August 18, 2022

Liz Cheney

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney was increasingly open on Wednesday about considering a 2024 presidential campaign after soundly losing a Republican primary to a challenger backed by former President Donald Trump.” AP News

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From the Left

The left is divided about Cheney.

“Numerous right-wing commentators portrayed Hageman's win and Cheney's loss as a perfect example of democracy in action, implying that it undermines Cheney's warnings about threats to democracy. But unlike Trump, Cheney didn't deny that she lost the race, or encourage people to believe she won, or incite supporters to block Hageman's victory from being certified.”

Brian Stelter, CNN

“There's no question at this point about her genuineness. You can’t endure and survive the kind of nastiness that she has if you don’t believe in what you’re doing. You can’t radiate the calm and conviction that she has as the vice chair of the Jan. 6 committee if you’re not confident that you’re on the side of the angels. Additionally, she didn’t do what more than a few other Never Trumpers did and essentially morph into a Democrat, tweaking and twisting long-held positions so that she could still belong somewhere. She simply and importantly made cause with Democrats…

“I was sad and angry when she celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, because I think she’s wrong… But I grudgingly respected Cheney’s fidelity to her beliefs and readiness to alienate her newest fans. She’s a cantankerous sort — like father, like daughter — and heroes are as messy as villains. But a hero she is, because she models independent-mindedness for a country in which too many people fall into tribal line.”

Frank Bruni, New York Times

Others note that “In the run-up to the 2016 election, Liz Cheney issued a dire warning. The future of American democracy, and the nation’s place as a symbol of freedom to the world, was on the ballot. If voters chose poorly, she told Rush Limbaugh, the next president ‘would be the most corrupt individual ever to sit in the Oval Office.’ She was referring, of course, to Hillary Clinton

“[Before that she spent years] tearing into the Obama administration with such fervor that some conservatives floated her for president. Was she a birther? Not personally, but she indulged the racist lie with the same cowardly coddling that everyone else in the party did. ‘One of the reasons you see people so concerned about this, I think this issue is, people are uncomfortable with having for the first time ever, I think, a president who seems so reluctant to defend the nation overseas,’ she said… Cheney was defeated by the extremist movement she helped to empower.”

Tim Murphy, Mother Jones

“[President Lincoln] and his allies pulled former Whigs, Free Soil land reformers, dissident Democrats, and abolitionists together in a Republican Party that won an election where four major candidates split the presidential vote. Cheney would very much like to be considered the Lincoln of her time…

“[But] While her work on the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol has been exemplary, Cheney’s record is that of an extreme right-wing advocate for positions that have mirrored those of Trump when it comes to attacking immigrants, refugees, Muslims, and Democrats. Before her split with the 45th president, she voted with him 93 percent of the time… No matter how hard Liz Cheney wants voters to think of her as a new-model Lincoln, the reality is that she’s just a slightly refurbished Cheney.”

John Nichols, The Nation

From the Right

The right is critical of Cheney, arguing that she is out of touch with Republican voters.

The right is critical of Cheney, arguing that she is out of touch with Republican voters.

“There are a ‘core four’ political priorities that unite and animate [the] New Right. They are a strong border, skepticism on trade deals, energy independence, and fighting the culture war. On all of these the old GOP establishment was badly out of step with voters. It sought amnesty arrangements, it never met a trade deal it didn’t love, often caved on fossil fuel production, and refused to prosecute the culture wars over trans issues and critical race theory out of fear of being called bigots…

“Liz Cheney didn’t lose because the GOP has become a Trumpist cult, no matter how much the liberal media wishes that were so. She lost because the GOP is no longer a party of think tanks, but a party of voters… This is a requiem for Cheney, yes, but also for the buttoned up, top down GOP that the New Right has now completely replaced.”

David Marcus, Fox News

“The Republican Party has some lingering conservative leanings, but it is now the populist, Make America Great Again party of its modern leader, Donald Trump. Even if someone else is its standard-bearer in 2024 — which would be a wise move, considering Trump’s self-inflicted wounds after his election defeat — the GOP will not revert to the party of the past. Establishment Republicans who care to remain even modestly influential can pick up an oar and help row. Or, they can jump ship. Lectures and recriminations are futile…

“Our national acrimony could be lessened by declaring a halt to portraying the GOP as a terrorist- or conspiracy-based organization represented by the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers or other such groups. Millions of rank-and-file Republicans having no connection to fringe militias with exaggerated influence roll their eyes at the insults hurled their way… The more you call millions of hard-working, patriotic Americans racists, cultists or terrorists, the more you push them away — and then complain that they’re not listening.”

Gary Abernathy, Washington Post

Cheney’s poor political judgment was emblematized by a recent interview in which she expressed unwillingness to support Ron DeSantis if he ran for president in 2024. A DeSantis 2024 campaign is, as even David Frum has acknowledged, something of an acid test of the sincerity of people who argue that Trump is a figure of uniquely bad character, uniquely bad for our democratic system. Even acknowledging the legitimate reasons why DeSantis may not be the first choice of a lot of Republicans and conservatives, there is no reason why someone with a 90-plus percent pro-Trump voting record in the House should be ruling out supporting him.”

Dan McLaughlin, National Review

“I am skeptical that an independent or third-party bid by Cheney would have much of an impact at all… Everyone would know, from the get-go, that Cheney had no shot of being sworn in at noon on January 20, 2025. If she launched an independent bid against Trump, everyone would know she was doing so just to ensure that the Democratic nominee won the election. And Republicans have a word to describe a person whose primary objective is to ensure Joe Biden or Kamala Harris or Gavin Newsom or some other like-minded figure heads the executive branch for the next four years. They call people like that ‘Democrats.’”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

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