In the very short time since our new Rep. Lauren Boebert took the oath of office on Jan. 3, she’s made quite the splash in the nation’s capital.
Her reviews are mixed.
Those who voted for her may not be surprised. Boebert’s campaign appealed to a variety of people on the right: gun rights advocates, QAnon followers, fundamentalist Christians, conservative Republicans and “law-and-order” proponents. Those messages likely resonated with about half of the voters in District 3.
Boebert’s activities in the capital have prompted outrage from her Democratic constituents. A recent burst of letters to the Herald demanded her resignation, recall or Congressional censure. Detractors rallied in protest in Durango’s Buckley Park. Some 68 Democratic elected officials from the 3rd Congressional District signed a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, asking the House to investigate Boebert’s association, if any, with the attack on the Capitol.
The 34-year-old member of Congress has also taken some heat from at least one fellow Republican.
Rep. Ken Buck, chairman of Colorado’s Republican Party, called on Boebert and other members of Congress to “tone down the rhetoric” as the House considered impeaching the president for a second time.
Boebert also sowed seeds of discord by accusing Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-NY, of suggesting she had given a tour of the Capitol to insurrectionists before the Jan. 6 siege. In fact, Maloney had not named her at all. We have seen no evidence suggesting she conducted such a tour (although we found her Jan. 6 tweet, “This is 1776,” disturbing.)
Boebert has achieved her presumed goal of getting attention, but that doesn’t speak to whether she is capable of doing the work of a representative.
We fear if she continues her current behavior – which seems solely focused on gun advocacy – she will not be taken seriously in Congress. Demanding to wear her gun in the House Chamber will not ensure gun rights or earn her respect among her colleagues.
Congress is a curious institution, colored by history and party politics, yet one in which success is based almost solely upon building long-term relationships and doing the hard work of committee service. It takes time and a willingness to learn and pay one’s dues in order to do the job of a Congressional representative well.
And just as ordinary folk have to behave professionally on the job even when they despise a coworker or authority figure, so, too, do legislators learn they need each other – even when they disagree – in order to advance their agendas.
It will be difficult for Boebert to do that if she’s alienated powerful members of long-standing. They will outmaneuver her every time.
If Boebert wants to instead continue to play to the grandstands like Trump, that’s fine. But such a course will undermine her in the long run. She must realize that as a Congressional representative, she doesn’t have the Presidential power that afforded Trump the ability to act with impunity. In Congress she’s going to need to be a team player with others. And no one’s going to want to play with her if she doesn’t know the rules and fails to act with the civility and diplomacy that are hallmarks of effective governing.
A lot of people would like to see Boebert ousted. That’s not going to happen; only the next election will show whether she’s earned her seat.
In the meantime, we’d prefer that she focused on addressing the very real needs of her constituents, many of whom are suffering, financially and otherwise, at this time.
There is no doubt about it; we need Lauren Boebert – just a more mature, thoughtful, dedicated version of the one we’ve seen so far.