There is no shortage of competition, but three Republican members of Congress from Georgia in particular — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Rep. Andrew Clyde and the 10th District’s own Rep. Jody Hice — have to be in the  running for the not-so-illustrious title of “Worst Congressman in America.”

No, I’m certainly not discounting Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida (try a quick Google search) or Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, who shouts and pounds the table with all the bravado of a third-rate, ambulance-chasing, personal-injury attorney; or even, on the Democratic side of the aisle, Maxine Waters of California, who sometimes says things that make sense and other times makes comments that render her a walking advertisement for term limits.

And I’m not taking out of the running House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a spineless politician if there ever was one. McCarthy unfortunately is within striking distance of becoming the next Speaker of the House and has taken it upon himself to rehabilitate the image of a former president who, in the span of two election cycles, managed to run his party out of control of both chambers of Congress and the presidency.

And there are easily another 50 worthy nominees, like Louie Gohmert of Texas, that I haven’t yet mentioned.

•••

But one really has to stand in awe of these three amigos from the Peach State.

We’ve been over the exploits of Taylor Greene, aka Congresswoman Q, who specializes in walking quickly behind and shouting aggressively at school shooting survivors and her favorite target, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and has been largely discarded by her own caucus.

I have nothing else to say about her at this point, but AOC’s description nailed it: “These are the kinds of people that I threw out of bars all the time.”

•••

Clyde, gun-store-owner-turned-congressman who represents Georgia’s Ninth District, including neighboring Jackson and Hall counties and a sizable portion of Athens-Clarke County, injected himself firmly into the race last week at a House Oversight Committee hearing on the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

The standard had already been set by the asinine and truly disgraceful remarks of Arizona Republican Paul Gosar — another “Worst Congressman” nominee — who sought to downplay the death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, described the Trump-inspired mob as peaceful protestors and said rioter Ashli Babbitt, who helped rioters break a window to the Speaker’s Lobby and House Chamber and tried to crawl through before being shot and killed by police protecting members of Congress, was wrongfully “executed.”

But Clyde seemed eager to participate in congressional Republicans’ continued attempts to whitewash the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol from Americans’ consciousness and their disinterest in getting to the bottom of what happened and how it happened. And when given the opportunity to chime in with his own profound stupidity, he didn’t miss, saying that while there may have been some rioters and a little bit of vandalism, the pro-Trump mob was more or less your run-of-the-mill group of “tourists” who showed up in time for the joint session of Congress called to affirm the results of the presidential election.

Tourists. You know, like that group of British “tourists” at the White House in 1812.

This is precisely what Liz Cheney, who was “canceled” last week by her Republican colleagues (oh, how ironic) for her refusal to abide by her party’s Trump-led abandonment of reason and discarding of American democratic tenets, was talking about. When you have people in positions of power who cannot acknowledge basic facts and exercise even the bare minimum level of accountability, the country is in one hell of a mess.

“Hard to believe any elected official could be this oblivious to reality,” Georgia Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan tweeted in response to Clyde’s comments. “It’s this type of blind ignorance that got our party into this mess to start with.”

Duncan is exactly right, but his observation will surely fall on deaf ears for those who would rather live by the words of the great philosopher Rudolph Giuliani that “truth isn’t truth.”

I suppose now is a good time for me to apologize to Clyde’s predecessor, Doug Collins, for thinking it couldn’t get any worse for the Ninth District. Sorry, Doug.

•••

And finally, we arrive at Hice who, at last week’s hearing, also casually downplayed the violent actions of the Trump mob that injured some 140 police officers at the Capitol and labeled a noose for Vice President Mike Pence.

Hice, whose time in Congress was predated by books that noted his hatred and fear of gay people, is now mounting his own Trump-level vanity-driven Republican primary challenge against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Emboldened by Trump’s longstanding disregard for facts, Hice continues to amplify and push a trove of discredited election conspiracy theories and will likely continue to do so more loudly as the 2022 campaign in Georgia draws nearer. The aforementioned McCarthy told reporters last week, “I don’t think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election,” but he may want to check with Hice on this one, never mind Trump, who continues to put out unhinged rantings.

Hice is in step with the majority of his caucus that seeks to purge from their ranks those who don't subscribe to the former president's delusions. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, he recently put out a three-page letter to Georgia conservatives promoting his run for secretary of state, regurgitating lies that the election was rife with “systemic voting irregularities and fraud” and referring to Raffensperger as a “back-stabbing” Republican who refused Trump’s demands to overturn the results. He went on to claim that Raffensperger worked “arm and arm with Stacey Abrams to deliver the presidency and Senate to the radical left,” the newspaper reported.

“That’s why I’m giving up a safe seat in Congress to run for Georgia Secretary of State,” Hice wrote, “to stop Democrats before they rig and ruin our democracy forever.”

As Hice notes, he plans to, thankfully, eventually vacate his seat, though whether the 10th District can clear the low bar of finding someone better remains to be seen.

And whether it’s the incumbent Raffensperger, whoever the eventual Democratic nominee is, or a wet paper bag, Georgians can certainly do better than Hice for secretary of state. But again, we’ll see what happens.

As long as he remains in office, Hice remains as strong a candidate as anyone for “Worst Congressman." I’m not sure who I would vote for in this hypothetical contest, but at this point, the clowns are clearly running the circus. And the show has gone off the rails.

Will it ever end?

Scott Thompson is editor of The Barrow News-Journal. He can be reached at sthompson@barrownewsjournal.com.

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