Believe it or not, sometimes people ask me who the worst nuts are in Congress. I usually think of an amorphous right-wing version of The Squad-- GangGreene-- as the way to start:
Marjorie Taylor Greene (Q-GA)
Matt Gaetz (R-FL)
Lauren Boebert (Q-CO)
Paul Gosar (R-AZ)
Mad Cawthorn (Nazi-NC)
Mo Brooks (R-AL)
Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
Gym Jordan (R-OH)
Andy Biggs (R-AZ)
Clay Higgins (R-LA)
They usually just oppose everything and they're often the harbingers of chaos, anomie and anarchy... and, of course, Trumpism. Today there was a bill that should have saved through the House will no opposition-- a bipartisan bill that passed 402-23, the 23 being all right-wing extremist Republicans including most of Gang-Greene. The bill. HR 1629 deals with outrageously expensive drugs that treat rare diseases ("orphan drugs"). "Under this bill if a drug is designated as an orphan drug on the basis that it treats a disease that affects 200,000 or fewer people in the United States and because there is no reasonable expectation that the sponsor will recover the costs of developing and distributing the drug from U.S. sales, the drug shall be granted the seven-year exclusivity period only if the sponsor demonstrates that there is no reasonable expectation that it will recover such costs specifically within its first 12 years of U.S. sales of the drug. This requirement shall also apply retroactively to an orphan drug that was granted such an exclusivity period before this bill's enactment." The purpose in to incentivize drug manufacturers to develop these orphan drugs to treat rare diseases.
One of the extremists, Buddy Carter (R-GA) got into a fight with the bill's primary sponsor, Madeline Dean (D-PA) and he's been trying to derail the drug based solely on a weird ego-trip and nothing whatsoever to do with the substance of the legislation of who it would help. Carter is the very worst excuse for a legislator you'll ever find anywhere. He was joined by Gang-Greene members Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Mo Brooks, Louie Gohmert, Gym Jordan, Andy Biggs and Clay Higgins + Ted Budd (R-NC),Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Ron Estes (R-KS), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Russ Felcher (R-ID), Bob Good (R-VA), Andy Harris (R-MD), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Billy Long (R-MO), John Rose (R-TN), Matt Rosendale (R-MT), Chip Roy (R-TX), John Rutherford (R-FL), Jason Smith (R-MO) and Greg Steube (R-FL).
Most of these Republicans are in super-safe red districts where GOP turnout alone can decide the winner. In other words, independents and swing voters aren't required. That gives incumbents the incentive to behave like a resident of an insane asylum. These are the only exceptions, along with Trump's 2020 win percentage in their districts:
Lauren Boebert- 51.6%
Chip Roy- 50.6%
Doug Lamborn- 54.7%
This afternoon, Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin could have added this kind of voting record behavior to her piece about Republicans giving the Democrats a formula to win the midterms. "As poll after poll shows," she wrote, "raising taxes on corporations is very popular with the American people. Republicans’ opposition to such measures, plus their threat to nix infrastructure legislation if corporate taxes are raised, pretty much eviscerates what is left of their claim to be the party of workers. For Democrats returning to the bread-and-butter agenda aimed squarely at low- and middle-income voters, this admission is manna from political heaven. Coupled with their unanimous rejection of the overwhelmingly popular American Rescue Plan and the decision by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to oppose a Jan. 6 commission (which has drawn the ire of many Republicans in his caucus), Republicans’ latest pitch on behalf of corporate scofflaws suggests they have no clue how to win a majority of House seats. This is what comes from living inside the MAGA cult and the right-wing media bubble.
Republicans’ agenda, to the extent they have one, is the antithesis of economic populism. In decrying $1,400 checks for Americans, food support for millions, a reduction in child poverty by half and a lifeline for restaurants, they have painted themselves into a corner. They are now reduced to touting the benefits of legislation they opposed.
In McCarthy’s America, disgraced former president Donald Trump calls the shots, white supremacists get a wink and a nod, corporations get a patsy and the “forgotten” man and woman get nothing. Throw into the mix the fear among many women that the GOP is looking to roll back the clock nearly 50 years on abortion rights, and one gets the sense Republicans are systematically trying to alienate large segments of the electorate.
As FiveThirtyEight’s Alex Samuels dryly observes, “The GOP is in a bit of disarray.” To others, it resembles a dumpster fire. Democrats would be wise to follow a few rules to keep the GOP on its heels.
First, make the case that Republicans are unhinged (easy to do, since they are still in denial about Jan. 6) and beholden to Trump, who will effectively run the House if they get a majority. This poses the threat of a true constitutional crisis if a GOP House majority refuses to certify a Democratic presidential nominee’s victory in the 2024 election.
Second, Democrats must deliver on the American Jobs Plan, as they did on the American Rescue Plan, by reconciliation if need be. They can then run on the infrastructure projects and jobs created in each district. Get the GOP on record opposing yet another popular initiative as it chooses instead to go to the mat for big corporations that so often pay no federal income tax. Force Republicans to run on cutting big business’s taxes and stiffing the little guy (whether on the minimum wage, pandemic relief or infrastructure jobs.)
Third, hold state and federal Republicans accountable for voter suppression. This is an extension of the GOP’s attack on American democracy and a blatant attempt to extend white, conservative rule in an increasingly diverse country. Their agenda is unpopular, so they seek to make it hard for their own constituents to vote.
Fourth, target the freshmen members who won in 2020 in swing districts (many that had just flipped from Republican to Democratic in 2018). These lawmakers have largely been complicit in the attempt to gaslight Americans about Jan. 6 and have done nothing to thwart the far-right agenda. Moreover, their reelection runs the risk of making McCarthy (or some equally devout MAGA toady) speaker.
The pattern of the governing party losing seats in the midterms is not an inviolable rule. As Never Trumper Matthew Dowd writes: “In the last thirty years, there has only been two times a president has gone into a midterm with a positive net job approval rating-- in 1998 for [Bill] Clinton and in 2002 for [George W.] Bush. And in both cases their party, bucking normal historical midterm trends, picked up seats in the House.” Democrats are likely to do well if the election is a choice between continuation of a successful Biden agenda (if covid-19 and the economic slump are indeed behind us) and a return to the days of crazy MAGA rule. Lucky for them, Republicans are embracing their identity as an unhinged, plutocratic cult.
Now, if only more voters made rational and informed choices when they fill out their ballots!