Reprinted with permission from DailyKos
"I've been freed," bragged QAnon Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Friday, the day after House Democrats forced a vote to strip the reality-adjacent, pugnacious provocateur of her committee assignments because her GOP counterparts refused to do so.
Greene—whose momentary show of near-contrition Thursday melted away by Friday—blasted Democrats as "morons" for elevating her platform, or giving her "free time," as she put it in a tweet. "Oh this is going to be fun!" Greene declared—an apparent threat, now that the shackles of decency are off and she's done pretending she's anything other than a menace to society, not to mention the republic itself.
But Greene isn't the only one who has been freed. After nearly two months of witnessing Republicans spit in the face of democracy, Democrats watched the GOP's depravity sink to a new low this week. Not only are Republicans the party of sedition, by circling the wagons around Greene they have refashioned their so-called "big tent" to include everyone from traditional fiscal conservatives to loathsome Nazis and white supremacists, fanatical militia members and extremists, and wackadoodle conspiracy theorists. In short, the GOP is now a big tinfoil tent—an explosive experiment that could detonate at any moment.
And guess what—many of those traditional fiscal conservatives are fleeing the tent as fast as humanly possible. In fact, ever since the November election, tens of thousands of conservative voters across the country have been defecting from the Republican Party, a trend that spiked in the immediate aftermath of Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. In Colorado, for instance, the GOP lost about a half a percent of its registered voters in the single week following the riot, according to NPR. Similar trends are taking place in multiple states, including some that will be central to the 2022 battle for control of the Senate, such as Arizona, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania—where nearly 10,000 Keystone State voters dropped out of the Republican Party in the first 25 days of the year, according to The Hill.
The House Democratic campaign arm is already on it, moving aggressively to rebrand House Republicans as the Q-caucus. As Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, the new chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told POLITICO, Republicans "can do QAnon, or they can do college-educated voters. They cannot do both."
But as Republicans transform into a tinfoil tent community, Democrats are experiencing an equal and opposite reaction of sorts—an unrestrained clarity of vision and purpose. After all, why bother listening to a party so toxic it just rallied around someone calling for executions of your own members? Not only did House Democrats move without equivocation to strip Greene of her power, House impeachment managers put Donald Trump on the spot by inviting him to testify under oath for his impeachment trial. Trump, ever the coward, quickly declined, but that conversation may not be over, since the Senate could potentially subpoena him.
And as long as we're on the subject of Trump, President Joe Biden told CBS News he thinks Trump should be stripped of his intelligence briefings, citing his "erratic" behavior. "What value is giving him an intelligence briefing?" Biden said. "What impact does he have at all, other than the fact he might slip and say something?"
Democrats also greased the legislative skids this week for passage of President Biden's American Rescue Plan by a simple majority vote in the Senate, sidelining the necessity of winning GOP votes. Democrats might still lamentably trim back who is eligible for the $1,400 direct payments, but overall, this is the relief package Biden and Democrats promised on the campaign trail. And despite an incessant drumbeat of questions from reporters about the quaint notion of bipartisanship, Biden hasn't blinked.
"If I have to choose between getting help right now to Americans," Biden said Friday, "and getting bogged down in a lengthy negotiation or compromising on a bill that's up to the crisis, that's an easy choice. I'm going to help the American people who are hurting now." Biden also invoked the Defense Production Act and mobilized more than 1,000 active duty troops to help increase the rate of vaccinations and make 61 million more coronavirus tests available by summer.
Overall, Biden's White House and Congressional Democrats have taken a muscular no-nonsense approach to getting the nation back on its feet and providing quick relief to the Americans who need it most.
In some ways, progressives owe a debt of gratitude to Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell, who burned the bridge of good will beyond recognition in the last Democratic administration, and Kevin McCarthy, who has turned the GOP into a haven for the dangerous and unmoored. Democrats will spend the next several weeks making that transformation abundantly clear to the American people during a vivid recreation of the deadly Capitol riot that was inspired by Trump and underwritten by his GOP enablers.
And just as soon as Trump's Senate impeachment trial concludes, Democrats will likely be in position to punctuate the differences between the two parties by delivering a desperately needed relief bill to the American people.
It's a promising start—a foundation from which to build. Success begets success. But the stickier issues are yet to come. Even Biden admitted to CBS that he doesn't think his $15 minimum wage proposal will "survive" in the rescue package given the Senate rules on reconciliation. At some point, the rubber is going to have to meet the road on eliminating the filibuster so Democrats can continue delivering results at a time when Americans need their government to go to bat for them. But building momentum is at least a good place for Democrats to start.
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