MAGA Clown Car Crashes Congress

Here we are on the second anniversary of Trump’s lie-fueled violent insurrection to try and halt Congress from certifying a duly elected president of the United States. Despite the death and destruction in its attempted takeover of the Capitol, the MAGA mob failed — and many are now paying the price in prison. But lo and behold, a tiny band of MAGA clowns has managed to halt the function of Congress by refusing to vote for Kevin McCarthy for Speaker of the House — and without a speaker, the House cannot even swear in its members, let alone perform its constitutional duties to the American public.

There are 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The 20 MAGA extremists — including Montana’s own MAGA clown, Rep. Matt Rosendale — comprise a mere 4.5 percent of the members. That such a tiny fraction of the House can grind its wheels to a stop isn’t a victory for these deluded members. It’s a tragedy and a tremendous stain on the reputation of the American governing process.

Yet, while they can and have been playing the spoilers, they have no viable MAGA candidate of their own and their actions mean the rest of the members of the House, as well as the American public, are forced to watch their political theater make the Republicans a laughing stock for being unable to even elect a leader of their own party. How’s that for making America great again!

Were the consequences not so tragic, it would actually be laughable to see these right-wingers torpedo their own slim Republican majority…and to be sure, many are laughing at the situation. But there’s serious business afoot and while the MAGAs are more than welcome to barricade themselves in a room and fume, the other 415 members of the House are prevented from attending any national security briefings, reviewing sensitive intelligence, or even being in the room where those top secret documents are kept.

Some may find it easy to dismiss such concerns, but considering Russia just sent out its most modern warship armed with Zircon hypersonic missiles against which the US has no proven defense, one might think members of Congress should be kept informed of the situation instead of being excluded thanks to a tiny handful of so-called Freedom Caucus members.

Moreover, the demands of these extremists promise to upend the function of the House should they actually be met. They want one person — just one — to be able to stand up and call for the election of a new Speaker at any given time. Think, now, how many days have passed as a stunned populace watches McCarthy fail on a historic number of votes — and then consider that process taking place whenever one disgruntled member decides to bring the House to a standstill. That’s chaos, not governance.

The MAGA clowns are bad enough in Congress, but comes now our newly-formed Montana Freedom Caucus. Not sure about why that’s necessary since it’s extremely rare one hears Montanans complaining about a lack of freedom. And unfortunately, their idea of “freedom” is often antithetical to actual personal freedom — as in banning books they don’t think you should read or subjects they don’t think schools should teach, forced birth, and “safeguarding” the same election process that produced the first Republican legislative super majority in Montana’s history.

Americans are right to condemn the MAGA clown car tactics in Congress — especially when they offer no viable alternative of their own. We can only hope Montana doesn’t suffer a similar fate — and wind up with a dysfunctional legislative MAGA clown car of our own.

George Ochenski is a columnist for the Missoulian, where this essay originally appeared.