The leaked draft of a policy platform for a new congressional caucus earned opprobrium last week from both Democrats and Republicans who were aghast at the document’s unconstrained nativism and unconcealed racism.
The America First Caucus document, first reported by Punchbowl News, was said to have come out of the office of hyper-right Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, and the MAGA lawmakers Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas and Matt Gaetz of Florida were reported to be potential caucus members.
Greene has since disavowed the document, though that response appeared to be little more than damage control after the proposed caucus provoked such strong, bipartisan rebuke.
Plans for formation of the caucus appear to have been scrapped, but that it was even conceived by sitting members of Congress is the bigger story. And in Colorado, many observers immediately wondered if the gun-toting, attention-seeking, Trump-deifying Rep. Lauren Boebert would be a member of the group, because, embarrassing as it was, the policy platform, which vibrates with the rising rhetoric of hate in America, could have passed as a priorities briefing from Boebert’s congressional office.
Start with the name of the caucus. Were one to describe Boebert’s legislative agenda in two words, it would be “America First.” Those were the very first words in her campaign’s Contract With Colorado. The freshman described her November win as part of “the America First movement that you’re seeing nationally.” She and Greene, also a freshman, often find themselves in the news together due to their common objectionable behavior — the latest instance was when theirs were the only two “no” votes in the U.S. House on legislation to reauthorize a bone marrow donor program.
But the primary connection between Greene’s aborted caucus and Boebert consists in how her own positions match those of the caucus policy platform.
Just look at each of the document’s policy headings (along with some key language describing the caucus position) and compare it with Boebert’s positions:
Election fraud: “Recent election results demonstrate a compromised integrity of our elections and made our election system a subject of global mockery.”
Boebert has often claimed that President Joe Biden’s win was fraudulent. In a speech she gave on the House floor on Jan. 6 as a pro-Trump mob was about to storm the Capitol, Boebert decried what she called a “partisan effort by Democrats, where every fraudulent vote cancels out the vote of an honest American,” and later she voted to reject the legitimate electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Sovereignty: “America was founded on the basis of individual and state sovereignty, to ensure that no free American would be lorded over by a Monarch ever again … At the federal level, this means exposing deep state actors, shrinking the regulatory state, and eliminating thousands of regulations and indeed entire bureaucracies.”
In her Contract With Colorado, Boebert promised to deliver limited government and “fewer over-reaching regulations,” and she wrote of taking on “an entrenched federal bureaucracy” and “the Deep State.” She has also called for the elimination of the entire Department of Education.
Big Tech: “The America First Caucus is calling for a solution that starts with reform of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.”
Boebert has called for reform of Section 230.
Immigration: “America is a nation with a border, and a culture, strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.”
This was the passage, with its racist elevation of Anglo-Saxon values, of the America First Caucus document that got the most attention. It’s hard to say how Boebert feels about Anglo-Saxon prerogatives, though her tweet in favor of “Real Americans” during the Black Lives Matter protests last summer might serve as a hint. But she is quite clear about how she feels about immigration (very bad) and national borders (very good). As a candidate she referred to “rapists and murderers” coming to America illegally.
Infrastructure: “The America First Caucus will work towards an infrastructure that reflects the architectural, engineering and aesthetic value that befits the progeny of European architecture … Dilapidated roads and bridges should be rebuilt.”
This passage also was subject to much reproach. Any “value that befits the progeny of European architecture” is a racist dog whistle. Boebert is not in the habit of pontificating on Roman aqueducts or Corinthian columns, but she, like the caucus, would have agreed that infrastructure is one of the few areas where it’s OK for the federal government to spend money. Boebert has said America’s “bridges, highways, roads and main streets (are) in critical need of repair.”
Foreign Aid: “Whether it is aid for humanitarian or military purposes, sending taxpayer money outside of the nation is generally an unwise undertaking and an entanglement that rarely provides any benefit to our citizens.”
Boebert couldn’t have said it better herself.
National security: “For far too long, a hawkish neoconservative foreign policy has been the default for the American Right. This has resulted in America being bogged-down in endless conflicts with trillion-dollar price tags.”
Boebert has said “enough is enough” with “endless wars” in the Middle East.
Coronavirus: “Many state governors have decided to lockdown their states, meaning that businesses deemed ‘non essential’ are not allowed to open and provide service. Together, these policies and guidelines have ruined many businesses to bankruptcy …”
Remember when Boebert, the owner of Shooters Grill in Rifle, defied a state public health order concerning her restaurant and behaved as if government authorities have no business trying to keep Coloradans from dying by the thousands? Referring to pandemic-related public health orders, Boebert wrote of the Colorado governor, “Polis has killed small businesses.”
Trade: “We call for a new approach to trade that prioritizes American workers, treats U.S. exporters more fairly, imposes tariffs and import restrictions where necessary to protect our vital industries, and holds malevolent state actors — especially China — accountable.”
Boebert is a prolific critic of China. “For far too many years we have allowed our country to be reliant on China for our pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and so much more,” she tweeted as a candidate. “One of the most important jobs of the next Congress will be to work strategically to end American dependence on China. America First.”
Environment: “If Americans want to conserve the environment, they should push for better waste management and other substantive remedies, not wasteful social justice programs like the Green New Deal.”
You will find no greater Green New Deal antagonist than Boebert. In a statement this week, she said, “If Speaker Pelosi’s Congress is dumb enough to pass the Green New Deal and Joe Biden is dumb enough to sign it, say goodbye to hamburgers, airplanes, plastic straws, small farms, a dependable electric grid, national security, cars, and common sense.” In case there’s any doubt, the Green New Deal would not eliminate hamburgers and airplanes, though common sense, at least in some congressional offices, seems already to have been lost.
Energy: “While it is vital to preserve our environment, we should not use it as an impetus to destroy the energy industry that hires millions of hard-working Americans … Moreover, hydraulic fracking technology, when used appropriately, can provide more affordable oil and gas for Americans … The America First Caucus supports innovation in green energy, such as in the form of nuclear energy.”
The energy industry in fact employed Boebert’s own husband. Her district is home to substantial fossil fuel development, and preservation of oil and gas jobs is one of her top priorities. She even agrees with the caucus on nuclear energy. “I support an all-of-the-above strategy where the government does not choose winners and losers,” Boebert wrote in the Contract With Colorado. “Drill baby, drill! Add new nuclear technology to the mix as a clean and efficient energy source.”
Protecting the value of American Savings: “The strength of America’s monetary position has been under attack for decades by Keynesian economists domestically, and by globalist institutions looking to enhance China’s position on the global stage.”
America first education: “The increased consolidation of educational spending came with … the ability for powerful left-wing special interest groups to redirect the focus away from preparing future generations of national talent to progessive indoctrination and enrichment of an out-of-control elite oligarchy.”
Boebert wrote an op-ed in The Blaze last month in which she referred to “leftist training camps — otherwise known as colleges and universities.” And she is hostile to neighborhood public schools. “Charter schools work. School choice works,” she said in the Contract With Colorado. “Local decision making is better. Parents know better than bureaucrats.”
The Chinese Communist Party: “Not since the fall of the Soviet Union has America faced a civilizational challenge from another state actor quite like the modern Chinese Communist Party.”
Boebert has repeatedly criticized China and has attacked the Chinese Community Party by name.
There’s little daylight between Boebert and the America First Caucus platform, and the picture only darkens when one considers the congresswoman’s ties to militia groups like the Three Percenters. The America First Caucus might have failed to materialize once its sinister spirit was exposed, but it’s no different than the one that has animated Boebert’s political career from the beginning.
“I believe anyone that joins this caucus should have their committees stripped, and the Republican conference should expel them from conference participation,” Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said of America First. “While we can’t prevent someone from calling themselves Republican, we can loudly say they don’t belong to us.”
Likewise, while we can’t prevent someone from calling themselves Coloradan, we can loudly say they don’t belong to us.