The controversy surrounding Congresswoman Liz Cheney – which is giving Democrats and the left-wing media another opportunity to attack the Republican Brand – is an unforced error.
Voting to impeach President Trump might have been a reason to not elevate Cheney into a leadership position, but that vote, alone, should not bring about a forced ouster from an office she already holds. In fact, it did not. In organizing the House leadership for the 117th Congress, the members of the Republican caucus kept her in as the number three position in Party leadership.
At the time, that seemed to be the correct decision. After all, Cheney was one of the consistently principled conservative votes in the House – with a 98 percent rating from the American Conservative Union. She had a long and distinguished record of supporting conservative Republican legislation. That is a BIG reason for a person like me – who judges most political matters in terms of the key issues rather than personalities – can tolerate an occasional disagreement.
I also take a longer look at a lawmaker’s record – not determining my support or opposition on a single vote. In fact, I cannot think of any Republican office holder with whom I did not differ from time to time – even such conservative icons as President Reagan. As I have often stated, the person I have agreed with most is … me. And even then, I have found myself disagreeing with my own past opinions.
Cheney is not being ousted solely because she voted to impeach Trump. That was considered and resolved when her Republican colleagues re-elected her to her leadership position earlier in the year.
There are other reasons. Among these has been her expressed dissatisfaction with Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy – it is a personality clash. She may also see creating an aura of victimization as a good way to advance her own political ambitions – some say a run for President in 2024. Based on the latest financial disclosure statements, Cheney is breaking her own fundraising records in recent months.
Cheney has made herself the darling of both the disaffected anti-Trump Republicans and the left-wing news media. She seems to be taking a high-risk gamble that the old GOP establishment has – or will regain – sufficient power to reclaim leadership.
In many ways, we are seeing a re-run of the old schism that pitted conservative Republicans against the more liberal “eastern establishment” types way back in the 1960s and the 1970s – when the modern conservative movement was being launched. It was the Reaganites against the Rockefeller Republicans.
While the GOP leadership appears to be fractured – with the liberal media applauding and promoting the divisiveness – Republican voters may be more united against Democrat excesses than those on the left appreciate. They explain Republican unity as a “cult of Trump,” but it is more likely that the Democrats’ shift to the far left is the key uniting factor in Republican unity.
Cheney may wallow in the praise she receives from the Trump-hating press now, but she can rest assured that they will always oppose whatever political ambitions she may have. She is useful to them at the moment, but it is not a permanent bond. It is what most Republican voters think that counts.
Cheney is a very smart lady, but she may have staked out a losing strategy. We will not know for sure until the 2022 midterm election. That is when Cheney will discover what the voters of Wyoming think of her break with the GOP House leadership.
So, there ‘tis.