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It's time for another Outrage Cycle, where some right-wing nihilist picks a nonsense fight to get a rise out of The Liberal Media, which the provocateur can then point to when telling their supporters they are a brave truth-teller fighting the good fight against an insidious cadre attempting to silence the voices of Real Americans. If you want to be a conservative star these days, you've got to be constantly engaged in WWE-style combat against some representative of The Radical Left or the media. That's why Madison Cawthorn freely admitted he assembled his staff solely with "comms" in mind—there is no situation in which Cawthorn would craft a piece of legislation to address an actual problem facing our society—and it's the larger political phenomenon for which we can thank Marjorie Taylor Greene.
It feels right that on this Earth Day we should find MTG following around another acronymed congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), promoting a proposal for the two to be engaged in single combat over another occasionally acronymed entity, the Green New Deal (GND). As usual, the actual details of the dispute—what does the bill aim to do? how does it aim to do it? what are the problems it seeks to solve, and are there alternative approaches that would better accomplish its goals?—are completely irrelevant. The point is to have the fight. You can tell by the way our friend MTG is promoting the boxing match.
So Greene has not read the Green New Deal—or, we can safely assume, the previous resolution of the same name—but she is absolutely positive that she will have the opposite opinion of it that Ocasio-Cortez, one of its sponsors, has. Hence the debate. It's almost like it does not matter what is in the bill, or whether it's a good bill, and the point is to get headlines and cable-news segments covering this fight with another prominent member of Congress who is, helpfully, a staple villain among the Fox News crowd. Does Greene have an alternative approach to combating the climate crisis? Does she even accept the scientific consensus that the climate is changing in dangerous ways and human activity is the primary cause? Does it matter when she's already been stripped of her committee assignments for making Kevin McCarthy look like Otto von Bismarck? Would any of this even come up if this debate were to happen? No, probably not, because the point is to (hopefully) dunk on someone with an attack line.
It's all a bit insulting when the very same day, the New York Times reported on a new study outlining the catastrophic economic consequences of inaction in the face of the climate crisis. The analysis found we're on track to lose $23 trillion in "reduced annual global economic output worldwide" compared to if we weren't pumping carbon into the atmosphere at the rate we are. It's a report compiled not by semi-Communist egghead academics in bed with George Soros but by...an insurance company. That's the thing. When the crops fail and the extreme weather slams into homes and businesses, there's going to be one hell of a pile of insurance claims. In fact, we can probably track future climate hotspots by tracing where insurance companies are reluctant to operate based on the risk profile. Climate instability and disasters are now things you have to price into the cost of doing business, which you would think would be a concern among conservative politicians claiming to represent the Real interests of Real American business owners who pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps. That would be a tragic misreading of what we're all doing here.
Marjorie Taylor Greene is a person who last week, along with another member of the Loco Caucus, Lauren Boebert, voted against reauthorizing the National Marrow Donor Program, which CNN's Manu Raju summarized as working to "[match] bone marrow donors and cord blood units with patients who have leukemia and other diseases." The reasoning here is sadly simple. You don't need to see inside the minds involved here. Do something outrageous, get headlines, point to that as evidence the powers that be want to Silence you in all your virtuosity. Please send money. Why wouldn't the first major congressional proposal in years to tackle the climate crisis just become another prop in this food fight? It's stunt politics, the triumph of the trolling aesthetic as a political form.
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