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RANT OF THE DAY: A national embarrassment only Northwest Georgians can fix.
For much of Wednesday, Northwest Georgia’s dirty laundry flapped in the breeze in front of national and world followers of the influential political website Politico. There was Marjorie Taylor Greene under the headline about a congressional candidate being condemned by ranking fellow Republicans (background).
Politico had reviewed hours of earlier rants from Greene and labeled them “racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic views.”
While major news on the national political scene — shocking enough to dominate Politico’s home page — it was old news in political circles in Northwest Georgia. Early on, when Greene was pivoting from the Sixth Congressional District to run in the 12 counties of Northwest Georgia, links to those Facebook rants and conspiracy theories and such were shuffled one email at a time.
There were some whispers out there and the local Republican Party was pretty split from some of it but the campaigns rolled on.
Greene still captured 40-plus percent of all the votes cast on June 9. She carried 11 of 12 counties and didn’t do that poorly in Floyd County, hometown of her now-runoff challenger Dr. John Cowan. Unless Cowan can pivot — and quickly — in those other 11 counties, Greene will be the nominee. And she’ll probably finish with two thirds of the final vote in November against Democrat Kevin Van Ausdal, maybe even more.
That’s despite the national audience that read the Politico piece. Or the CNN column on her QAnon leanings. Or the coverage just before the final primary vote about her gun-totting ad being too sensitive for Facebook.
What’s odd in all this is the Georgia perspective. That is, where are the reactions from ranking Republicans in Georgia to Greene’s rants. Nothing from the governor. Nothing from the lieutenant governor. Nothing from the Speaker of the House. Nothing from the president of the Senate. Nothing from the chair of the Georgia Republican Party.
We’re sure the blanket response has something to do with not wanting to get involved in a primary runoff. That doesn’t seem to be stopping national leaders from speaking up but maybe that’s because they live outside the state lines. Or more aptly put: They don’t have to worry about the reaction from supportive Georgia voters.
Politico reports Georgia representatives Buddy Carter, Drew Ferguson and Austin Scott are backing Cowan. On Thursday, Rep. Jody Hice — an earlier supporter — withdrew his backing:
“In the midst of these difficult times, it is more important than ever before that we have leaders in Washington who can heal our nation, not divide it further. I find Marjorie Taylor Greene’s statements appalling and deeply troubling, and I can no longer support her candidacy in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District.”
Of course, those of us in the Georgia media can throw no stones. Politico came in and did our dirty work for us. The question now is what does the Georgia media do in response with such an expose? And whatever is done, will anyone listen or read?
For her part, Greene turns it all back on familiar targets. The fake news media. The swamp in need of draining in Washington. Any Democrat drawing air.
And then there’s one more consideration: The national image of Northwest Georgia. How do we look to a nation that is reeling right now from racial injustice and intolerance? We couldn’t sweep some five-year-old video of a hate rally in Rome under the rug fast enough a few weeks ago. This week, we’re at the heart of some very hateful rants from someone on the verge of winning a seat in Congress.
So forget Politico. Forget the ranking GOP members. Ignore the silence from Georgia’s top Republicans. This is a problem Northwest Georgia has to handle.
The nation will be watching when the deciding votes are counted on Aug. 11.
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