It’s easy to make fun of Congressman Thomas Massie, a little boy with a big, big gun and a fatuous grin. The Most Likely to Embarrass MIT winner plays dress-up as a politician at the U.S. Capitol on the taxpayer dime.
It’s easy to bemoan the decision of Massie and his family to send out a photo of them holding guns in front of the Christmas tree just a few days after similarly poor parenting decisions led a 15-year-old to kill four of his classmates in Michigan.
It’s also all too easy to lump Massie in with all the other extremists in Congress — like Reps. Paul Gosar, Madison Cawthorn, Majorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert — and laugh off their threats, their guns, their general absurdity. Easy, that is, until a bunch of their supporters storm the U.S. Capitol.
But Massie doesn’t care. This is all going according to plan. All the ratioing in the world won’t stop the support Massie and his ilk receive for crazier and crazier antics. There is no bar too low because lib-owning memes are the chum that right-wing media can feed to the base. There’s no downside for Massie in posting things like his erstwhile Christmas card because without his Outrage Twitter feed, he’d be unknown to the wider world.
Unfortunately for him, Massie can’t even call himself a real Trumpist because Trump called him out for trying to block one of the COVID aid proposals in early 2020. Trump, who has an uncanny ability to poke right where it hurts, called him a “third rate Grandstander.”
But looming fascism and grandstanding aside, let’s ask a more prosaic and immediate question. What has U.S. Rep Thomas Massie done for Kentucky?
His official website, which politicians usually use to list their accomplishments, isn’t much help — it just lists his social media accounts and updates his lawsuit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over mask mandates at the Capitol. His press office declined to respond to requests for comment after the state GOP headquarters referred me there.
Let’s see ... He voted against giving Capitol Police Congressional Gold Medals for their work during the Jan. 6 riots. Massie put forward debunked claims about election fraud during the 2020 presidential Election. There’s the time he claimed to have owned former Secretary of State John Kerry because his political science degree from Yale wasn’t real science.
The official Congressional bill tracker shows he’s gotten some amendments passed, has had more trouble passing bills that he’s sponsored or co-sponsored.
Former Republican Secretary of State Trey Grayson, who hails from Northern Kentucky, says getting bills passed is not really the motivator with this crop of politicians.
“In today’s Congress, where not a lot of legislating gets done, a large majority of legislators view their role as outsiders; they don’t roll up their sleeves and legislate,”Grayson said. “The Republican party has been pulled away from the McConnells of the world, and part of why that’s happened is folks like Massie have said we’re going to pull the party in our direction and they’ve done that.”
Fair enough. Massie can keep winning elections on outrage fundraising, and not get much done for his district. And maybe that’s enough for the more extreme ends of the Northern Kentucky political spectrum. But in the end, those voters deserve something more tangible than headlines that do nothing except burnish Massie’s brand. Santa, go ahead and bring ammo to Mr. Massie, and next year, bring Northern Kentucky someone more deserving of the title of U.S. Congressman.