This is what Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene had to tweet on Presidents Day:
"We need a national divorce. We need to separate by red states and blue states and shrink the federal government. Everyone I talk to says this. From the sick and disgusting woke culture issues shoved down our throats to the Democrat's traitorous America Last policies ... "
A national divorce? Sort of like a civil war? This is a woman with the ear of the House leadership, part of the team that's running the Congress. And she wants to divide the country even more than it is now, whatever that would mean, leaving half the states what? Without access to health insurance? Free from civil rights? Fewer books in the libraries?
Is this really the message of Presidents Day?
This is what passes for leadership.
The point is that Greene has been saying this kind of nonsense for years, and it has proven to be the path to power, which means she will continue to follow it to more power. She is no longer a crazy outlier. She has, by all reports, the speaker's attention and confidence.
She is a distinguished gentlewoman, albeit from a state that might be bleeding blue and leave her on the wrong side of the aisle. But more on that later.
The gentlewoman from Georgia is not the only woman who sees power in the extreme path. So do Democrats who have done well in tinkering in Republican primaries to support the most right-wing candidate, knowing that that candidate will be the easier to beat in the fall.
A risky strategy should you prove wrong, of course, and not entirely kosher, but a game both sides do play, and one that has been and continues to be played by Democrats.
It's all very entertaining. I mean, Greene makes for better quotes than the average member of Congress any day. Having people take extreme positions, calling each other traitors, brings energy to the debate and viewers to the audience.
And if the fight is about Republican extremists, then just the fact of it makes it more likely that a regular Democrat can win. Including in Georgia.
But there is a price to this fight, and it's the attention the haters are getting, even if they lose in the long run, not to mention the risk that they may win. It's the easy acceptance of inflammatory invective that should be rejected out of hand.
This is what has come to dominate our national discourse. It is the new normal.
And it's the simple fact that this debate is leaving us more bitterly divided than we really are. We do not have to be constantly split in two, defined by the extremes, pulled in opposite directions; there is room in the middle that quite simply gets lost, and with it, the people who do not see politics as a never-ending culture war or a battle between America First and Last — the majority who do not want a national divorce.
Our politics ends up poisoned and distorted, and can we blame those who turn away in disgust. Why not?
Shouldn't we ask: How can we make it better? Rather than simply accepting that it exists in the swampland where most of us would not want to tread.
There has to be a better way, better than screaming for a divorce and then screaming back that we don't need one. What we need is less screaming all together.
Different voices. Loudest and shrillest is not always the one that should be heard. Or listened to.
Susan Estrich is a politician, professor, lawyer and writer. Whether on the pages of newspapers such as The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post or as a television commentator on countless news programs on CNN, Fox News, NBC, ABC, CBS and NBC, she has tackled legal matters, women's concerns, national politics and social issues. Read Susan Estrich's Reports — More Here.