- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has yelled at President Biden during his State of the Union address, shot a rifle at a car stamped with “SOCIALISM” on its side and racked up thousands of dollars in fines protesting a COVID-19 mask mandate in the House.

These stances firmly align Mrs. Greene with most of her Republican colleagues, who also disapprove of Mr. Biden, abhor socialism and oppose coronavirus mandates.

Still, the way the 47-year-old goes about it — vis-a-vis an unapologetic, in-your-face, no-holds-barred style — separates her from the pack.

Mrs. Greene told The Washington Times that people in Washington might not understand the way she speaks or approaches her job because they live in a bubble and are dismissive of the issues that animate voters, whether it’s labor shortages or gas prices or transgender athletes.

“They are disconnected from real Americans, and that is their problem, not mine,” Mrs. Greene said. “I believe and share the same thoughts and feelings of the people in our district.”

Mrs. Greene said her constituents and voters across the country are “offended” and “upset” over “Washington basically lecturing and looking down on the rest of America.”

“I believe our federal government is a complete failure,” she said.

Mrs. Greene also isn’t afraid to veer from consensus Republican views, as she does in opposing U.S. military aid to Ukraine. She warned that Ukraine cannot defeat Russia and more arms will only prolong the inevitable and the money could end up financing “Nazi militias.”

It’s a fringe position, though hardly a far-right position, that Mrs. Greene took up with her usual gusto.

“We should not spend billions of Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars on lethal aid to be given to possible Nazi militias that are torturing innocent people, especially children and women,” she tweeted. “It’s not Pro-Putin to be against this. It’s Pro-torture & evil to stay silent/censor it.”

She told BKP Politics, an outlet that labels itself the “voice of rural America,” that Russia invaded because Ukraine “just kept poking the bear.”

“And now you see Ukraine just kept poking the bear and poking the bear, which is Russia, and Russia invaded, and the truth is — and this is a hard truth to accept — there is no win for Ukraine here,” Mrs. Greene said in an interview Tuesday with BKP Politics host Brian K. Pritchard. “It’s actually mind-blowing to watch with a war unfolding in Ukraine, which is so tragic for the Ukrainian people. The people are always the ones who suffer, but Joe Biden is completely staying out of the way.”

Charles Bullock III, a professor of political science at the University of Georgia, gave Mrs. Greene points for being authentic.

“I guess voters view someone like that as being authentic,” he said. “Authentic meaning that they let their emotion show, as opposed to having a thick smile on their face or something like that. … People unhappy with current conditions appreciate someone who will speak up.”

Mr. Bullock said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, another Georgia Republican, popularized the take-no-prisoners approach in the 1990s when he went from being a back-bencher to a Republican power broker with a knack for earning free media. 

Former President Donald Trump carried the style to another level, unveiling a powerful electoral yearning for “fighters” who won’t be pushed around and who punch back.

Mrs. Greene’s style has been a hallmark of her rise from internet obscurity into arguably the most divisive elected official in the nation.

Indeed, Democrats stripped her of House committee assignments, and some of her Republican colleagues criticized her unconventional antics. 

At the same time, the high-voltage brand has turned her into a fundraising juggernaut and a conservative superstar.

Her critics fear her zeal for controversy will provide a dangerous blueprint for other ambitious upstarts, while her admirers hope it’s a sign of things to come.

Former Rep. Steve King inspired a similar scope of feelings.

The Iowa Republican compiled a conservative voting record while flirting with right-wing fringe groups and cultivating a reputation for being a rabble-rouser on Capitol Hill.

Craig Robinson, a veteran Republican Party operative in Iowa, said fellow Republicans sometimes fretted about sharing the stage with Mr. King because they never knew what he was going to say.

“I don’t think that his style is what got him in trouble,” Mr. Robinson said. “I think the content, what he focused on in the end, is what people got fed up with.”

Comments on White supremacy led to Mr. King’s downfall.

Republican leaders stripped him of his committee assignments and refused to endorse his 2020 reelection campaign. 

Voters in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, the reddest in the state, also said enough was enough. Rep. Randy Feenstra, a former state senator, defeated Mr. King in the Republican primary by offering to be a less-combative conservative.

Jennifer Strahan, one of the Republicans running to unseat Mrs. Greene this year, is hoping for a similar dynamic in northwest Georgia.

“Congresswoman Greene is not a voice for Georgia; she’s a voice for her own celebrity,” Mrs. Strahan said. “As a result, she is extremely ineffective.” 

Analysts say Mrs. Greene’s rivals face an uphill battle. 

For one thing, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, has refused to abandon Mrs. Greene.

“I suspect Marjorie Taylor Greene effectively represents the views of most of the voters that district,” Mr. Bullock said. “Rep. King became an embarrassment not only with his party leadership but also his constituents. Greene apparently hasn’t crossed that line yet.”

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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