When will U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney start working on behalf of her constituents instead of carrying water for her boss, President Trump? As soon as doing so serves her ambition of climbing higher up the national political power structure: in other words, no time soon.
With no real threat of electoral retribution back here in her adopted “home state” Cheney will continue to serve as the president’s goon, reaching out to smack whatever target du jour he points her at. And it’s becoming more embarrassing to be represented by a congresswoman who’s more interested in practicing vindictive, petty, divide-and-conquer politics than in legislating on behalf of Wyoming.
John Nichols, one of the most astute observers on the national political scene, writes in The Nation that Cheney’s tactics won’t work.
I’m not so sure. In Wyoming her brand of denigrating political enemies just might buy her the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Mike Enzi, who announced he won’t seek re-election in 2020 after completing his fourth term.
In the 2014 Republican Senate primary, Cheney tried to retire Enzi, whom she now praises as a “champion of our Western way of life.” But her campaign crashed and burned and she pulled out early in the race, citing family matters.
She now holds the U.S. House seat once occupied by her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney the elder was elected by Wyoming voters six times before he bowed out to run the Defense Department during the first Gulf War. Having a Cheney in Congress seems to be a birthright in the Equality State, though I can’t fathom why, since Dick was born in Nebraska and Liz in Wisconsin.
He only came back to Wyoming because the Constitution says a presidential ticket can’t have two people from the same state and George W. Bush and Cheney both lived in Texas when he was tapped as his veep. His daughter returned to Wyoming from Virginia because she knew it would be tough to win a Senate seat there.
In her latest assault on common decency and basic truthfulness Liz Cheney recently blasted the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress and used lies to do it. So much for sisterhood.
Trump got in on the act first, going after Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), a Palestinian-American congresswoman whose “crime” in the president’s eyes was praising Israel’s history as a safe haven for Jews. She noted in an interview that while she is concerned about the treatment of Palestinians, she is calmed by the fact that a haven was created “post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time.”
Ever the reliable translator, Trump tweeted that Tlaib demonstrated a “tremendous hatred of Israel and the Jewish people.”
Cheney followed her leader with this obnoxious tweet of her own: “Surely now @SpeakerPelosi & @LeaderHoyer will finally take action against vile anti-Semitism in their ranks. This must cross the line, even for them. Rashida Tlaib says thinking of the Holocaust provides her a ‘calming feeling.’”
That’s a crock, and Cheney is fully aware it is. She’s not illiterate either (though I’m less certain of her boss). Cheney and Trump are counting that their base and others rely on their twisting of Tlaib’s words and not investigate further. And many probably will, including Wyoming voters.
Cheney’s outrageous attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), meanwhile, should have been condemned by fellow Republicans, but of course they have not. If anything, she’s been given a collective “atta girl” by the House Republican Conference she leads.
Omar, who like Tlaib has called for an end to the occupation of Palestine by Israel, dared to criticize the monetary influence the American Israel Public Affairs Committee wields in Congress.
She also called for peace in the Middle East after a clash saw 20 Palestinians and four Israelis killed.
“How many more protesters must be shot, rockets must be fired, and little kids be killed until the endless cycle of violence ends?” Omar asked on Twitter. It was a moving message that criticized both sides.
But not according to Cheney. She tweeted another lie, that Omar was backing Hamas, and called her comments “vile” and “nauseating.”
“Give it up, we all know you never met a Muslim you didn’t want to vilify!” Omar shot back in a tweet of her own. “Your deep-seated hate and Islamophobia might be a tool to rally your base, but won’t get rid [of] your colleagues. You just have to deal.”
But Cheney won’t deal with it, she’ll just keep hurling insults, because politically that’s apparently all she knows. In just two terms she’s risen to the No. 3 position in the House, knocking fellow Republicans with much more experience out of the way.
The Nation’s Nichols, who wrote a biography of Dick Cheney, observed that when his subject was a staff assistant for Richard Nixon, he “appears to have learned all of the wrong lessons and none of the right ones.”
The paranoid Nixon completely abandoned his principles to try to stay in power, Nichols says, while Cheney became “a cruder and more casually dishonest political calculator than Nixon.”
But Nichols didn’t stop there — Liz Cheney makes Nixon and her father “look like amateurs when it comes to cruel and unusual politics,” he wrote. Bingo.
Many believe Liz Cheney would face stiff competition in the GOP Senate primary next year if she decides to claim a spot in the upper chamber instead of moving up to the House speakership she obviously craves.
But if she runs for Enzi’s old seat, I think she’ll have the inside track. She’ll have a ton of campaign money, the support of Trump and that blessed Cheney name in her adopted “home” state.
And even if Trump gets what’s coming to him and loses his re-election bid, the president will still do tremendously well in Wyoming. And being Trump’s loyal watergirl will continue to pay dividends to Cheney in the reddest state in the nation.
Cheney was one of only 23 Republicans who wouldn’t even support a House resolution condemning anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism and other forms of bigotry! She recognized that such a statement could be interpreted as anti-Trump.
Did she face any repercussions from the GOP in the Equality State for failing to take a principled stand that other Republicans across the nation did? No, she did not.
I rest my case.