The domino effect is playing out much quicker than I expected.
I wrote just yesterday about far-right Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) bringing an on-its-face small potatoes issue to Congress, introducing a resolution — co-sponsored by 20 other Republicans — that would recognize the second place finisher of an NCAA women’s swimming tournament as the first place winner. Both of the impressive athletes are women. The first place winner is a trans women. Hence the discriminatory and socially backwards uproar.
On the same day, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) reportedly announced her plans to write a federal version of Florida’s homophobic “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
The QAnon congresswoman announced her decision in the most fitting venue: during an interview on Alex Jones’ infamous conspiracy theory-stoking show “Infowars.” Who knows if she was actually planning to undertake the endeavor beforehand, but she responded in the affirmative to Jones’ prodding.
“Are you going to write a bill, are you going to introduce a bill because you’ve got the power to do it?” Jones asked Greene on Wednesday. “We would all get behind a bill to pull federal funding out of any school that sexualizes children.”
It was obviously a softball question to toss at Greene. She ate the cake right out of his hand.
“Absolutely 100%,” Greene said. “I will meet with my team right after this interview and we will work on it, Alex, because I will do anything I can to protect kids.”
“I only want allies,” she added. “If someone doesn’t like me or my legislation, who cares?”
Greene’s remarks come just days after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed the anti-LGBTQ+ bill into law this week. I outlined its contents yesterday, but it basically bans public school teachers from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity issues in classrooms below third grade. Opposers of the legislation have dubbed it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill for a plethora of reasons, including that it feeds into the homophobic trope that the LGBTQ+ community aims to “groom” children by simply acknowledging the fact that LGBTQ+ people …. exist.
Her remarks also come on the heels of news today that LGBTQ+ advocates have filed the first federal challenge to the law, which is officially coined the Parental Rights in Education Bill. The National Center for Lesbian Rights and Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP filed the lawsuit Thursday on behalf of Equality Florida and Family Equality, arguing that it infringes on students’ First Amendment rights.
But Greene’s supposed intention of writing a version of Florida’s bill to bring to the House floor highlights the quick escalation of the phenomenon we noted yesterday. The Republican Party as a whole has a unity issue and seems perfectly content heading into the Midterms without any concrete legislative agenda. These various non-issue grievance bills continue to pop up around the country, and the right-wing media is essentially covering them into existence. And it has gifted the party fertile ground to distract the most socially conservative members of its base, allowing the perpetuation of cultural fears and anger over non-existent problems to run rampant and, in turn, snatch up votes without having to do the work of crafting any type of cohesive platform to take back Congress in the fall.
The Best Of TPM Today
Here’s what you should read this evening:
The latest from Josh Kovensky: On Cue From Trump, Kremlin Starts Dishing New Biden Disinfo
Today in TPM Cafe: TPM’s Associate Publisher Jackie Wilhelm: Five Myths For the Feminist
The cocaine and orgy accusations are backfiring: North Carolina Sen. Tillis Backs Cawthorn’s Rival Amid Orgy-Gate
Yesterday’s Most Read Story
Is Ukraine on the Edge of Defeat? — Josh Marshall
What We Are Reading
Want to See the Weirdest of Wikipedia? Look No Further. — Anna P. Kambhampaty
Republicans Say ‘Groomer’ to Put a Nice Face on Homophobia — Daniel Summers