s all I got.

To get back to the podcast-related topic, all three of us agreed that Donald Trump is not going to simply slink away into the shadows of obscurity. He will continue to be a lasting influence on the Republican Party for years to come, unless the GOP takes drastic steps to cauterize the Orange Man-shaped wound in the Party. Directly related to that are the ongoing stories about Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Tayler Greene. She dominated the headlines this week because multiple videos emerged of her harassing Parkland Shooting survivor David Hogg (because she does not believe the Parkland Shooting actually happened…more on that later), and a separate story outlined her belief that the Jews started the California wildfires with a space laser, a.k.a., the Death Star of David.

Greene is somewhat infamous because she is one of the two (or one and a half) Qanon believers in Congress. Given that, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that she also believes the government blew up the World Trade Center, and that the Parkland Shooting never happened, nor did Sandy Hook, nor did virtually any other shooting. She might believe in a flat earth too, but I’m honestly afraid to ask. Basically, if there is a conspiracy out there, she believes in it.

Greene is giving the GOP a headache right now, but I have very little sympathy. Despite the fact that Greene is a Qanon believer and is not particularly shy about saying so, she was given Committee Assignments in the House of Representatives. That means, when Space Force testifies before her Committee, it is possible that we will hear five or six questions about their budget and plans to terraform Mars, and then one question from Greene about the Jewish space lasers. The struggle now for Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is if he should remove her from the Committee assignments and deal with the backlash from the GOP base. Here is the problem: The Greene problem is the Trump problem.

McCarthy will really have a hard time going head-to-head with Greene for the same reason that the GOP will have a hard time going head-to-head with Trump: Their insanity is what makes their most fervent supporters love them, and fervent supporters show up to vote. Erick Erickson has a good piece about Greene, and it should be read because he is well-connected to Georgia Republican politics. But he is just unforgivably naive. Erickson says that Greene’s constituents are already embarrassed by her, and that she doesn’t represent typical Georgia voters. Here is the problem: She quite literally represents Georgia voters and - as we have seen with Trump - there are no amount of Jewish space lasers that will turn her most loyal supporters away from her. Greene was elected because her constituents agree with a lot of her nuthousery, and anyone who cannot see that is disconnected from the general public. Greene is 100% representative of a 25% portion of the GOP base, and while that doesn’t sound like a lot, one out of every four reliable voters is a metric shit-ton in any election.

Related to this resilience: Many people assumed that Qanon would fade away after Joe Biden was inaugurated on January 20th, which drove their entire narrative directly into a brick wall. While there was some disappointment and initial expression of regret, the goalposts have been moved and Qanon now believes Trump will be inaugurated in March. How? They have absorbed a conspiracy theory promulgated by a group called Sovereign Citizens, who believe that the United States has been a corporation owned by London since 1871, and Trump brought an end to the corporation (they never explain how). Since the Republic’s original inauguration date was in March, we are going back to the OG swearing in, which means Trump becomes POTUS on March 4, 2021. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It’s bonkers, I know. But the point here is that just like Qanon is now swallowing other conspiracy theories, so will every other bend and twist of logic swallow up any half-hearted GOP condemnation of Greene. You cannot and all not ever negotiate or appeal to Greene or Trump’s better angels. A perfect example: On Sunday night, the story broke that Trump replaced his entire legal team for the impeachment trial because his old attorneys would not argue that the election was stolen from him. He and Greene are never going to magically transform into Alexander Hamilton clones with a deep appreciation for civics. They will always be themselves.

The Republicans currently cannot turn on Trump and convict him in the impeachment trial even though he is clearly guilty, because doing so means sacrificing the 25% of the Party that is loyal to Trump no matter what. The same principle applies to Greene, who is loved by her supporters because she loves Trump. I repeat: The Greene problem is the Trump problem.

The biggest mistake the GOP continues to make with Trump is that they assume he will just go away on his own. He will not. The Republican Party has to take active steps to purge him, because he is never going to just pick up his things and leave. You cannot play footsie with the guy holding a gun to your head. You have to take the gun away from him.

In the same way, the GOP can do the hard work of expelling Greene now and saving their reputation. Or they could leave her where she is and deal with headlines that turn off 75% of the public and watch them lose the trust of more voters in Georgia. None of these scenarios come without pain; expelling Greene and (more severely) convicting Trump means sacrificing any election win for an incredibly long time. But flirting with the nutcase caucus is not a long-term political strategy.

This is so clear to me I just want to go to the Capitol, shake Kevin McCarthy, and say: “You have tried to walk this line with Trump for four years and you’ve now lost the House, Senate, and the Presidency! It doesn’t work!” I’m sure others have said the same thing to him. And yet he flew down to Mar-A-Lago to meet with Trump last week. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The situation in Burma is also above my pay grade, but this is a great thread:

I’ll write something midweek about a great piece I read about COVID-19. It is super long, almost book-length, but I can’t get it out of my head. Flex on your haters; get that paper.

If you haven’t clicked the link about us terraforming Mars, you have more willpower than I do.