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Wrong War. Wrong Time. Wrong Tactics. I think that’s emblazoned on the Cheney Family Coat of Arms. No one needs more evidence of that than the drama that has just played out in the House GOP Conference. But I come not to praise Caesar, but to bury her.
Liz Cheney may be a book-smart woman. But she and her supporters have been awfully stupid since January. Maybe that comes with believing that power is your birthright and not something to be earned from the people you are supposed to represent. Liz Perry – she’s been Mrs. Philip Perry for 28 years now – clings to her father’s name like a hereditary title. It is the source of her power. She was made the Chair of the House Republican Conference in January 2019 despite the fact that she had only been in the House for a single term. In her four years in the House, she has never proposed legislation that had been signed into law. So, the Cheney name is all she really has.
But who needs personal accomplishments? She went straight from college into a job at the State Department. (Who doesn’t?) Then came law school and a high-profile lobbying job with the “consulting” firm led by Richard Armitage. With her father’s election as Vice President, it was back to State. In other words, she took all the obvious career paths that most of her Wyoming constituents take.
And now, she has become a “hero” to the Left and the disgruntled establishment for fighting an internecine war with her party and her constituency. Because of her name recognition, she is one of those politicians who has never really had to engage in retail politics – climbing the greasy pole from local office to local office, working your way to state government, before trying the national stage – and all while building coalitions and creating political capital. Like so many others before her, the smartest person in the room also becomes the dumbest.
What Liz and her supporters cannot seem to come to grips with (or by nature they are oblivious to) are these basic facts:
- You may win future elections without Donald Trump but you will not win them without his supporters. His constituents are your constituents. A mainstay argument of the anti-Trump crowd is the former President’s “underperformance” compared to the GOP House and Senate candidates. Even if that’s true, the proportion of voters that supported both greatly outweighs the difference. And for someone like Cheney, she underperformed Trump by some 8,000 votes.
- Whether you’re a politician or a pundit, the near-universal response to the allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 election has been stupid. Not just stupid, but mind-numbing levels of stupid. A working democracy depends upon a mountain of faith that the process is on the up-and-up. If 40 percent of the American public believes the 2020 elections were fraudulent, that is not a Donald Trump problem. That is an existential problem for the Republic and therefore it is your problem. The proper response should have been, “We know that there are doubts and we are going to do everything we can to allay these fears.” Instead we got, “You people are stupid. Shut the hell* up and go away.” Unfortunately, that toothpaste can’t go back in the tube. Donald Trump may fade away but the result of the glee so many take in attacking his supporters will not.
- We all know the phrase, “The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations.” It’s mainly used as an argument on race relations and the “dumbing down” of standards. But it applies everywhere. How you treat people will eventually alter their trajectory. If you constantly accuse someone falsely of bad conduct, if you prosecute them for your own political gain, they will eventually take the attitude that they will live down to the accusations. I mean, if you’re going to do the time, why not actually do the crime? And so it is with January 6. There were six deaths surrounding the events of that day, five of them medically induced. The only unnatural death was that of Ashley Babbitt at the hands of a Capitol Hill Police officer. However, if the politicians and the pundits continue their accusations of “armed insurrection,” they will eventually get one. They may see it as an opportunity to finally “deal” with Trump supporters, but that is a beast that, once unleashed, may not be as easy to control as they think. The second American Civil War would not look like the first one. Forget Gettysburg, think Beirut. And Northern Ireland. And Syria. And this crusade SecDef Austin is waging against his own troops is the epitome of stupid. When the shooting starts, loyalty is not going to be decided by a uniform.
Originally, Liz Cheney moved to Wyoming to claim her hereditary title in the US Senate. Her plan in 2014 was to stab another Republican – incumbent Senator Mike Enzi – in the back. (Anyone sense a pattern here?) When it became obvious that she on course for an embarrassing spanking in the primary she backed off and settled for the state’s at-large House seat two years later. Now, she is reduced to being one ineffectual vote among the minority. Maybe Joe Biden will reward her loyalty with a return trip to the State Department as US Ambassador to Iraq.
*Not the word I wanted to use.Published in