A few days ago, I came upon two opinion pieces by writers for The Washington Post – Colbert King and Eugene Robinson. Both were along the same lines – how the Republican Party is destroying itself by tolerating the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene – and I set them aside until I could decide which to share. Today, I’ve decided to share this one by Colbert King, for he makes some excellent points comparing the GOP of old to the one we see today.
Mr. King is a Pulitzer Prize winner who has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department and Executive Director to the World Bank.
The GOP once knew what to do about problems like Marjorie Taylor Greene
Feb. 1, 2021 at 3:39 p.m. EST
Just how low can Republicans go?
Look at House GOP leaders wringing their hands over Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), the freshman lawmaker known for racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic views. Contrast their anxious cries of “Oh, dear me, what do we do about Marjorie?” with the moment decades ago when the party had to contend with David Duke, the neo-Nazi former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard.
At a Nov. 6, 1991, news conference 10 days before Louisianans went to the polls to vote for governor, GOP President George H.W. Bush urged them not to support Duke, the Republican on the ticket. Bush said:
“When someone asserts that the Holocaust never took place, then I don’t believe that person ever deserves one iota of public trust,” Bush said. “And when someone has so recently endorsed Nazism, it is inconceivable that such a person can legitimately aspire to leadership — in a leadership role in a free society. And when someone has a long record, an ugly record, of racism and of bigotry, that record simply cannot be erased by the glib rhetoric of a political campaign.
“So, I believe that David Duke is an insincere charlatan,” Bush continued. “I believe he is attempting to hoodwink the voters of Louisiana, and I believe that he should be rejected for what he is and what he stands for.”
On Election Day, Democrat Edwin Edwards won with 61 percent of the vote.
That’s not all. When Duke announced a run for the U.S. Senate in 2016, Reince Priebus, then the Republican National Committee chairman, also pounced: “David Duke & his hateful bigotry have no place in the Republican Party & the RNC will never support his candidacy under any circumstance.” Duke got 3 percent of the vote.
That was back then.
In 2020, a Republican showed up on the scene bearing a social media history positing that “Rothschild Inc” and others used solar-powered lasers orbiting in space to touch off deadly California wildfires to clear space for a high-speed rail project. That, it goes without saying, was false. But the lie was very much in keeping with the odious and persistent slurs about Jewish wealth and power pulling strings in the shadows.
The same Republican also suggested that the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., was faked by anti-gun activists; mocked a young victim of gun violence; said former president Barack Obama “is a Muslim” and that “Valerie Jarrett is too”; and described the events leading up to the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol to interrupt the formalizing of 2020 elections as the Republicans’ “1776 moment.”
That same Republican said, in a January 2019 Facebook video, that “it’s a crime punishable by death is what treason is. Nancy Pelosi is guilty of treason.” (“Over the years, I’ve had teams of people manage my pages. Many posts have been liked. Many posts have been shared. Some did not represent my views,” the Republican said in a statement.) That Republican also has a video petitioning the White House to support the impeachment of the House speaker for treason, because she opposed former president Donald Trump’s border wall and supported so-called sanctuary policies that allegedly “are serving illegals and not United States citizens.” That same Republican, in a February 2019 Facebook live stream, suggested that Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) was “just as guilty of treason as Nancy Pelosi.”
What are Republicans to do about a Republican lawmaker who has said, “George Soros is the piece of crap that turned in — he’s a Jew — he turned in his own people over to the Nazis”? A 13-year-old Soros, The Post has reported, used false papers to survive the Nazi occupation of Hungary and called any suggestion he turned over Jews to the Nazis a “total fabrication.”
Whatever in the world is there to say?
Well, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, has hailed that Republican — Greene — as, “exactly the kind of fighter needed in Washington to stand with me against the radical left.”
And Trump tweeted congratulations to Greene for her House victory in November, calling her a “future Republican star.” Tweeted Trump: “Marjorie is strong on everything and never gives up — a real WINNER!”
George Herbert Walker Bush’s day is gone. So, too, is the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Charles McC. Mathias, Edward Brooke and John McCain.
Bush stood down Duke. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), caught in the cross fire, has worked up the nerve to have a meeting with Greene this week.
How low can today’s Republicans go? What’s below the sewers?