Rep. Lauren Boebert was elected to Congress in 2020, as one of a handful of Republicans in Congress who was associated with out-there conspiracy theories. She’s kept that up in her time in office, getting a lot more television time than is typical of newer members of the House.
Boebert was re-elected in November, albeit by a much narrower margin than expected, to the point where it looked for a time after Election Day that she might even lose.
But Boebert has returned to Washington and played a prominent role in the fight over Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s push to become Speaker of the House. Boebert was part of the “Never Kevin” faction, stating in multiple TV interviews — including a memorably contentious one with Sean Hannity on Fox News — that McCarthy lacked the votes to become Speaker. And before and during the dramatic final vote and the confrontation between lawmakers, Boebert was near the center of the action, seated next to Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).
A news story this week indicated that some back at home are losing patience with Boebert – even those who voted for her.
The Associated Press wrote Sunday that “Lauren Boebert’s backers urge her to ‘tone down the nasty rhetoric,’” as Boebert becomes part of a majority party in the House for the first time in her career.
One woman who voted for Boebert in both 2020 and 2022 implored the Congresswoman to “tone down the nasty rhetoric on occasion and just stick with the point at hand.” This voter had supported Boebert in the past due in part to her “unequivocal defense of cultural issues that animate the Republican Party’s far right flank.”
Another voter in Boebert’s district “tapped into what Trump was doing, and she maybe took it too far in some instances.”
The framing in the AP story is somewhat curious. After all, over-the-top rhetoric has been, essentially, the main thing with which Boebert has been associated for the entire time she’s been involved in politics. If she toned down the rhetoric, after all, she wouldn’t really be Lauren Boebert. The voters of Colorado didn’t send her to Washington because of her mastery of policy nuances.
Boebert has of late been feuding with her fellow frequent conspiracy theorist from the 2020 class, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, telling the AP that “I have been asked to explain MTG’s beliefs on Jewish space lasers, on why she showed up to a white supremacist conference. … I’m just not going to go there.” Boebert and Greene were on opposite sides of the McCarthy fight, with Greene declaring early on that she supported McCarthy’s bid for the Speakership.
The Congresswoman, in her own interview with the AP, stated that she is now “more focused on delivering the policies I ran on than owning the left” and is planning to “bring the temperature down, to bring unity.”
She went on to state that “a lot of those on the left have said: ‘Look at your election, are you going to tone it down, little girl?… I’m still going to be me.”
The Denver Post, meanwhile, looked at what it meant for Boebert’s political future that she was opposed to McCarthy’s ultimately successful efforts to become House Speaker.
Casey Burgat, a legislative affairs program director at George Washington University, told the newspaper that McCarthy could punish Boebert’s opposition by stripping her of committee assignments or assign her to less desirable committees. Then again, McCarthy may not have enough of a margin in his thin majority to make continued enemies of people like Boebert.
“So, he may try to work them back into the fold and chalk this up to a ‘messy democratic process,’” Burgat told the Post. “He doesn’t have the margins to create full-scale enemies in his conference.”
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.