Boebert? Boebert? Boebert? Boebert?

When news broke that Rep. Lauren Boebert missed the debt ceiling vote — the most consequential since Republicans won control of the House of Representatives last November — all I could hear was Ben Stein’s nasal monotone calling roll.

Of course that is not how the voting system works anymore in Congress, but it is the only fitting way to think of the congresswoman not-really-representing Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District failing to cast her ballot. If Shakespeare taught us anything, it is that the greatest tragedies require at least a little comedic respite.

Boebert has done nothing since being first elected but agitate and self-promote. She is only interested in — and maybe only capable of — engaging in high-pitched diatribes that draw cameras and MAGA supplicants. If it does not benefit her directly, she has no time for it.

The debt ceiling debate was the perfect example.

Before the vote, Boebert showed up on time and eager to every press gaggle with a microphone. She spent weeks calling for fellow House Freedom Caucus crazies to oppose the deal hammered out by President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy. She pulled out all the top hits, from lambasting “the swamp” to proclaiming “fake news.”

Rep. Ken Buck’s opposition at least had the benefit of consistent principle. He has never supported a debt ceiling hike and opposed similar measures under former President Donald Trump. Rightly or wrongly, Buck believes the government spends too much and should be held to account when it bumps up against its budget limits.

Boebert is not nearly as nuanced. Apparently she just felt a lack of attention since she had the national spotlight on her during the contentious election of McCarthy to Speaker of the House. In January, she gleefully preened for the lights and flashbulbs as she confounded even the most conservative pundits with her unintelligible rationale.

Eclipsed in the interim by her best frenemy, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has taken on the role of MAGA Translator in Chief for McCarthy, Boebert seemed spoiling for an opportunity to throw herself in front of cameras again. Consequently, when the hint of opposition to the debt plan deal surfaced, Boebert straightened her skirt, flipped her hair and went running to the closest reporters. It is the political equivalent of a Pavlovian bell.

Boebert could not help but undermine her own leadership and party. The opportunity to promote her own brand and social media following pulled more strongly than any political loyalty, much less the best interests of her constituents thousands of miles away. 

Boebert did stop short of calling for McCarthy to be removed from office. A part of the Succession-esque “meal fit for a king” Boebert and company forced McCarthy to swallow in exchange for their support in his Speaker bid, she demurred when asked about whether a snap vote should be called to oust McCarthy. Instead, Boebert replied that she was “focused on taking down this bill.” 

Apparently, she was so focused that she forgot when the vote was scheduled.

According to at least one reporter, Boebert was still on the steps of the Capitol when the vote was gaveled. She has not offered any explanation for her tardiness or reason to understand why she would miss a bill she spent so much time seeking out media to pelt with her self-aggrandizing recriminations.

Maybe she just forgot the order the days of the week fall in again. I know that is a challenge for her.

Or maybe someone lured her from the chambers by dropping a microphone affixed to a long cord they cruelly pulled away every time she reached down for it. 

Or maybe she does not care about public policy and governing and the people in her district who need and deserve a representative in Congress. Just because it is in the literal title of her job does not mean she takes it seriously. She has proved that over and over.

Boebert’s singular interest is in attracting attention by throwing rhetorical grenades with abandon. While it helped her to topple an incumbent member of Congress three years ago, the act seems to be wearing thin. She won re-election by the slimmest margin in the country last year. Her opponent, Adam Frisch, has already filed to run against her again and is raising big money off her gaffes.

But failing to vote on a bill as important as the debt ceiling is more than a gaffe. It is a statement of disregard and disrespect for the people who voted for her in the first place. That is something folks tend to remember at the ballot box.

Simply put, when it comes to representing her constituents, the debt ceiling debate proved Boebert is all holster and no gun. 

Mario Nicolais is an attorney and columnist who writes on law enforcement, the legal system, health care and public policy. Follow him on Twitter: @MarioNicolaiEsq.

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