The GOP’s problem caucus

By W. James Antle III, The Week

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) is enmeshed in yet another scandal, a series of controversies that run the gamut from insider trading to lingerie wearing. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) mused about Satan’s alleged control of the Roman Catholic Church.

Call them the GOP’s problem caucus. A handful of congressional Republicans persistently draw outsized media coverage and cause headaches for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who will be asked to answer for Greene’s theological disquisitions and Cawthorn’s legal or sartorial choices.

It won’t be a problem in the midterm elections. Republicans are likely to win in spite of them, and they themselves are heavily favored to win reelection. But they will become a bigger problem if there is a Republican majority next year, and they will get even more attention as Democrats elevate them in an effort to make Donald Trump look like Edmund Burke by comparison.

Leadership has little recourse against these problem children. You can strip them of their committee assignments (or in Greene’s case, keep them off committees) and hope their constituents decide they don’t have enough juice in Washington to do the job. But it’s not clear that these lawmakers have much interest in committee work or legislation. In fact, this just frees them up to make more trouble.


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