MAGA’s most ardent congressional supporters, Representatives Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene, have both (accidentally) hit demagogic leader Donald Trump with friendly fire in recent months.
The Boebert Incident
Boebert’s incident occurred during an Oversight Committee hearing on the Office of Personnel Management a few months back. Boebert was questioning OPM’s director, Kiran Ahuja, about “more than 25 percent of federal employees not logging into work” while teleworking.
Ahuja pushed back, prompting Boebert to say “it’s in this leaked document, right here, that we just submitted into the record.” Ahuja retorted: “You’re basing that from 2020, which is in the last administration, and I can’t speak to that.”
The last administration, of course, was Donald Trump’s administration.
The document Boebert cited was an internal Department of Health and Human Services document (reportedly leaked) showing that, “on average,” HHS employees were not using their official Office 365 emails from March to December 2020.
“Boebert grew frustrated when Ahuja could not immediately provide more recent data,” Business Insider reported. “The Colorado Republican then tried to point to the Trump-era document as evidence that federal workers are currently abusing remote work policies by “claiming they are teleworking and instead they are spending all day at a swim-up bar in Cabo.”
Boebert’s line of inquiry speaks to the heart of this conservative ethos where everyone needs to work their ass off all the time – and to this conservative perception that the liberal ethos is to slack off persistently while still expecting handouts.
The conservative work ethos, and the perception of the liberal work ethos, have become more relevant during the pandemic and the rise of teleworking, as Boebert’s inquiry suggests. But the same sentiments are lingering beneath the surface of so many political debates, like, what should we do about entitlements, or what should our tax rate be?
Boebert’s line of inquiry is meant to reinforce the idea that conservatives show up to work hard and expect nothing in return, while liberals expect to kind of, maybe telework while collecting a fat government paycheck.
It’s a characterization and her attempt to provide supporting evidence invalidates the characterization – she’s indicting Trump workers, not Biden workers.
In sum, the incident amounts to a minor burn against the Trump administration – but a moderate burn against Boebert herself who has supplied plenty of reasons to question her competence.
The Greene Incident
MTG’s incident doesn’t speak to some greater debate on work-life balance, or anything so profound. Still, it’s a similar example of an attempt to burn the Biden administration resulting in a burn against the Trump administration.
The incident: during a hearing on the deaths of two brothers a few moths back, who died using fentanyl, Greene blamed the Biden administration. Problem is, the brothers died in July 2020 – when Trump was president.
Biden himself commented on MTG’s mix-up. “Isn’t she amazing,” Biden said at the time. “Whew!”
MTG was no doubt trying to frame Biden, and liberals in general, as soft on drugs, soft on crime, et cetera, et cetera.
But substance abuse is an issue that has transcended party lines, afflicting red states and blue states, Republican administrations, and Democratic administrations.
Regardless, MTG’s attempt to leverage the deaths of two brothers into a partisan political burn blows up in her face.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.