Opinion: How to solve the problem posed by Congressman Boebert

In a video posted on Facebook ahead of Thanksgiving, Boebert alluded to Omar being mistaken for a terrorist – or member of a “jihadist team” – in an elevator on Capitol Hill. On Friday, Boebert suggested a weak apology on Twitter, saying she apologizes to “anyone in the Muslim community” she offended with her comment.
This comes in the footsteps of Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar censored and stripped the committees for tweets an edited anime video in which he attacks New York Congressman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and President Joe Biden with swords. Now, Some people think that Boebert should face a similar fate and be at least criticized.

There is no doubt when Boebert’s comments are poignantly emphasized, that Gosar’s violent fantasies are disturbing and that neither of them behave in the way most of us would like when we see members. Congress – regardless of party – behaves.

But it is by no means obvious that censorship, and depriving the committee of its respective duties, is the correct, or even useful, solution to the problem. While it may have worked in the past, especially when Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy was criticized by his colleagues in 1954 and became irrelevant, the US Senate – and Congress society in general – is a very different organization today, increasingly stymied by partisanship. politics.

And while the censorship and stripping of committees may make Boebert and Gosar’s political opponents feel like some form of justice has been served, they will inevitably lead to a slippery slope. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has made it clear that Republicans such as Gosar, who have been stripped of committee duties, will be reinstated if and when Republicans regain control of the US House of Representatives.
More troublingly, censoring Boebert and Gosar for their extreme and dangerous comments increases the likelihood – or more precisely, guarantees – that similar methods will be used against members of the People’s Republic of China. House of Representatives next time Republicans have the majority, this could happen as early as January 2023. Again, McCarthy said a lot — argued that Democrats had not taken similar action against their own members when they had stepped out of line, but a Republican majority certainly would.

Some might say if the GOP is going to criticize Democrats in the future, House Democrats shouldn’t hesitate to criticize members like Boebert and Gosar who say and post offensive material. There is some truth to that, but that argument is weakened by the fact that this kind of criticism does not reform members of Congress who have chosen to engage in bigotry or violence.

Why Congress must side with Paul Gosar's video
Despite facing potential retribution, Boebert was – even after issuing a feeble apology – once again attacking Omar. After the call between the two members, Boebert said, “I will fearlessly continue to put America first, never sympathizing with terrorists. Unfortunately, Ilhan cannot say the same thing and our country is worse because of it. there.”

Boebert seems more interested in headlines than in distribution for the area she represents. The censorship – and especially the stripping of committee assignments – makes it much more difficult for members of Congress to assign to their districts, working on legislation that is especially important to them. or function as effective legislators.

The failure of the censorship process and the possibility that it will become a popular partisan tool in the years to come leave Congress with few options for controlling its own members. Although it would be ideal if Congress could agree – in a bipartisan manner – on a clear set of government rules, more specific than currently behavior rules, as well as the consequences for members who broke those rules, that’s unlikely.
Given the extremely partisan nature of today’s Congress – which only two Republican members House of Representatives votes to censor Gosar – Democrats and Republicans will not reach the consensus needed to institutionalize the new rules.

Since obstinate comments from Boebert and threats of violence from Gosar can be troubling and disgusting, it would be best for Congress to give up trying to police its members and leave that to voters.

If the voters of Colorado’s 3rd district or Arizona’s 4th district want vulgar and racist representation, that’s their right, too. And, at least this approach – giving voters the final say – also means Omar, Ocasio-Cortez and other prominent Democrats who are widely disliked by the right, likely won’t have to worry about criticism if the GOP regains control of the home.


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