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With Disruption and Trolling, Greene Reflects G.O.P.’s Shift

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Representative Lauren Boebert, a first-term Republican from Colorado who pledged to carry her pistol in the halls of Congress, upended a recent Natural Resources Committee meeting when she chimed in on Zoom, sitting in front of a backdrop of several rifles, to argue that lawmakers should be allowed to bring firearms to such gatherings.

On Tuesday, as Ms. Greene appeared on Newsmax, a conservative television network, to talk up an immigration bill she has proposed, which would ban “specifically illegal immigration” for four years, and to jab her “not so smart” Republican colleagues who voted to boot her off her panels.

At one point, the interviewer, Greg Kelly, wondered aloud about what Ms. Greene hoped to accomplish in Congress.

“Maybe the world has changed, and it’s not just about crafting a new law, it’s about — what?” Mr. Kelly asked. “Gaining influence so — I don’t know — in two years or a year or six months, something else can happen?”

“People are pushing back because it’s not the way things are normally done in Washington,” Ms. Greene replied. “But business as usual in Washington has led us here. So clearly, their way of doing things isn’t what works.”

It is hardly a new phenomenon for members of the minority party to relish roles as disrupters while they wait for their party to regain power. In the 1980s, Newt Gingrich, then a backbencher relegated to the Republican minority, made himself into a master of confrontation, weaponizing the new C-SPAN cameras that covered every minute of congressional debate to deliver scathing broadsides and doing little to hide his glee at the notoriety he was personally amassing.

“I am now a famous person,” he bragged to The Washington Post.

But Mr. Gingrich, who went on to become speaker after Republicans took the House in 1994, was also a thought leader in his party, and he came to prominence before social media had fundamentally changed the rhythms and mores of Congress.

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