When you listen to what she had to say at the Turning Point Action conference over the weekend in West Palm Beach, it’s easy to understand why Marjorie Taylor Greene is Joe Biden’s favorite Republican House member.

“Now LBJ had the Great Society, but Joe Biden had Build Back Better, and he still is working on it, the largest public investment in social infrastructure and environmental programs that is actually finishing what FDR started, that LBJ expanded on, and Joe Biden is attempting to complete,” Greene said to a conservative audience.

Immediately, there was a chorus of media voices holding Greene up to ridicule for giving Biden such a gift at a time when he is struggling to sell Democratic voters on “Bidenomics” and its links to their party’s traditions. But the voters who take her seriously share her contempt for those traditions.

The blue-collar philosopher Eric Hoffer popularized the term “true believer,” which he defined as the fanatical core of every mass movement. He saw similar characteristics in true believers across a wide range of mass movements, from revolutionary political parties to new religions.

You could characterize Greene, on the other hand, as a true disbeliever. She is against what she calls Democratic socialism and goes back to Franklin D. Roosevelt in her opposition to programs that have become part of life in America. It’s going to make a great soundbite in a Democratic campaign ad, but Greene is without guile in her distaste for Lyndon Johnson’s “big government programs to address education, medical care, urban problems, rural poverty, transportation, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and welfare.”

At the numerous conventions like the one over the weekend where young conservative activists congregate, true disbelievers — people oriented more around what they don’t believe in than what they do — have become more numerous as the generation which remembered the Great Depression and World War II has faded. Greene’s popularity as a speaker at these events reflects that.

Among voters generally, however, numerous polls indicate no appetite for ditching government programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The differences are still at the margins. For the most part, voters don’t like big government programs — until they have big problems.

Vice President Kamala Harris has already visited the QCells plant in Dalton to celebrate a record solar panel order, and Biden said earlier this month that he also plans to visit Greene’s district for the groundbreaking on an expansion of the solar plant.

The Biden administration is using the massive plant to show that the tax credits which were a part of the Inflation Reduction Act have had a positive impact on the economy. Greene has described the South Korean-owned plant as “fantastic,” but she credits the economic policies of Donald Trump and Brian Kemp for the massive facility.

“I support all kinds of energy,” she said.

The early chatter about Biden’s attempt to get more credit for the improving economy has been mostly downbeat, centering on the sour opinions voters have been voicing in polls more than the encouraging numbers in several measures of the economy. That doesn’t mean the president hasn’t been improving his prospects. The numbers in polls and the squiggly lines on financial charts sometimes take a while to come in line with each other.

And Greene has given the president a line or two with which to respond to the charge that he’s doddering and incompetent, elevating him into the pantheon of FDR and LBJ. He may not deserve that rank just yet, but it’s going to be hard to press the argument that Biden has been ineffective, particularly on the international front.

In the end, the biggest factor in Biden’s bid for reelection may be how voters feel next year about what Greene so succinctly described as “the largest public investment in social infrastructure and environmental programs” since the days of LBJ.

Tom Baxter has written about politics and the South for more than four decades. He was national editor and chief political correspondent at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and later edited The Southern...

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