By Douglas Bloomfield
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon congresswoman, may be trying to disavow her America First Caucus after criticism from leaders of the GOP. She may have bungled its public unveiling, but it will be back. That’s because her two-day wonder is part of her aim to move into the leadership of Donald Trump’s MAGA movement in a political party in which where the lunatic fringe is growing.
Even if the far-right Freedom Caucus said it was too extreme for them, that’s more about institutional rivalry than ideology. Greene said that her purpose was in promoting “Anglo-Saxon political traditions,” which is another buzzword for white supremacy, and to “drive President Trump’s America first agenda” by following in his “footsteps.”
Trump didn’t introduce racism to the GOP; he just made it comfortable to bring it out in the open. He didn’t create the America First movement, despite his incessant boasting. It’s been around since before Trump and Greene were even born.
Early in the last century it was prominently displayed on signs carried by Ku Klux Klan marchers. More recently it was the name taken by the pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic isolationist movement organized to keep America out of World War II.
America First leader Charles Lindbergh told followers, “Jews will not replace us.” Sound familiar? It should; that was the chant of neo-Nazis and white nationalist demonstrators at Charlottesville in 2017. It is echoed in the “replacement” rants today on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
Appeal To Bigotry
Replacement rantings led to the enactment of the 1924 National Origins Act drastically limiting immigration. A leading proponent was the virulently segregationist Sen. Ellison “Cotton Ed” Smith of South Carolina, who said was essential to preserving America’s “pure, unadulterated Anglo-Saxon stock.”
That same appeal to bigotry is echoed today by Republicans in more than 350 bills moving through Republican dominated legislatures across the country. They call it election reform, but it is really voter suppression to protect the GOP from an increasingly diverse electorate.
The real purpose of the so-called “reform” bills is to return to the Jim Crow era and to erect roadblocks for black, brown, immigrant, minority and other citizens who might vote Democratic. Trump is still spreading the lies about a rigged election, despite having lost by more than 7 million votes with no credible evidence of fraud; in fact, Republicans have lost the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections.
The two parties today are divided by “policy and a broader clash between white, Christian conservatives and a liberal, multiracial secular elite,” political scientist Lilliana Mason told the New York Times.
It can be seen in Senate Republican attempts to block the nominations of two women of color —Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke, both highly qualified veteran civil rights lawyers— for senior Justice Department posts.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is also blocking civil rights and voting rights legislation passed by the House. He also said reparations for the “sin of slavery” are unnecessary because everyone responsible for black bondage is dead and the slavery issue was dealt with by fighting the Civil War, electing a black president and passing landmark civil and voting rights bills in the 1960s.
It makes one wonder whether those historic civil rights laws could pass today, or McConnell and Republicans would try to filibuster them to death.
Bush: New GOP
Former President George W. Bush has described today’s Republican Party as “isolationist, protectionist and, to a certain extent, nativist.” He has decried the “harsh rhetoric” about immigration. He made no mention of Greene’s America First Caucus, Trump or the culture wars, but his call for more bipartisanship sounded closer to Joe Biden than today’s GOP.
The party known for its attitudes to 3 G’s —Guns, Gays and God— now has a new 3 G’s – Greene, Gosar and Gaetz.
Greene, a self-promoting conspiracy theorist considered anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim, will be remembered for discovering the Jewish space laser that was used to ignite California’s forest fires.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) was originally reported to be Greene’s partner but when criticism erupted he bailed. It would have been a good fit. He insisted he’s been “championing” “America First work” for years. In last year’s election, seven of his siblings denounced him for his “deceit and anti-Semitic dog whistle.”
Most of Greene’s colleagues may be in denial for the moment but one had the courage to quickly enlist in her cause, which has been dubbed the Ku Klux Kaucus, “I’m proud to join,” tweeted Rep. Matt Gaetz. “We will end wars, stop illegal immigration & promote trade that is fair to American workers.”
Gaetz is making other news these days as the libidinous Trump wannabe under Justice Department investigation over a possible sexual relationship with an underage girl.
Others on the lunatic fringe who initially indicated they were considering joining Green’s group have since fled the scene.
She insisted that her caucus wouldn’t be racist because it’s open to “every American, of every race, creed and color.” Remember the platform document called for a protection of “Anglo –Saxon political traditions.” As long as they’re white and Christian like her, I presume. The term Anglo-Saxon is defined as white, English-speaking Gentiles, just as America First has historically provoked thoughts of pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic isolationism.
Sen. McConnell has accused Greene of being a “cancer” on the GOP and spreading “loony lies and conspiracy theories,” but in a party whose House delegation includes the likes of Gaetz, Gosar, Louie Gohmert, Barry Moore, Andy Biggs, Lauren Boebert, Mo Brooks, Madison Cawthorn and Jim Jordan— she’s got a lot of company.