OPINION: Even some MTG supporters wary of threat to oust Speaker Mike Johnson

TUNNEL HILL, Ga. -- There’s no oceanfront property in northwest Georgia, but it increasingly feels like an island for U.S. Marjorie Taylor Greene, where her base remains steadfast, but her power outside of it seems to be shrinking as fast as the Republican majority in Washington.

Now Greene’s latest threat to oust Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is giving even her fans anxiety over where it’s all going.

The support for Greene at a constituent town hall event Tuesday was evident. The town of Tunnel Hill has a population of 976, but she drew a crowd of more than 200 here, leaving latecomers standing against the walls or peering from the outside looking in.

From there, they would have heard Dianne Putnam, the chairwoman of the Whitfield County Republican Party, call Greene “precious in every way” and say that “God is using her, and I am thankful for that.”

And they would have seen many in the crowd nodding and cheering when the congresswoman took the stage and quickly got to the work of ripping Johnson as a deep state shill while offering grudging admiration for the Democrats in Washington for outflanking her party.

“They tell us their agenda. They tell us their policies, and then they do something that I’m quite impressed with: They follow through,” she said of the Democrats.

Her own House Republicans, she said, have a terrible habit of making promises and then breaking them and of talking tough about Democrats on TV, only to be RINOs and babies behind closed doors.

The worst among them, she said, is Mike Johnson.

“He’s not the Republican speaker of the House, he’s the Democrat speaker of the House. And he’s doing a better job than (House Minority Leader) Hakeem Jeffries.”

Greene then laid out for her constituents what she called the “very serious problem” of Johnson as leader. Some of what she said about him was true — that he passed a recent spending bill with the help of Democrats after Republicans like Greene balked at supporting it. But with a government shutdown looming and just two votes to spare, the speaker gave in and conceded to Democrats some of what they wanted in the process.

She also said that the GOP majority is shrinking under Johnson. They’re now down to a one-vote majority. But several of the more moderate Republicans heading for the doors are vacating their seats early because, in the words of U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, the chamber has “devolved into this bickering and nonsense.” Buck and Greene were often at odds.

“Am I angry? Yes,” Greene said of Johnson’s speakership. “My question to you is, are you angry?”

The cheer of the crowd said that they were angry, too, about Ukraine funding, government spending, the Southern border...the list goes on. But, unlike Greene, the crowd was not unanimous in who they were angry at, nor whether ousting Johnson without a replacement will solve any problems.

Bob Roesch, a Republican and U.S. Army veteran, stood during the event with his hand up for about 30 minutes until people behind him complained and he was ushered out the door by Greene’s security team. She was only taking written questions, they explained.

After the event, still incensed for getting tossed, he said he was going to ask Greene about her threat to remove Johnson.

“You want to kick out Mike Johnson? Fine. I do, too, for several reasons,” he said. “But she can’t do it by herself, can she? I don’t think so. She needs other people, and I don’t know of one that’s going to side with her.”

The last round of speaker drama, which took multiple rounds of voting and several weeks to resolve, proved to Roesch that “all they are is children, especially the Republicans.” He’s not looking for a repeat, especially from his congresswoman, without knowing how it ends.

“I am Republican. I’m a conservative. I love Marjorie,” he said. “But she’s pissed me off today.”

Christian Phillips, who is running as a Republican for the Whitfield County Commission, is a Greene supporter, too. But like Roesch, he’s wary of ousting another GOP speaker after the ouster of Kevin McCarthy from the post ended in chaos.

“I understand Johnson is doing a lot wrong, but we have such a razor-thin margin that if we were to vacate, we could completely lose power,” he said. “I feel like we have to just be careful right now.”

But Dale Plemons, who calls himself “a hillbilly hyperbolist,” isn’t interested in being careful. He’s with Greene.

Wearing a MAGA hat signed by both Greene and former President Donald Trump, Plemons said Johnson “is trying to do this ‘uniparty’ thing and I don’t understand it.”

“He’s part of the globalist situation up there,” Plemons said. “Marjorie Taylor Greene is the tip of the spear in D.C. to stop this.”

Greene is at a crossroads right now. After becoming close with McCarthy and working to keep him as speaker, his fall left her on the outside of the new House power center.

She still has the plum committee assignments McCarthy gave her, but she said Tuesday that she often holds her own hearings on everything from vaccines to organ harvesting because people in Washington, including Republicans, “don’t want to hear the truth.”

And although she remains close with Trump, she’s rarely mentioned as an option for vice president as she once was. North Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik and Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders are the women on that list instead, for now.

Taking a swing at Johnson — and missing — could plunge the House GOP back into chaos and further isolate Greene on an island, where even her own supporters don’t agree with the risk she took to get there.