On Thursday, every House Democrat and nearly a dozen Republicans voted to strip QAnon booster and freshman Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments, meaning you won’t see her appearing at House Budget or House Education committee hearings for the next few years.
By doing this, the House intended to send a message that being a conspiracy-peddling lunatic won’t be tolerated in the chamber. But despite their best efforts, it’s going to change very little about how the House operates or even how much of a platform Greene has.
Greene deserved, at the very least, to be expelled from Congress. But because that requires a supermajority and half of the GOP caucus apparently clapped for her instead of voluntarily removing her from her committees, as they did white nationalist Steve King in 2019, this was seen as the next best thing. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose murder Greene endorsed in 2018, called Greene’s assignment to the House Education committee “appalling.”
But anyone who’s watched a congressional hearing in the past several years can reasonably say that there’s not much ground on far-right crankery House Republicans haven’t already covered. In 2019, GOP Rep. Debbie Lesko of Arizona, who is much less famous than Greene, proposed renaming the Equality Act expanding LGBTQ protections in federal law to the “Forfeiting Women’s Rights Act.” Matt Gaetz turned a hearing about gun control into a tirade against undocumented people and then tried to get two Parkland fathers removed from the room. Google Louie Gohmert.
Taking Greene out of hearings and committee votes removes one part of her platform, but it’s far from the only or largest part she has. Greene claims she’s raised around $2 million since her Facebook posts began to come to light last month, which is nearly as much as she raised during her first campaign overall.
Greene appears to be in Congress solely to generate attention for herself and her insane bullshit, so it’s hard to envision that she’ll be bothered much by missing the chance to develop working relationships with her colleagues over the intricacies of education policy. Unlike King, she’s just getting started—her district is one of the reddest in the country and she ran unopposed in the general election last year, so she can hold onto that seat as long as she wants it. The racist and generally shitty things she says are not going to stop getting media coverage just because she’s not saying them to the Secretary of Education; she’ll just say them to Tucker Carlson again.
And even prior to the vote, Republicans began using Greene’s removal as a pretext to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from her role on the Foreign Affairs committee because she’s had the audacity to criticize Israel, a move that seems pretty much inevitable the next time the Republicans control the House. Maybe they would have done this anyway—they called for the Democrats to remove her from the same committee in 2019—but this just fuels their victim complex and desire for revenge the next time they have power, which very well could be as early as 2023.
The only way to truly deal with a problem like Greene is not just to expel her, but all of the other far-right members of the GOP caucus, which is at least half of its members. The Democrats do not have the votes for this and would never do it anyway, but Greene and the GOP will never get the message they’re trying to send. In fact, as they’ve already shown, they’ll use the message for fundraising pleas claiming they’re being silenced. The solution then would appear to be actually silencing them.
In a world where that’s not going to happen, however, this is a tough position to be in—what do you do with a colleague who wants you dead? Maybe, with the tools they had, this was the best option. Or maybe, considering all of the attention Greene has wrung out of this and the fact that being kicked off her committees does not bother her in the least, the best thing to do would’ve been nothing. It’s a genuinely difficult question.
What’s clear, though, is that Marjorie Taylor Greene is a symbol of the insanity of the GOP as a whole, and there is no “solution” to the problems she’s caused that does not involve the destruction of the entire Republican Party as it presently exists. Until then, nothing will fundamentally change, no matter how many committees Greene is barred from.