early and often

The MTG-Boebert Feud Is Fueled by Diverging Political Paths

Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene in happier days, jointly heckling President Biden at the 2022 State of the Union. Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters/Bloomberg via Getty Images

For the most part, political observers have treated this week’s war of words between Republican congresswomen Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia as light holiday entertainment, like something the Lifetime channel might serve up if it veered into right-wing politics. The fiery House freshmen from two quadrants of MAGA-land have expressed differences of opinion over Kevin McCarthy’s campaign to become House Speaker, with MTG serving as the Californian’s unofficial whip within the House Freedom Caucus and Boebert holding out and demanding concessions. Apparently having reporters quote Greene’s barbs at McCarthy critics annoyed Boebert into a snarky shot at her erstwhile buddy from Georgia, as The Hill reported:

“You know, I’ve been aligned with Marjorie and accused of believing a lot of the things that she believes in,” Boebert told conservative commentator Charlie Kirk at a Turning Point USA conference when asked about Greene’s support for McCarthy. “I don’t believe in this [the McCarthy bid], just like I don’t believe in Russian space lasers — Jewish space lasers and all of this.”

This, of course, is a reference to one of the more bizarre and reprehensible MTG utterances made on social media prior to her election to Congress, which led to her being stripped of her committee assignments before she rightly had them. The rant in question suggested that wildfires were being caused by space lasers directed by the Rothschild family (long a subject of antisemitic fables) in pursuit of some rail project. By bringing it up (though getting it initially wrong; Greene attributed the conspiracy to Jews, but not necessarily Russian Jews), Boebert suggested her kinship with MTG stopped somewhere short of the gates of delirium.

Greene, never at a loss for words, responded with some snark of her own on Twitter:

Boebert, you see, didn’t leap to endorse Trump over other potential MAGA candidates for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination (she later remonstrated that she remains a big fan of the 45th president). But the more wounding comment was the snipe about Boebert’s narrow margin of victory in 2022. And that comment helps explain why these two politicians, who are so ostensibly similar — youngish women relatively new to politics who embrace Christian nationalism and adore guns — are on different political paths. Greene has an entirely safe seat in a deep-red district; its PVI rating from Cook Political Report is R+22, which means it’s 22 points more Republican than the nation as a whole. Boebert’s is a mere R+7. The only theoretical threat to Greene is in a Republican primary, which is why it makes sense for her to snuggle up to McCarthy and aim at a leadership position. Boebert will likely be a Democratic target in 2024 after coming so close to losing — and not because she was insufficiently Trumpy. She needs to appear to be an independent battler for her constituents and their presumed Washington-hating values and interests. She doesn’t need the distraction of being identified as the MTG of the West, as MSNBC’s Zeeshan Aleem observes:

As of last spring she already appeared to be objecting to some of Greene’s most extreme views; they reportedly looked as if they were about to come to literal blows during an argument after Greene had attended one of [white nationalist Nick] Fuentes’ events. And Boebert likely now views her affiliation with the most extreme elements of MAGA world as politically dangerous after nearly being ousted from office by a Democrat in her conservative Colorado district.

So it makes sense for her to pick a fight with Greene, or with one of Greene’s famously batshit bits of commentary. There is, after all, a huge expanse of ultraconservative ground she can occupy without coming close to MTG.

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The MTG-Boebert Feud Is Fueled by Diverging Political Paths