After House Republican Lauren Boebert faced widespread backlash last week for making horrendously bigoted remarks about House Democrat Ilhan Omar, Boebert uncharacteristically backed down and publicly apologized. A call was even set up for today, so that Boebert could make amends with Omar directly. But for whatever reason, Boebert decided to blow up that phone call, to the point that Omar ultimately hung up on her. Boebert then posted a video last night, accusing Omar, who is Muslim, of sympathizing with terrorists.
You’d have to ask Boebert why she initially backed down, only to change her mind and blow up the controversy even further. Our best guess would be that weakling House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy steered her toward apologizing, but he couldn’t keep her on that path for very long. In any case, it’s now an even bigger scandal for Boebert, and House Democrats will likely end up having to censure her and remove her from House committees as a result. But that’s just the start.
If McCarthy was trying to steer Boebert toward making amends, it’s because while McCarthy is an idiot, even he understands how election math works. While Boebert may consider this kind of rhetoric and behavior to be good for her own deranged far right brand, the reality is that this is bad news for House Republicans in the midterms.
Sure, Boebert’s antics may not hurt her in her own right wing district. But every House Republican is now going to have to vote on whether to censure Boebert – including House Republicans in swing districts. No matter how they vote, the Democratic Party will be sure to use it against them in those swing districts. If a House Republican votes to protect Boebert, Democrats will broadcast that message to moderate voters in that district. If a House Republican votes to censure Boebert, Democrats will broadcast that message to right wing voters in that district.
While the nation would be better off if Lauren Boebert weren’t in Congress at all, the reality is that expulsion requires a two-thirds vote, and House Republicans aren’t going to provide enough votes for that. Since we’re stuck with her, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, and other deranged extremists, the Democratic Party can and will use their antics to defeat House Republicans in swing districts in 2022. As always, the key is to push the Boeberts, Greenes, and Gosars out front, and make the midterms a referendum on their extremism.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report