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Not to educatorsplain things to Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, the enthusiastic genital displayer from Georgia’s 14th District, but during her speech last weekend at one of those endless streams of conservative conferences that seem to be as frequent as a new Marvel thing, she went off, oddly, on how Joe Biden’s policies were helping people. “Joe Biden had the largest public investment in social infrastructure and environmental programs, that is actually finishing what FDR started, that LBJ expanded on, and Joe Biden is attempting to complete,” she said. Unsurprisingly, Biden’s campaign for president used Greene’s words approvingly, flipping the context to how, yeah, Biden’s done some good things for the country and thanks, Marj.
But there’s another aspect to Greene’s ignorance that deserves more attention. She very specifically went after Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs and Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. She sneered, “The Great Society were [sic] big government programs for education, medical care, urban problems, rural poverty, transportation, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, welfare” and more things. It should benoted that the fact that what she’s listing are considered bad things by the gathered future fascists of America points to an emptiness in what we might quaintly call their “souls.”
The thing is that both the New Deal and the Great Society (including the War on Poverty) were very much targeting regions like Appalachia, part of which is in northwest Georgia, which is where Greene’s district is. The New Deal created the Tennessee Valley Authority, and northern Georgia benefited with two hydroelectric dams that still provide power to several counties in the 14th. In fact, the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 was a major factor in the modernization of northwest Georgia and the electric cooperatives created by the law are still keeping the lights on there.
Unlike the contemptuous Greene, FDR actually had a fondness for rural Georgia. He had what he called his summer White House in Warm Springs, which is in west-central Georgia, a couple of counties down from what is now the 14th District. Roosevelt found that the waters of the springs gave him relief from the pain of polio, and he got to know the farmers and workers in the state, learning about the rampant poverty there. There’s no need to go through everything that the New Deal did for Georgia, with schools, subsidies to farmers, jobs, and housing, all while the short-sighted Gov. Eugene Talmadge was trying to hinder the programs, especially the ones that helped Black people.
But it’s worth pointing out that in Greene’s district alone, Fort Mountain State Park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The city halls in Dalton and Cedartown, as well as the Post Office in Summerville, all came from New Deal money and effort. (By the way, even though it’s out of her district, it’s worth noting that the University of Georgia, where Greene went to college, was pretty much kept alive during the Depression by the millions invested in new buildings and programs through the New Deal.)
And the Great Society? Over 100,000 people in the district are on Medicare or Medicaid (with tens of thousands more eligible). The Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965 led to massive economic development. The poverty rate in that area of Georgia dropped by over half, from 38.5% of people in 1960 to 16.9% in 1970. And Greene supposedly cares about fetuses since she is rabidly anti-choice. So why would she want to tear down a program that helped fetuses stay alive. In 1960, the infant mortality rate in northwest Georgia was 29.1 deaths per thousand. In 1975? 16.4. Nearly 50% fewer babies were dying because of the Great Society. Seems like a really pro-life thing, no?
In other words, Greene’s district pretty much simply exists because of two Democratic presidents. She should be on her knees every day, thanking FDR and LBJ, and she should be begging Joe Biden to continue helping the 14th as much as the other two leaders did. But, no, it’s just easier to pretend that anything the government does is evil.
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Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on July 20, 2023 on The Rude Pundit, a website featuring commentary by Lee Papa. It was reproduced here with the consent of Mr. Papa.