Although former President Donald Trump has praised her, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia has become a major embarrassment to the Republican Party — and even hardcore GOP ideologues like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are saying that her "looney" extremism has no place in the GOP. But among House Republicans, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming is receiving a lot more criticism than Greene. And the Wall Street Journal's conservative editorial board, in an editorial published on February 2, stresses that the fates of Greene and Cheney will determine the future of the GOP.
Cheney is being slammed as a RINO (Republican in Name Only) by many Trump sycophants for coming out in favor of impeaching the former president, who she clearly blames for the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building. Greene, however, is an unwavering Trump supporter, which still counts for a lot in the GOP — even though Trump left the White House on January 20 and Joe Biden is two weeks into his presidency.
As the WSJ's editorial board sees it, the worst thing House Republicans could do is throw Cheney under the bus while letting Greene off the hook for her extremism. Greene has been drawing intense criticism from Democrats for everything from her support of the QAnon conspiracy cult to advocating the murder of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former President Barack Obama and other prominent Democrats.
"A few dozen backbenchers want to depose Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney from the House leadership for voting to impeach Donald Trump," the WSJ's editorial board explains. "Other members are concerned about the high public profile of Marjorie Taylor Greene, a freshman member from Georgia with kooky views. If the House GOP punishes Ms. Cheney while saying nothing about Ms. Greene, it will deserve a longer time in the wilderness."
In the minds of some Trumpistas — including Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Donald Trump, Jr. — Cheney committed a cardinal sin when she voted to impeach Trump. Cheney, the 54-year-old daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is presently the third highest-ranking Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives. And Gaetz is hoping to see her voted out of office via a GOP congressional primary in the 2022 midterms.
"Ms. Cheney's impeachment decision was a vote of conscience, as GOP leaders said at the time," the WSJ editorial board observes. "She joined nine others in voting to impeach Mr. Trump after an assault on the Capitol that followed weeks of false election claims from the White House. Some Republicans say Ms. Cheney has special obligations to reflect the GOP conference as a leader, but GOP leaders didn't whip the vote — and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was offering little guidance."
"If bowing before all things Trump is the litmus test for being a loyal Republican, the party should get used to continued losses in the suburbs," the WSJ's editorial board warns. "Mr. McCarthy should be defending his colleague's vote as a matter of principle, even if he disagreed with it, rather than living in fear of the wrath of Mar-a-Lago."
The editorial board continues, "As for Ms. Greene, Democrats are trying to make her the face of the GOP after stories have emerged that she bathes in internet misinformation. The news last week was a Facebook post from 2018 in which she speculated that California's wildfires were really started by a space laser. Somehow, the Rothschilds were involved. She has promoted the QAnon nonsense and called Mr. Trump the right leader to defeat 'this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles.' She has said there's no evidence a plane hit the Pentagon on 9/11 and suggested the 2018 Parkland, Fla., school shooting was a false-flag event."
Although Biden enjoyed a decisive victory in 2020 — winning 306 electoral votes and defeating Trump by more than 7 million in the popular vote — Democrats were disappointed to see their House majority shrink. And Republicans are hoping to retake the House in 2022. But the WSJ warns that they won't accomplish that if extremists like Greene are the face of the GOP.
"The main goal of the House minority is to become the majority, and in 2022, Republicans should have an excellent chance," the WSJ's editorial board stresses. "But they'll squander it if they purge serious members like Liz Cheney and let themselves be defined by conspiracy theorists and Parkland truthers."