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SAUNDERS: Who put Marjorie Taylor Greene in charge of the House?

WASHINGTON

When Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., announced on the Capitol steps Friday that she would file a motion to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson, a throng of Hill reporters leaned in.

MTG, as she is known, essentially is crack for cable news biggies. She validates the sneering class’s poor opinion of conservatives. So of course she’s on TV news with amazing regularity.

The best part: That Friday scrum could be replayed all weekend and into Monday. And it was.

Johnson may be House Republicans’ speaker, at least for the moment, but Greene is Big Media’s choice for leadership. Forget former Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel — Greene should be a paid talent on NBC. Chuck Todd likely would approve, because he’d have more opportunities to disapprove.

The situation must be demoralizing for veteran GOP lawmakers, who came to Washington to write laws and make government work better, only to watch the trolls capture the spotlight.

The MTGs of D.C. have sold GOP voters on the notion that real conservatives don’t cut deals — even though cutting deals is what Congress is supposed to do.

Need I point out that former President Donald Trump’s big book was called, “The Art of the Deal”?

Now “deal” is a dirty word.

Greene told the press that she wanted to “find a new speaker of the House that will stand with Republicans and our majority instead of standing with the Democrats.”

Standing with Democrats? Yes, Johnson did oversee the passage of a spending bill that then was passed by the Democratic Senate and signed by President Joe Biden.

The alternative would be another government shutdown — which inevitably would be followed by capitulation, because most voters don’t elect members to shut down everything.

As it is, the $1.2 trillion package Biden just signed slashed funding for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, with its alleged ties to Hamas. That’s a victory. And it allocated more money for border and immigration enforcement. Win-win.

While Greene searches for a new fearless leader on camera, other Republicans are bailing. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., served his last day Friday — after calling the House dysfunctional. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., announced he is bailing on April 19. When the four-term military veteran is gone, the GOP’s House majority will be down to one tenuous vote.

The more the likes of MTG crow about their purity, the more they drive the adults to the other side of the aisle.

Gallagher announced his retirement after he refused to vote to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas — another showy, meaningless exercise.

I understand the exodus. Gallagher has an impressive combat record. He deployed twice to Iraq. He’s a counterintelligence pro. His training doesn’t make him right about everything — but it makes him the sort of figure you want to see on Capitol Hill.

And he’s leaving before his term is up.

While Congress enjoys a two-week break, there’s really only one question left: If, somehow, the far-right rump ousts Johnson and there’s a vacancy, who would even want the job?

Contact Review-Journal Washington columnist Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com. Follow @debrajsaunders on X.

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