Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Please Don't Make Me Defend Liz Cheney

 (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
Republican violin maestros and those in the mainstream media (often the same thing) are playing dirges for Liz Cheney, the #3 House Republican. The right wing zeitgeist has long since weighed in- She will lose her conference committee chair as of tomorrow. Of course, that will be just Phase One. Phase Two, of course, is to primary her out of Congress when she's up for re-election next year. Phase Three, it's rumored, will be to banish her, naked and shivering, on an ice floe and vigorously push it into the watery wilderness as she confusedly hums the national anthem.
    I wouldn't be so quick to write off the Wyoming congresswoman just yet, considering we're also hearing reports that establishment Republicans are furious with McCarthy for his lickspittle subservience to Trump in his unflagging devotion to kicking Liz Cheney our of her leadership position. This is especially self-destructive when you look at Cheney's voting record and realize she'd voted for Trump's agenda 92.9% of the time. Elise Stefanik, her heir apparent, voted with Trump just 77.7% of the time, according to 538.
    To anyone on the outside looking in, this political cannibalism is inexplicable. Starting in the mid 70s when her father was Ford's Chief of Staff, then served for a decade in Congress starting in 1979, then as Bush 1's Defense Secretary, Dick Cheney founded quite possibly the most evil American political dynasty in US history, perhaps even pushing the Bushes off that mantle. To even a moderate Republican (assuming there are any left after the last 4-5 years), there's very little to admire in Liz Cheney.
   She, like Trump, was a birther conspiracy theorist during the Obama years and even likened opposing his Republican-lite agenda not to "obstructionism but patriotism". At the start of her Senate bid to unseat Mike Enzi, she came out against same sex marriage in 2013, just a year after her sister, Mary, married her partner, Heather Poe. And in 2009, Cheney had delivered the keynote address for the ultra right wing Center for Security Policy's annual hate-fest. The Center had been designated as a hate group by the SPLC. Minutes after getting sworn in to Congress in 2019, despite the Democrats winning a commanding 40 seat majority, Cheney saw fit to vote for Kevin McCarthy, the same ventriloquist dummy who would spearhead the move to unseat her, for House Speaker.
    Bottom line, like her father, Lord Halliburton, the architect of the Iraq War that had claimed up to 1,000,000+ Iraqi lives not to mention 4500 deaths of US troops, it can be safely assumed that when their time comes, even Satan might not wish to take them when St. Peter rejects Dick and Liz. But January 6, to even Cheney, was a bridge too far and that bridge spanned the Rubicon.
    However loathsome Liz Cheney has proved to be in her brief political career, she has served one purpose better than any other- In showing, by conspicuous relief, just how misogynistic, spineless, treasonous and just plain batshit insane the latter-day Republican Party had been mutated into by Trump. Liz Cheney, the very poster girl for the latter-day, gender-inclusive GOP, had suddenly become the party's Cassandra.

The Right Wing Phoenix
.oO Oh, will you just shut the fuck up, woman? Oo.
Of course, telling Liz Cheney to shut up and let the men explain shit was never her métier. Say what you want about her, but Liz Cheney did not run for Congress so she could have men explain things to her and let them dictate to her what she could do or say. And striking down Liz Cheney will absolutely anger a lot of establishment Republicans and possibly make her a martyr. After all, look what happened with Elizabeth Warren after Mitch McConnell's pissing match with her.
    It would be tempting to list as a reason for the GOP's apostasy toward Cheney as being rooted in mere misogyny, although misogyny is definitely part of the calculus. After all, Cheney didn't say anything substantially different than McCarthy, McConnell or several other Republicans had in the first weeks after the January insurrection: But then Trump barked. They heeled to. Cheney didn't.
    Trump riled up what can only be described as an angry mob and directed that angry mob to the Capitol to not just overturn the Electoral College results but to overthrow the government by force, if necessary. Cheney's "mistake" was in continuing the narrative and never wavering. She voted to impeach Trump. And, to make matters worse for her, she'd even spearheaded the letter cosigned by her father and the nine other living former defense secretaries, forcefully denouncing any attempt by Trump to use the DoD to overturn the election results.
    Then there was the WaPo op-ed and the recent revelation from Cheney that, prior to the election, the NRCC had hid horrible polling data from the Republican caucus, polling data that showed Trump's unfavorability rating to be 15 points higher than the favorable. So, Cheney has exposed her own party's mendacity, furtiveness and spinelessness all with a few deft strokes. Their answer, obviously, is to purge her.
     So, I have come neither to bury or praise Liz Cheney but to show what an invaluable object lesson she's providing through her own persecution. The GOP is poised to replace her with a nonentity like Stefanik, whose only claim to fame is voting with Trump 15.2% less frequently than Cheney and in demonstrating how long she can stay on her leathery knees before Trump's throne at Mar a Lago. Because, to Trump, it doesn't matter how often she voted for or against his legislative agenda. It's about personal loyalty, always a one way street to Trump. And whatever Trump wants, Trump gets. They're not carjacking hostages They're co-conspirators in this crazy, cross country Big Lie road trip, even taking the wheel from Donnie Dumbo during his social media excommunication. It goes way beyond even Stockholm Syndrome, which depends on some actual kindness from the hostage taker.
     Besides, it's impossible to imagine Dark Lord Halliburton having no favors in DC to cash in and him not getting on the phone and burning up those favors for Liz right now.


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