Partway through his State of the Union address, President Joe Biden paused to reflect on our collective progress on the pandemic. “Folks, in the midst of the Covid crisis, when schools were closed and we were shutting down everything, let’s recognize how far we came in the fight against the pandemic itself,” the Democrat said.
Rep. Lauren Boebert, turning to Twitter during the national address, was apparently unimpressed — because as far the Colorado Republican is concerned, it was Biden himself who closed schools.
As others have explained in detail, this was problematic for a couple of fairly obvious reasons. The first is that decisions related to school closures were made by state and local officials, not the White House.
The second is that school closures occurred in 2020, when Biden was a private citizen with no official powers or responsibilities. The Democrat couldn’t have closed schools even if he wanted to — which is the sort of basic detail that an elected federal lawmaker should probably understand.
Naturally, this has generated a new round of derision for the far-right Coloradan, whose reputation was already dreadful. But what strikes me as surprising is the frequency with which incidents like these occur, even after last year’s midterm elections.
As regular readers know, soon after taking office two years ago, Boebert became one of Congress’ most controversial members. Six months into her first term, The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank wrote a column describing the congresswoman as being “lost in a cacophony of crazy.”
It was generally assumed that she’d face no real consequences for her partisan antics. After all, Boebert represented a GOP-friendly district where her re-election was all but assured. Headed into the 2022 midterm elections, FiveThirtyEight’s forecast model showed the right-wing incumbent with a 97% chance of winning, despite her routine ridiculousness. Both parties showed little interest in the race, assuming the results were a foregone conclusion.
What the political world didn’t fully appreciate was just how many voters in Colorado’s 3rd district had grown tired of Boebert’s strange behavior and bizarre ideas. The Republican incumbent prevailed, but her re-election contest proved to be one of the nation’s closest House races.
The message from local voters seemed pretty obvious: Much of the “red”-leaning district was unimpressed with the congresswoman and her antics. Common sense suggested that Boebert should learn from the near-defeat and become a more respectable lawmaker, if for no other reason than to improve her career prospects.
By all appearances, Boebert has learned very little, and she seems to be just as outlandish in this Congress as she was in the last. The congresswoman is taking a real risk, even if she doesn’t appear to care.