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Democracy Doesn't Need Defenders Like Liz Cheney
Cheney Is The Problem, Not The Solution
The roots of Liz Cheney’s loss in the Republican primary were sown by the same Republican Party she is seeking to preserve.
Her father became Vice President in 2001 in part thanks to outright thuggery, as the so-called “Brooks Brothers riot” of conservative activists (including Roger Stone!) sought to shut down voting as part of the successful effort to block Al Gore and Joe Lieberman from attaining the presidency and vice presidency. The outcome of that attack on democracy was eight long years of corruption, war, torture, mismanagement, racism, bigotry, and financial disaster.
So much for the good old Republican Party, the Liz Cheney party.
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In the wake of her ouster by election denying Trump supporters, Cheney will be lionized as she repeatedly has been for the last two years. This will largely come from mainstream reporters and far too many Democrats and liberals who think Aaron Sorkin storylines are real life. The narrative is just too juicy for some: Here is the Republican apostate, in her own house calling out the current lord and master of the party for his anti-democracy rhetoric and incitement of violence on days like January 6.
But like her fellow purportedly anti-Trump ilk on the right, this is a movement without much “there” there. When you take away the admittedly clumsy and brutish rhetoric of Trump, what remains is the same substance supported by the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney wing of the party, the same substance which the party has allied itself with for years. And it isn’t democracy. It’s Republican rule over the will of the majority, just done with an inside voice instead of Trump’s shrill tweets (or whatever backwater social network he’s on at the minute).
From 2017 to 2020, Cheney marched in virtual lockstep with Trump in Congress. She voted on his side of the key issues of the day 92.9% of the time.
That includes votes in which Cheney and her fellow Republicans continued the right-wing attack on voting rights in this country. She voted with Trump against restoring parts of the Voting Rights Act, and with him in opposing updating ethics rules including the disclosure of presidential candidate tax returns.
Even when Trump was out of the presidency, Cheney voted with him, voting against the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act last August. Her fellow so-called democracy defender, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), also voted against that bill too. The Democrats, representing the true pro-democracy movement in the federal government, voted in the majority for its passage.
That’s not even getting into Cheney’s love of invading foreign nations, banning abortion, attacking transgender rights, or cutting taxes for the super wealthy while denying health care to middle class Americans. Not even.
It’s nice Cheney criticizes Trump’s thuggery. Her condemnation of his actions while serving on the January 6 committee have been good to hear.
But to quote Chris Rock, “What do you want? A Cookie?” You shouldn’t get an inordinate amount of credit for doing what you’re supposed to do in the first place.
The bare minimum requirement of our elected officials is that they support the concept of democracy. We shouldn’t be holding parades in the street and administering embarrassing tongue baths for someone doing the minimum, and frankly below that because when it comes to the substance of defending the integrity of the ballot, Cheney is against it.
Her future is fine. She’s the wealthy offspring of one of America’s most prominent political families who now has national political exposure. But stop holding her up as a hero. She isn’t one.
Apparently she’s going to transition from the House and into a role leading a PAC, probably as a launchpad towards some doomed presidential campaign. There is no appetite within the Republican Party for Cheney and the idea that she is going to lead an exodus of “rule of law” Republicans/conservatives is a liberal fantasy out of an episode of the West Wing. These things do not exist.
Republicans like the political thuggery of Trump, and they’ve liked it for decades when the quieter voices of John McCain, Mitt Romney, George W. Bush and her own father, Dick Cheney, communicated the exact same ideas and themes.
The party hasn’t truly changed and Liz Cheney really hasn’t either. Don’t buy the latest con job and definitely don’t send more of your money to be wasted, propping up the a “kinder, gentler” attack on democracy.
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