Well, dang, ya’ll, what’s in the ladies-lounge coffee over there? With all the teeth-baring and chain-yanking, somebody must have spiked it with testosterone. Before you know it, they’ll be wearing animal headgear and breastplates and breaching the U.S. Capitol.
The Squad, you’ll recall, was the name given initially to four super-left Democratic women elected to the House in recent years: Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. All are women of color and two, Omar and Tlaib, are Muslim, which may partly explain, but does not in any way excuse, why Boebert and Greene refer to them as the “Jihad Squad.”
One needn’t be a great wit to create a nickname, but being witless is surely helpful to hurling racial and religious insults. As to the latter, Boebert and Greene proudly excel.
Which brings us to the Plastics, the infamous high school clique in the 2004 movie, “Mean Girls,” about a bunch of bullying young women in high school. The Twitter war that evolved among Boebert, Greene, Mace and Omar has all the markings of chick cliques gone wild. I wish it weren’t so, but what else to make of such underage behavior by some of the nation’s most visible females?
I suppose we could call it embarrassing, though there’s no evidence that anyone but us bystanders has suffered so much as a flushed cheek.
To think that the Republican Party was once home to greats such as Sen. Margaret Chase Smith of Maine. Among other achievements, she was the first public figure to challenge Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist fearmongering in her 1950 “Declaration of Conscience” speech. Just imagine, if we still can.
That said, today’s four gladiators aren’t equally errant in the ways of manners and protocol. Omar was the victim of more than one inexcusable racist, Islamophobic attack by Boebert. The first came when Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) tweeted an anime video showing him stabbing Ocasio-Cortez in the neck. As the House considered censuring Gosar for his appalling judgment, Boebert tried to defend the indefensible, saying that stripping Gosar of his committee assignments would be unfair since Omar “the Jihad Squad member from Minnesota” sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee “while praising terrorists.”
Logic and decency are not, shall we say, her strong suits.
Later, Boebert told a story at a private event about boarding an elevator when a Capitol police officer came running toward her. When Boebert realized Omar was standing nearby, she quipped to the officer: “She doesn’t have a backpack, we should be fine.”
Mace, who might have kept her heels glued to the high road, then entered the fray to defend Omar following Boebert’s tasteless elevator remark. But you know what they say: Never wrestle with pigs. They have more experience in the mud and, besides, they like it there.
So along came Greene, no slouch in the mudslinging department. A devout Trumpian, she alternately praised the former president and called Mace “the trash of the GOP conference.” Those would be fighting words without what happened next, but it got far worse. Greene accused Mace of not being a true conservative because, she claimed, Mace is “pro-abort.”
Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait. What?
Greene’s lucky she escaped with a mere counter-tweet from Mace instead of something more fitting a woman who was the first female graduate of the Citadel. Mace is, indeed, pro-life with exceptions for rape and incest, perhaps because she is, herself, a rape survivor.
Then something rather splendid happened. Greene tweeted at Mace, “your out of your league.” Mace simply tweeted back the correction: “*you’re.”
Anyone who will plant a flag for “you’re” instead of “your” as a contraction of “you are” has my undying admiration and loyalty. (I have a cartoon in my office in which a smart dame says to her courtier: “You had me at you’re.”)
Suffice to say, the “conversation” devolved from there, or, depending on one’s point of view, became even more delicious. Mace ended the exchange (for now) with “Bless her f------ heart,” which is clear enough, but usually expressed more modestly by Southerners as simply “Bless her heart.”
Bless all their little hearts, I say, and the wee spirits that guide their fingers across keyboards in a land called Twitter.
May they all receive a biography of Margaret Chase Smith as a gift for the holidays, and may they begin their New Year’s resolutions accordingly.