We try to avoid discussing Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-Somewhere Out There) here in the shebeen because she has no real power and is not even a very entertaining loudmouth. So we leave her largely to her own devices—which, on Friday, apparently included kicking a young activist who wanted to ask uncomfortable questions. And, yes, there’s video, which the representative tweeted out her own self.
However, whenever MTG acts as the Judas goat for a bad policy idea, especially one that seems to emanate from El Caudillo del Mar-A-Lago’s steaming dungheap of a brain, it bears at least a passing scrutiny. (Incidentally, I’d like to apologize to the descendants of Judas Iscariot for associating their paterfamilias with an infamous insurrectionist like Rep. Taylor-Greene.)
We had an example of this in House earlier in the week. MTG got up in opposition to a Democratic bill aimed at protecting certain federal workers from having their civil service protections stripped from them. In October of 2020, the former president* signed an executive order that created something called Schedule F, which would’ve enabled him to fire policy employees covered under civil service. I think there’s a general agreement that you’d have to be daft to give the former president* that kind of power, because we’d end up with Kid Rock setting agricultural policy. The current president certainly agreed; he rescinded the EO as soon as he was inaugurated.
But Axios has produced a long report that indicates clearly that the former president* is plotting to reimplement the program if and when he recaptures the White House.
The impact could go well beyond typical conservative targets such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Internal Revenue Service. Trump allies are working on plans that would potentially strip layers at the Justice Department — including the FBI, and reaching into national security, intelligence, the State Department and the Pentagon, sources close to the former president say…The preparations are far more advanced and ambitious than previously reported. What is happening now is an inversion of the slapdash and virtually non-existent infrastructure surrounding Trump ahead of his 2017 presidential transition. These groups are operating on multiple fronts: shaping policies, identifying top lieutenants, curating an alternative labor force of unprecedented scale, and preparing for legal challenges and defenses that might go before Trump-friendly judges, all the way to a 6-3 Supreme Court.
It was to insulate the civil service from the advent of a second Trump presidency that prompted the House to propose the Preventing a Patronage System Act, which would do exactly what its title says it does: namely, keep the entire government from being overrun by Mike Lindell cosplayers. It was, unsurprisingly, MTG who was among those taking point in opposition to the bill. Her arguments were, as usual, intriguing:
“You see, there’s a reason why the American people call Washington, D.C., ‘The Swamp,’ and it’s not just because it’s built on a swamp. It’s called ‘The Swamp’ for a reason. Because the American people see the government as a place where they call ‘swamp creatures,’ they think they never leave [sic]…Everyone knows the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, and on the Black Pearl—it’s the second one—it has pirates on the ship that become part of the ship walls. Effectively, that’s what [this bill] is doing.”
On December 6, 1881, in his first annual message after ascending to the presidency upon the murder of President James Garfield, President Chester A. Arthur (a beneficiary of the Spoils System for his entire public career) threw himself fully behind the push in the Congress to reform the civil service. Arthur argued:
The fact should not, however, be overlooked that there are certain features of the English system which have not generally been received with favor in this country, even among the foremost advocates of civil-service reform. Among them are:
1. A tenure of office winch [sic] is substantially a life tenure.
2. A limitation of the maximum age at which an applicant can enter the service, whereby all men in middle life or older are, with some exceptions, rigidly excluded.
3. A retiring allowance upon going out of office.
These three elements are as important factors of the problem as any of the others. To eliminate them from the English system would effect a most radical change in its theory and practice. The avowed purpose of that system is to induce the educated young men of the country to devote their lives to public employment by an assurance that having once entered upon it they need never leave it, and that after voluntary retirement they shall be the recipients of an annual pension.
Marjorie Taylor-Greene would have kicked him.
Charles P Pierce is the author of four books, most recently Idiot America, and has been a working journalist since 1976. He lives near Boston and has his three children.
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