May 8 could have been another low point for U.S. House Republicans. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), after weeks of threats, finally pulled the pin on the grenade she'd been carrying around since March and officially filed her motion for Speaker Mike Johnson to vacate his leadership position, forcing a vote on the measure.

Greene was booed on the House floor. By her own party. 196 of 217 Republicans voted to table her motion, along with 163 Democrats. Most of the Freedom Caucus did not back her. Matt Gaetz didn't support her. Neither did Jim Jordan. Frenemy and fellow Congressional howler monkey Lauren Boebert voted to table the motion.

"Jumping the shark" is an idiom that refers to a moment when a pop culture phenomenon reaches a point when its core intent is exhausted by the introduction of new ideas that are so discordant to the original premise that the premise and core intent are no longer compelling or even usable in future content.

In 1977, in the fifth season of the TV sitcom "Happy Days," motorcycle-riding tough guy Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli jumped over a live shark on water skis. The show was never as good after that episode which itself was fairly awful. You know that thing when you're watching TV and you get embarrassed for the actors? That was Fonzie jumping the shark.

On May 8, Greene jumped the shark. After more than three years of performance politics, rants, screeds and abysmal spelling on X, Greene brought her water skis to the House floor. Essentially she got so carried away with BrandMarjorie she forgot the 400 or so other people in the building.

Greene may have permanently eroded her relevance in the Capitol but it's unlikely she has damaged her odds of re-election. She is unopposed in her heavily Republican district and has already raised more than $5 million. Her most successful Democratic challenger has barely topped $350,000 in fundraising in a four-way primary.

Greene wasn't the only Gen X MAGA heroine to break her brand this month. South Dakota governor Kristi Noem torpedoed her vice-presidential hopes when her memoir dropped and revealed she not only "hated" a family dog, she took it to the gravel pit and shot it in the head. She then recounted heading back to the house when she realized she also hated a family goat, so she went back and shot it, too.

Noem's euthanasia-by-rifle account is proving to have far longer legs than Greene being booed on the House floor. Just this week I saw a second round of anti-Noem editorials, led by one in The Washington Post entitled, I kid you not, "Don't Forget Kristi Noem's Goat." In a country where pharmaceuticals for pets are advertised on TV primetime, national political figures just can't go around shooting the family dog (Or goat! I won't forget the goat!).

I can't believe I just wrote that. That should be, you know, self-evident.

Back to the House GOP. More than a score of GOP representatives announced their retirement in 2024 and five quit before the election, frustrated at the inability to move any policy agenda forward. Last week felt like an exhale in the Capitol. The most extreme members of both caucuses voted against the measure to table Greene's motion: 21 votes. The overwhelming majority of Congress, including House Republicans, realize the nation's and their voters' work has to be done.

As of this writing, the Presidential election polls are deadlocked, as are the Congressional polls. Whichever party takes control of the House and Senate, the minority leaders will have outsize power, just as Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) in the House and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in the Senate do now.

In national voter registration, the major parties are only about 3% apart in total voter registration numbers. It makes sense that Congress would be similarly narrowly divided. Congress represents us, after all.

What we learned from the motion to vacate vote on the 8th is that nothing could really happen without opposition support. This was also the case on the long-awaited foreign aid bill. While some may look at the razor thin margins in the House and the Senate and worry about continued gridlock, I look at last week's big exhale around the ultimate rejection of Greene's silliness and see a break in stasis.

The Senate has figured how to move legislation with the tightest of partisan margins. The House may finally be catching up.

Merritt Hamilton Allen is a PR executive and former Navy officer. She appeared regularly as a panelist on NM PBS and is a frequent guest on News Radio KKOB. A Republican, she lives amicably with her Democratic husband north of I-40 where they run one head of dog, and two of cat. She can be reached at news.ind.merritt@gmail.com.

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