Like nuking the filibuster for judicial nominations in 2013, Democrats on Thursday set a precedent they will come to regret.
Having rejected an offer of compromise and concession from GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is plowing ahead with plans to strip the crackpot GOP congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) of her committee assignments. Historically, each party manages its own affairs when it comes to these posts, but Hoyer and the Democrats clearly prefer to make a martyr out of Greene, whom they have already helped to turn into a celebrity. Greene has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars thanks to their campaign.
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Justifying his move, Hoyer cited the unprecedented threat Greene poses, telling reporters he couldn’t think of an “analogous” situation during his four decade stint in Congress. We can.
The House has 435 members. At any one time, they include more than a few purveyors of outlandish conspiracy theories. Former Georgia representative Cynthia McKinney was a 9/11 truther who personally assaulted a Capitol police officer because he asked her for identification. She was a national embarrassment and a raging anti-Semite but she was not stripped of her committee posts.
But there’s no need to dust off the history books to find examples of conspiracy theorists in the Democratic Party: Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) was the chief congressional purveyor of the debunked theory that the CIA helped funnel crack cocaine to black neighborhoods in Los Angeles in the 1990s; Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D., Texas) wondered why the story wasn’t getting more coverage.
Along with Waters, Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D., Maryland) was a proponent of the baseless claim that Clinton-era commerce secretary Ron Brown was murdered, and Mfume argued last summer that the U.S. postal service was “hijacking mailboxes off of every corner.”
Greene’s dalliances with anti-Semitism predate her election to Congress, and she continues to play footsie with Jew haters. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) was an anti-Semite before she got to Congress and quickly reoffended upon her arrival. Like Greene, Omar takes a dim view of the Jewish people. Greene thinks a Jewish space laser caused the California wildfires and decries the “neocon reign of death in the womb and across the world.” Omar thinks the Jewish state has “hypnotized the world” and that pro-Israel groups in the United States advocate for “allegiance to a foreign country.”
Democrats are delusional if they believe the GOP won’t return the favor and push Omar from her post on the House Foreign Affairs Committee when the tables are turned.
Republicans in Congress should have zero tolerance for Greene’s conspiracy-mongering, but they should be unified in safeguarding the long-standing norm that the parties must police their own or suffer the consequences. If the Democrats break that norm, this game won’t stop with Greene.
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