Are Marjorie Taylor Greene’s antics “performative”?: A new op-ed raises two key questions about the Georgia Congresswoman- is her persona a performance, or is she completely serious? And either way, how dangerous is she?
The latest is an op-ed by a former member of Congress.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Should We Worry?
Former Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) did that in an op-ed in The Hill over the weekend.
“At almost any other time in our nation’s history, she’d be marginalized as the raving conspiracy theorist standing on a corner, compelling us to walk briskly across the street,” Israel wrote. “But the recent convergence of social media and performative politics has made her a social-media star. She’s the modern-day incarnation of Abbott and Costello — except that, in this case, we’re the vaudeville ‘straight men’ and her lunacy gets all the attention.”
Israel went on to argue that Greene’s act of gaining attention through extremism has a long pedigree in American history, going back to Father Coughlin in the 1930s, and even further back than that. But in the age of social media, he writes, “the vile becomes viral.”
The former Congressman, who goes on to compare Greene to the 1980s talk show host Morton Downey Jr., admitted that performance and theatricality have long been a part of politics, and not necessarily always in a bad way. But Greene’s style is something completely different.
Her version, per Israel, is “employed to increase one’s social media and fundraising capital rather than to enlighten an electorate. Politics used to be about selling an idea; now it’s about monetizing one’s brand. You post something outrageous, people click on it, then the money rolls in.”
Greene, even though she’s once again on committees and directly allied with the Speaker of the House, still appears more interested in trolling than in any policy questions.
“These new political characters campaign not for a seat on the House or Senate floor but a place on the stage. They judge success not by the number of bills they’ve passed but by the number of retweets they’ve gained. They are in D.C. not to lead, but to be ‘liked,’” he writes.
“Like any novelty in performative politics, Rep. Greene’s act will fade or combust,” he wrote.
Indeed, there’s only one of her, and it doesn’t appear that any other members of Congress are into the “national divorce” idea. And while Greene is not known for apologizing or backing off, she was moved to clarify the divorce comments on Sean Hannity’s show last week, indicating that her act has its limits.
Greene Has New Ideas
At any rate, she appears to have moved on to her next act. Greene, per The Hill, has announced that she is introducing legislation to declare Antifa a “terrorist organization.”
“Antifa are domestic terrorists and I’m introducing my resolution to officially declare them a terrorist organization on Tuesday,” Greene tweeted, over a video of a burning construction site near the under-construction Public Safety Training Facility in Atlanta. The facility has been the target of “Stop Cop City” protests in recent weeks. It appeared from the video that a construction tractor was on fire.
At least 19 people have been charged with domestic terrorism since December in connection with the protests in Atlanta, per Fox News. It’s not clear if the people responsible for the fires and other acts charged as crimes are affiliated with any local Antifa groups.
Then-President Donald Trump had sought to declare Antifa a “terrorist organization,” during the protests in late May of 2020 that had followed the killing of George Floyd.
Politico said at the time that the president lacks the authority to make such a declaration about a domestic group, and also that it was far from clear that Antifa is an organization at all.
Expertise and Experience:
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.