Politics Liz Cheney Has Only Herself to Blame
How Democrats Learned to Love the Cheneys
Is Cheney's dissent conviction or calculation?This metamorphosis—lampooned as “strange new respect” by journalist Tom Bethell in 1992 as the liberal journalist’s instinct to overpraise any leftward gesture by a right-wing politician—can be accomplished any number of ways. In Romney’s case, he achieved his strange new respect in 2020, when he cast his ballot to impeach President Donald Trump. John Bolton won his by publishing a show-and-tell about working for the Trump administration, 2020’s The Room Where It Happened.
Liz Cheney, the representative of Wyoming, the daughter of a former vice president, and a lifelong conservative Republican, is facing a purge.
Cheney’s transgression? She has continued to insist, truthfully, that former President Donald Trump’s claims about the 2020 election are false, after having voted to impeach him in March for inciting a mob that stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the result.
Yesterday, Steve Scalise, the No. 2 Republican in the House,Cheney from her leadership post as the third-ranking House Republican, and replacing her with Elise Stefanik, who has obsequiously about voter fraud. “This is about whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on January 6,” Cheney’s spokesperson, Jeremy Adler, told . “Liz will not do that. That is the issue.”
Who is Liz Cheney? House Republicans' No. 3, daughter of a VP, Trump critic
Liz Cheney is the elder daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who held the same GOP leadership position from which she may be ousted.Cheney was one of 10 Republicans in the House to vote for Trump's impeachment over his alleged incitement of the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, and has since remained firm in her belief that Trump's rhetoric led to the violence.
The Times, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, hoped that “after surviving [a] February vote of no confidence, Ms. Cheney, as an elected leader, would make like the rest of the party and simply move on.” This is a ridiculous claim; the Republican Party has not moved on at all. The falsehood that the 2020 election was rigged against Trump has become the justification for voter-suppression laws in Republican-controlled states across the country. A majority of Republicans voted against certifying the election even after the Capitol riot; believe that the election was stolen.
“I am a conservative Republican, and the most conservative of conservative values is reverence for the rule of law,” Cheneyop-ed yesterday. “The Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution.”
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The conflict here does not stem from Cheney’s refusal to move on from the lies that sparked the Capitol riot, but from the fact that the Republican Party has embraced those lies as foundational to Republican identity in 2021. Trump has not moved on, and therefore the GOP base has not moved on, and therefore the legislators beholden to that base must repeat the lie as a condition of good standing in the party. Cheney’s fall will ensure that ambitious Republicans eschew the folly of respecting the outcome of elections that the GOP loses. They will all understand that the only acceptable outcome of political contests is Republican victory, and that any system that allows for the possibility of defeat is illegitimate.
As, the belief that the 2020 election was stolen, like the claim that former President Barack Obama was not born in America, is not amenable to fact-checking. The assertion of fraud is an ideological statement that political opposition to the Republican Party in general, and to Donald Trump in particular, is illegitimate. Even if Joe Biden got more votes, this logic holds, those votes should not count, because the people who cast them are not Real Americans the way Trump supporters are. To oppose Trump is to be The Enemy, and to be The Enemy is to surrender any claim to fundamental political rights.
Liz Cheney: House Republicans are preparing to oust No. 3 leader this week. Here's what to watch.
House Republicans could vote as early as Wednesday to replace Rep. Liz Cheney as GOP conference chair, a move that would underscore former President Donald Trump's firm grip on the party months after leaving office. © Drew Angerer/Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 14: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) attends a press conference following a House Republican caucus meeting on Capitol Hill on April 14, 2021 in Washington, DC. The House Republican members spoke about their recent trip to the southern border and the surge of migrant children entering the United States.
Even a lifelong conservative Republican like Cheney becomes The Enemy if she is willing to uphold essential democratic rights—such as the opposition’s right to govern if it wins the most electoral votes—above the whims of King Trump. Cheney’s brave stand looks likely to cost her the leadership position she holds, and has left her isolated within the caucus, one of the few Republicans who have chosen their vow to the Constitution over their loyalty to the party. Yet the party’s rejection of the rule of law is also an extension of a political logic that Cheney herself has cultivated for years.
During the Obama administration, Cheneywho, as was the fashion at the time, insisted that the president was to jihadists. She enthusiastically , dismissed the constitutional right to due process as an inconvenience, and amplified the to portray .
Until the insurrection, she was a loyal Trumpist who frequently denounced the Democratic Party. “They’ve become the party of anti-Semitism; they’ve become the party of infanticide; they’ve become the party of socialism,” shein 2019. Her critics now, such as Scalise and the buffoonish Representative Matt Gaetz, formerly to bring, as the Times put it in 2019, “an edge to Republican messaging that was lacking.”
Liz Cheney live updates: House Republicans expected to vote on removing her from leadership
The vote is the result of weeks of drama among House Republicans, some who see Rep. Liz Cheney's criticism of Donald Trump as a distraction.Cheney, the third most-powerful House Republican, has angered some in the party for her repeated criticism of Trump and his claim the 2020 election was stolen from him. A vote behind closed doors and by secret ballot is scheduled for Wednesday morning.
That “edge” was Cheney’s specialty from the moment she emerged as a rising star in the GOP. In 2010, Cheney launched aagainst seven unnamed attorneys in the Obama-era Justice Department who had previously represented terrorism suspects held in the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay. The Bush administration’s assertions of imperial power in the War on Terror violated the Constitution many times over—the conservative majority on the Supreme Court agreed—and the lawyers who represented detainees were defending the fundamental constitutional right to counsel. They were affirming the integrity of the American legal system; Cheney smeared them as terrorist sympathizers, as The Enemy.
“While embracing or ignoring Trump’s statements might seem attractive to some for fundraising and political purposes, that approach will do profound long-term damage to our party and our country,” Cheney lamented in her Washington Post op-ed. But her colleagues are merely following her example.
“Americans have a right to know the identity of the Al-Qaeda Seven,” a 2010 ad from Cheney’s group, Keep America Safe,, as if it were referring to the actual 9/11 hijackers and not the attorneys who had represented them in court. “Whose values do they share?" The Enemy has no rights, and anyone who imagines otherwise, let alone seeks to uphold them, is also The Enemy.
Liz Cheney's future in Republican leadership decided by voice vote in closed-door meeting
Under long-standing conference rules, votes were cast in secret by the members who physically show up to the morning meeting in the Capitol. No proxy voting is allowed. Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning. A simple majority of those voting decided Cheney's fate. That's what happened in February when some Republicans sought to strip Cheney of the leadership post following the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump that she supported. The vote was 145-61 (with one abstention) by voice vote to keep Cheney on as conference chair.
This is the logic of the War on Terror, and also the logic of the party of Trump. As George W. Bush, “You are either with us or with the terrorists.” You are Real Americans or The Enemy. And if you are The Enemy, you have no rights. As Spencer Ackerman writes in his forthcoming book, , the politics of endless war inevitably gives way to this authoritarian logic. Cheney now finds herself on the wrong side of a line she spent much of her political career enforcing. Her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, infamously announced that America might have to employ “the dark side” in its fight against al-Qaeda; forgetting the entire point of Star Wars, which is that the dark side ultimately . Not until the mob ransacked the Capitol in January, it seems, did she begin to understand that millions of Americans believe the things their leaders tell them.
Cheney’s McCarthyite campaign against the Justice Department lawyers was blunted when a group of former Republican officials, including Ken Starr and Theodore Olson,Cheney. Starr described the attorneys’ work as being “in the finest tradition of the profession.” John Adams, the second president of the United States, the letter pointed out, had famously represented the British soldiers in the Boston Massacre. In effect, those Justice Department officials did what Cheney is attempting to do now—defend fundamental democratic rights from the cynical authoritarianism of shortsighted political partisans.
Unfortunately, Cheney and her allies won their earlier fight for the soul of the party. During the Obama era, the Republican Party became ever more hostile to the fundamental rights of religious and ethnic minorities, and ultimately chose Donald Trump, a man who attacked those rights as an existential threat to the nation, as its leader. Cheney’s courageous stand against the party of Trump is a stand against a party she helped build, a monster she helped create. The tragedy is not that she might suffer for her folly, but that American democracy will. Her latter-day epiphany is welcome, but it also comes far too late.
Liz Cheney says she regrets voting for Trump in 2020 .
Liz Cheney said she regrets voting for Donald Trump in the 2020 election, speaking in a "This Week" interview with ABC Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl. "It was a vote based on policy, based on substance and in terms of the kinds of policies he put forward that were good for the country. But I think it's fair to say that I regret the vote." © ABC News Cheney, R-Wyo., also blasted House Republicans for elevating Rep.