Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is cleaning up her image and cozying up with GOP leadership to gain power. It's working.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is cozying up with GOP leadership after two years of being an outsider.
Democrats, along with a few Republicans, kicked Greene off of her committee assignments in 2021.
Two years later, under Republican leadership, she's angling herself into positions of power.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene gained a national spotlight and a seat in Congress as a Republican rabble-rouser. But after being stripped of her committee assignments for two years, she's softened her image to gain trust and power in Washington DC. There's a history of Republican leaders successfully doing this — and it's working for Greene.
Shortly after she joined Congress in 2021, a Democrat-led House of Representatives — along with 11 Republicans — voted to strip Greene of her committee assignments after reports arose that she expressed support to execute certain Democratic members of Congress and that she questioned the truthfulness of school shootings.
"Past comments from and endorsed by Marjorie Taylor Greene on school shootings, political violence, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories do not represent the values or beliefs of the House Republican Conference," then-House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said. "I condemn those comments unequivocally. I condemned them in the past. I continue to condemn them today."
There are consequences for antagonizing the party
Greene later apologized for her rhetoric prior to joining Congress and has made significant alliances with Republican leadership since getting reelected in 2022. It's clear she's learned valuable lessons from two of her GOP colleagues, Rep. Lauren Boebert and former Rep. Madison Cawthorn. Namely, that situating oneself on the outskirts of the party isn't exactly a winning strategy.
Cawthorn, for example, raised eyes while in Congress due to a series of gun-related incidents, driving infractions, and insider trading concerns. He later crossed a line, accusing unspecified Republicans of engaging in cocaine-addled orgies, which led to coordinated opposition from his local Republican Party. He later lost the Republican primary election to Rep. Chuck Edwards.
And Boebert, a far-right representative from Colorado whom Greene was frequently spotted with on the House floor, was almost voted out of office in 2022, narrowly defeating her challenger by just over 500 votes.
According to the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voting Index, Greene's district votes 22 percentage points more Republican than the national average. If Greene ameliorates her reputation as a rhetorical bomb-thrower and learns from Boebert and Cawthorn's follies, which she's been doing by cozying up to Republican leadership, she could realistically hold this seat as long as she wants.
A reliable playbook for gaining power
Additionally, there are several examples in history of politicians in the GOP who've gone against the grain and butted heads with the establishment and then later gained significant roles in Republican leadership.
While governor of California and leader of the conservative wing of the party, Ronald Reagan, for example, tried to defeat Richard Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller in the Republican presidential primaries in 1968 but was unable to secure anywhere near enough delegates to secure the nomination. He also later clashed with President Gerald Ford in 1976, similarly losing the Republican nomination then as well.
Reagan later rebounded, fixed up his image, and ran again in 1980 as his brand of conservative politics began to take shape, finally winning the presidential election and shaping the GOP for decades.
Additionally, another famous Georgian, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, had his own mini-rebellion against leadership when he was elected to Congress in 1978. Gingrich created the Conservative Opportunity Society, which clashed heads with other Republicans.
In spite of this, Gingrich ultimately gained prominence among the GOP, becoming the Republican whip and later speaker of the House.
Green's pivot to an ally of leadership
Greene has made steps to repair her image amongst conservatives. She was a vociferous ally of McCarthy in his bid for the speakership in January, calling out fellow Republicans who voted in opposition, which ultimately led to her gaining powerful committee seats.
"I think the American people, no matter how you vote, are sick and tired of drama," Greene said in early January when Boebert and a handful of Republicans temporarily prevented McCarthy from becoming speaker. "And this is nothing but drama."
Greene, who once said that she wasn't afraid of a "civil war" within the GOP, has changed her tune in recent times after Republicans gained control of the House.
"I really want to see us to come together," Greene recently told CNN. "There's an important race coming up in 2024 and Republicans, we have to prove to the country that we can be trusted to lead."
The politician from Georgia is proving to be more than her previous "space laser" comments as she angles herself to become one of Washington's most well-known and powerful legislators.
If rumors are true and she aspires for a spot as vice president on Trump's ticket in 2024, she's already making major progress.
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