FROM THEIR SIDE NOW: Rep. Greene proposed a divorce!


Our tribunes heard secession: Rep. Greene had sallied forth with her latest dumb idea.

In fairness, her new idea wasn't as crazy as some of her previous offerings. For some examples of what we mean, let's revisit one part of Elaina Plott Calabro's lengthy biographical profile of Greene in The Atlantic:

CALABRO (12/5/22): To an extent, Greene had already signaled her attraction to conspiracy theories, questioning on American Truth Seekers whether the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas was a false-flag operation to eliminate gun rights. But with Q, Greene was all in. She has gone so far as to endorse an unhinged QAnon theory called “frazzledrip,” which claims that Hillary Clinton murdered a child as part of a satanic blood ritual.

She had started with the Las Vegas false flag, then moved on to frazzledrip. 

At this point in her profile, Calabro was sketching "the narrative of Greene’s descent into QAnon." Especially from the liberal / progressive / Democratic perspective, the descent had continued from there.

Indeed, especially from the blue tribe perspective, there are very few crazy ideas Rep. Greene hasn't endorsed. Judged by that standard, her latest proposal comes close to having been a bipartisan breath of fresh air.

In our view, her new idea was basically very dumb. That said, it was no frazzledrip. In the tweet in question—on Presidents' Day, no less!—Greene had offered this:

GREENE (2/20/23): We need a national divorce. 

We need to separate by red states and blue states and shrink the federal government. 

Everyone I talk to says this.  

From the sick and disgusting woke culture issues shoved down our throats to the Democrat’s traitorous America Last policies, we are done.

"We need a national divorce," Greene said. Everyone she talks to says this!

As soon became apparent, this may not have been a fully developed idea.  A whole lot of blue voters live in the red states, and the opposite is true as well. 

Meanwhile, some states are neither red nor blue. Does Greene live in a red state herself? The answer is no longer clear.

What inspired Greene to propose this divorce? Perhaps there's been some reporting on that, but we ourselves have no idea.

Beyond that, no, Virginia! Absent some cataclysmic disaster, we simply aren't going to have this type of national divorce.

In truth, there's no conceivable way to split the country into two nations, red and blue. The very idea was defiantly dumb—but then, consider the proponent.

At any rate, blue tribe pushback quickly emerged concerning this latest idea. 

Peter Wehner is in the blue tribe now. Wehner, a good and decent person, pushed back one day later in The Atlantic, dual headlines included:

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Civil War 
The congresswoman is too influential within the GOP—and too representative of its views—for her calls for secession to be dismissed.

It was only a matter of time before Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene—a peddler of far-right conspiracy theories, a speaker at white-nationalist rallies, a supporter of political violence, and an all-around unhinged individual—would renew her call for secession.


Greene is not alone in her views. She is giving voice to a widespread and growing sentiment in the Republican Party. Among Republicans in the South, for example, support for secession was 66 percent in June 2021, according to a Bright Line Watch/YouGov poll. (The poll found support for secession growing among every partisan group in the months following the January 6 riot at the Capitol.)

For today, we'll ignore one part of Wehner's framing, according to which Greene had called for "secession" and "Civil War."

We'll consider such language tomorrow. For today, we'll focus only on the statistic Wehner brandished in his piece, in which a lot of Republicans were said to have said that they favor the very same thing:

"Among Republicans in the South, for example, support for secession was 66 percent in June 2021, according to a Bright Line Watch/YouGov poll."

That was a lot of Republicans in the South! We decided to look at the survey in question—and you can do the same darn thing, simply by clicking here.

Framework selection to the side, Wehner isn't the kind of person who would make things up. For better or worse, the survey in question had posed this question to voters living all across the fruited plain:

Survey question:
“Would you support or oppose [your state] seceding from the United States to join a new union with [list of states in new union]?”

For better or worse, that was one of the (somewhat fanciful) questions this long survey posed. And sure enough! Among Republicans voters in thirteen states across the substantial expanse of the South, 66% of respondents had said that, yes, they would support that rearrangement.

That's a lot of public support for a rather unlikely idea. On the other hand, the desire for some such rearrangement wasn't limited to a bunch of rednecks like them.

Wehner didn't mention this fact, but there was a lot of support for secession among us overwrought Democrats too! For example:

In the five Pacific states, 47% of Democrats had favored secession too!

In fairness, let's be fair. Nationwide, the survey found more support for this new arrangement among Republicans, less support among Dems. Still, a lot of people said they favored flight from the union, as the survey's authors noted:

"Levels of expressed support for secession are arrestingly high, with 37% of respondents overall indicating willingness to secede. Within each region, the dominant partisan group is most supportive of secession."

More than one-third of respondents had favored this new arrangement. In regions where Democrats are the dominant group, more Democrats than Republicans said they favored this (impossible) roll of the dice.

Luckily, those numbers establish a key point. Those numbers mean that the Republicans are worse on this measure than we Democrats are!

To our taste, though, we'll have to say that we would have admired Wehner more if he had established the way many Democrats had responded to this fanciful survey question. In closing, he offered this appraisal:

WEHNER (2/21/23): Civil War–like secession isn’t going to happen in the United States, at least not anytime soon. But all of the emotions that are attached to a desire for secession—seething resentment, existential fear, an unforgiving spirit, contempt and hatred for those who disagree with you—are stoked by the kind of rhetoric employed by Greene and those who see the world as she does. Such language will further destroy America’s political culture and could easily lead to extensive political violence.

Are "seething resentment, contempt and hatred" stoked by Greene's relentlessly dimwitted rhetoric? 

We can't say that Wehner's statement is "wrong." But because we don't favor secession or Civil War, we can't say that we would rush to put it that way ourselves.

Rep. Greene had pushed for divorce. Wehner instantly framed that as a call for secession, and the headline on his piece referred to "Civil War."

Over at the New York Times, Maureen Dowd heard it that way too, if not substantially more so. Tomorrow, we'll start to ponder a certain question:

How might this instant framework have seemed to some of the Others? How might this instant framing have seemed to some people in the blue tribe?

Remember, we're asking you, all week long, to make the rarest of all human attempts:

We're asking you to try to look at life From Their Side Now!

Tomorrow: Just like Lester Maddox!


  1. tl;dr

    Yeah, dear Bob, everyone outside your liberal cult is dumb. Obviously: they don't believe in wimmin trapped inside men's bodies.

    ...'nuff said, we'll stop right here...

    1. Well, “everyone” is a lot, but certainly your steady efforts to remain as idiotic as
      possible had produced the efforts you set out for: you are an unspeakably
      obnoxious, addle brained putz no
      one of value would want to spend
      five insufferable minutes with. Congrats!

    2. He's a bot. Ignore him.

    3. Mao was definitely funnier, when he pretended he didn't kiss establishment rear ends.
      Now he's just another dime a dozen standard -issue Reagan Republican bigot.

  2. “Rep. Greene had sallied forth with her latest dumb idea.”

    It’s typical that Somerby dismisses Republican ideas that he disagrees with as “dumb” or “crazy.”

    Republicans have specifically used the word “secession” in the recent past:

    “We need to focus on the fundamentals,” Wyoming GOP chairman Frank Eathorne said in an interview with Steve Bannon last week, according to The Casper Star-Tribune. “We are straight talking, focused on the global scene, but we’re also focused at home. Many of these Western states have the ability to be self-reliant, and we’re keeping eyes on Texas too, and their consideration of possible secession. They have a different state constitution than we do as far as wording, but it’s something we’re all paying attention to.”

    (We Regret to Inform You That Republicans Are Talking About Secession Again

    And despite Somerby’s attempts, a la mainstream pundits, to both sides this issue by citing poll numbers, there are no Democratic officeholders supporting the idea of secession.

    1. Yes, Bob will get very touchy
      about weather Green was calling
      for succession, but it’s a well
      worn right wing path. So much
      so that the Democratic respondents
      in the poll Bob sites can be
      interpreted as just saying
      “go ahead.” And someone should
      tell Bob, this sort of thing won’t
      go away by just not mentioning
      it, though I tend to agree it
      needn't be dwelt upon.

  3. "Judged by that standard, her latest proposal comes close to having been a bipartisan breath of fresh air."

    No, judged by that standard, this proposal is neither bipartisan nor any kind of breath of fresh air. It is just as crazy, especially the details about Democrats being unable to vote in their new state for five years after moving. [

    Instead of examining Greene's idea in a serious manner, Somerby mischaracterizes it, suggesting that it is not as extreme as other Republican conspiracy theories. It is. It is so extreme that we fought a civil war the last time Southern conspiracy theorists attempted it.

    Marjorie Taylor Greene is not becoming less extreme. She is the same old extremists and her ideas are dangerous to our union and dismissive of the rights of those of us who strongly disagree with her, nominally called blue tribers by Somerby.

    Somerby's language today attempts to normalize Greene and her proposal. That is on Somerby, not Greene, and it is ridiculous that he gives her the time of day with this stuff.

    1. It wasn’t a conspiracy theory. Abolitionists openly worked for the end of slavery.

    2. That wasn’t the conspiracy theory they were operating under, check out the “lost cause”.

    3. The lost cause was post-bellum. Abolitionism was the South’s cases belli.

    4. 4:00 is correct.

      Lost cause refers to the South’s position that slavery/abolition was not the main cause of the Civil War.

    5. Last week or so, Somerby quoted a conspiracy theory held by the South as justification for secession. It was that the North was trying to poison southerners. It was cited by the woman advocating for Black Studies who Somerby quoted.

    6. 8:31 last week or so your mom wore army boots. I can make up stories too!

  4. ""We need a national divorce," Greene said."

    This is ironic. Greene talks about "sick and disgusting woke culture being shoved down our throats" but she herself is in the midst of a divorce (which may have given her the idea). Is Greene unaware that some red states are now passing laws to privilege never-divorced parents and families, stigmatizing those who have separated or were never married? This is the fundamentalist Christian antagonism toward divorce, being put into legislation affecting everyone in their state, regardless of whether they believe it is against God or not. In states denying aid to the divorced, Greene would herself be punished. And yet she wishes to do the same to others who are different from herself.

    Needless to say, part of her delusion is that any sick and disgusting woke beliefs are being forced upon her. She does not need to do or participate in anything woke if she chooses not to. No one will force her to become male or dress in drag or even read a book by Toni Morrison. She doesn't need to have any abortions or visit Planned Parenthood, just because others wish to.

    A divorce would apparently be insufficient for Greene. She no doubt would prefer to go the full distance and have separate bathrooms and drinking fountains for red and blue tribe members. Separate lanes on the freeway, so she doesn't have to read objectionable bumper stickers. Separate restaurants so those gluten free blue tribe diners can keep their objectionable food away from her table.

    And Somerby calls this shit less objectionable than frazzledrip! Frazzle was only about Hillary, and most of us are not her. This new proposal is about half the country, not evenly divided into red and blue states. The exclusionary desires are obvious and they are part of the eliminationist perspective on the right that results in violence, yellow stars on lapels and genocide. If you cannot tolerate a person who thinks differently and has different customs at the next table in a restaurant, then the next step is camps and repressive measures (first disenfranchisement, then confiscation of property, then forced labor). We see where Greene is going with this because our world has been there before.

    But Somerby, who is quick to refer to Rwanda when the blue tribe says something he dislikes, is A-OK with Greene's "dumb" idea because he doesn't see the danger. And that makes Somerby a worrisome part of our national problem. Or maybe he is just another red stater engages in fantasies of domination, dreaming of his preferred fascist state along with Greene, but pretending to be liberal here in order to lull blue staters into not sending this ridiculous harpy back to her district in shame. (Never mind that she doesn't actually live there.)

  5. That something is unlikely to happen
    is probably a pretty bad reason to
    ignore it. Donald Trump came within
    striking distance of winning the
    popular vote for the Presidency
    twice. The right wing of American
    politics is a freakish sewer.
    None of this was likely twenty
    five years ago. though some
    predicted in was possible.
    People like Bob are not in the
    blue tribe or the red tribe, they
    are in the stupidly complacent
    tribe. I don’t know if it has a
    color, perhaps yellow.

    1. several million votes is not "striking distance":

      Hillary beat Trump by 2.9 million votes
      Biden beat Trump by 7+ million votes

    2. Break it down by percentages.
      In a self respecting, decent country,
      Trump would do about as
      well as Lyndon LaRouche or
      the America Nazi Party

    3. Biden's margin was 4.4% of the total vote.

    4. Trump got as many votes as the American Nazi Party candidate, twice. Not just the same number of votes, but the exact same votes.

    5. 4.4% is a big margin in today's elections. Even looking at these in terms of percentages shows that Trump was not in striking distance or close to winning the popular vote. He won in three very close states by using voter suppression funded by Russia, which gave him the electoral college. It was a manipulation of the election to win in the electoral college, not a squeaker overall.

  6. Somerby says: "Wehner didn't mention this fact, but there was a lot of support for secession among us overwrought Democrats too! For example:

    In the five Pacific states, 47% of Democrats had favored secession too!"

    Actually, in the Pacific states, Democrats were most strongly in favor of secession, with Independents a close second and Republicans lagging behind. Why would the Pacific region want to disassociate itself from a nation that it leads in enactment of progressive measures? Somerby may not be aware that the Pacific region also contributes more than its share to our national economy, supporting red states with greater economic difficulties. The states in the Pacific configuration are blue (Alaska is the least blue but also the most Independent).

    Why wouldn't the Pacific region want to be out from under the thumb of Trump, a conservative supreme court, and a Republican House of Representatives? Unlike the other proposed regions, the Pacific region could realistically be self-sustaining if there were a split. It would benefit the region because the resources currently used to support those elsewhere could be redirected to Pacific region priorities.

    In other words, it makes sense. It does not make sense for the red states to divorce themselves, because they are not viable on their own. Already, they have the worst stats on any measure. If separated, they would quickly become a shithold country, but without the rest of the nation to lean on. That makes it stupid for them to vote for separation, even in this kind of poll.

    Somerby, of course, ignores this caveat at the beginning of the survey:

    "As in our previous report, we caution that this survey item reflects initial reactions by respondents about an issue that they are very unlikely to have considered carefully. Secession is a genuinely radical proposition and expressions of support in a survey may map only loosely onto willingness to act toward that end."

    People in CA and the other Pacific states would be voting for such a proposal only as an expression of their frustration and impatience with the stupidity of the other states. We in CA are not threatened by reactionary laws and court decisions because we are unified in support for things like supporting women's reproductive health autonomy and addressing climate change. Conservatives in our state are now a nuisance rather than a threat. So the likelihood of anyone seceding is remote -- with the exception of those red tribe members who want to break off Western Oregon and Northern CA to form a greater Idaho state that will be a haven for red tribers. Those are rural areas without much economic value, occupied by pot growers and gun owners, who wouldn't be missed. Notice that this was not the proposition put to them by the survey, which was not about breaking up current states but rather forming regional clusters.

    So Somerby's claim that there is bipartisan support for Greene's "divorce" is ridiculous. Are blue tribe members sick of the right. You bet we are! Would we break up our country over them? Absolutely not. Would we be sad to see them go. No, we would throw a party and say good riddance. Somerby is welcome to join Greene and her crew on their way out.

  7. "Are "seething resentment, contempt and hatred" stoked by Greene's relentlessly dimwitted rhetoric?"

    Definitely! I feel that way everytime I see her smug face on TV. Calling her rhetoric "dimwitted" is minimizing the harm she has already done by getting McCarthy elected as House Speaker.

    Why is Somerby telling us to ignore her? She is dangerous and needs to be sent home to GA. She was part of Trump's initial plans to overturn the election, even before she was seated in the House. She is waving guns around while talking about her "proposals". She isn't funny and she certainly isn't harmless. Why does Somerby support her like this?

  8. "Rep. Greene had pushed for divorce. Wehner instantly framed that as a call for secession, and the headline on his piece referred to "Civil War."

    Unlike Somerby, Wehner understands conservative code-speak. When Somerby is being excessively-literal like this, it is time to be most suspicious of his motives.

  9. "We're asking you to try to look at life From Their Side Now!"

    Greene says she doesn't want to have sick and disgusting woke views forced on her. I have been trying really hard and I cannot imagine what that might mean to her daily life. Did a committee come by and forcibly dress her in drag? Was she forced to get an abortion last week? I am finding it really hard to understand how woke affects her personally without knowing more about her life.

    1. It’s like Bob is saying “just imagine being a Christian in the US and having to
      deal with the horrible suppression
      of the Christmas Holiday?”
      Are working class Republicans
      victims of getting the shaft economically?
      Yes. The might try not voting
      “More Shaft Please.”

  10. If there were a divorce, would Atlanta go with Marjorie?

    1. No. Greene originally ran for office in Atlanta and lost. That's why she had to run from the most extreme, safe Republican district she could find. It is out in the boonies where she wouldn't be caught dead living. It's the only place she could find fools stupid enough to vote for her.