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Commentary: I disagree strongly with Marjorie Taylor Greene's past statements. However, it would be dangerous for the House to punish her for them.


The precedent being set here is not a good one


Like many people, I was pretty appalled when the extent of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's social media history began to reach the public consciousness in the last couple of weeks. Certainly, I do not approve of the idea of taking violent action against members of Congress, nor do I think that the Rothschilds are starting forest fires with space lasers. I have absolutely no use for QAnon or its nutty prophecies that never come true. I do not doubt that the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, happened. If given the choice, I would not vote for anyone who held or espoused these views.

All of that being said, what the Democrats are attempting to do to Greene is dangerous and should not be tolerated, either by the House GOP conference or by Democrats.

Greene herself says that she did not make many of these claims and that they were posted to her social media by members of her "team" without her knowledge. I have no idea whether that is true or not, but let's assume for a moment that Greene wrote and said all these things herself. Even so, any sort of punitive action taken against her for these comments would set a dangerous precedent that every member of the House should oppose.

The key determining factor here is that Greene made these comments before she was elected or took office. They were posted to her public social media accounts. We must therefore assume that the voters who elected her either knew about them, or had the opportunity to know about them, and chose to elect her anyway. And that really ought to seal the deal.

As repulsive as members from all other 434 Congressional districts might find Greene's pre-election statements and views, they are simply not in an acceptable position to pass judgment on the decision of the voters in her district to send her to Congress to do a job. I am quite sure that the voters in Greene's district find many of the things believed by, say, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) to be horrifying; however, members of Congress are not elected to pass judgment on what views are acceptable for other duly elected members of Congress to hold.

If the House wishes to discipline a duly elected member of Congress by stripping committee assignments, the practice should be reserved only for egregious behavior committed by that member while in office, like what happened with former Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). In that circumstance, it could be argued that King's comments brought disrepute upon the House based upon behavior that had not, as yet, been considered by his voters. In such a circumstance, stripping King of his committee assignments was at least defensible, even if you believe (as I do) that such a measure should be used sparingly and only in dire circumstances.

Punishing a member for pre-election wrongthink — no matter how wrong that think might be — would start us down a very dark path indeed. Now, the Democrats control the levers of power in the House and feel confident removing Greene because so many people nationwide disapprove of her comments. What happens when they decide that everyone who is or has been at any point in time opposed to gay marriage should also be stripped of their committee assignments? What happens when they expand that to everyone who opposes Medicare for All? What happens when Republicans regain power (as eventually they will) and turn it on Democrats?

Whatever you or I might think about Greene and her past history, one ineradicable fact remains: The voters in her district just voted to send her to Congress in a legal and fair election in spite of those views. Whether you or I or anyone else disagrees with that decision is a moot point, at least until the next election rolls around. If either Democrats or Republicans find it distasteful to serve alongside someone with those views, then they can employ the DCCC or NRCC to find someone to run against her and use advertising money to amplify that message to the voters in her district.

Until that time, unless Greene says something that is completely beyond the pale while she is in office, she should not be disciplined by members who were elected to represent other districts.

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