We’re seeing more and more stories that Liz Cheney is about to be tossed under the bus, that the Republican “leadership” is so in thrall to Trump and his base, so dedicated to the service of Trump’s ego and his lies, that they are preparing to cast Cheney into the outer darkness where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Biblical metaphors deliberately used.)
And Jennifer Rubin sees a split between Cheney and the GOP as inevitable: When will Liz Cheney and the GOP break up?
The party could well boot her out, given that its members have shown themselves to be spineless, self-deluded sycophants. Moreover, it is very likely that Cheney will face a primary challenge. It will be interesting to watch the GOP denounce a member of its own “royalty” — a daughter of a former vice president, ardent critic of President Barack Obama, and defender of carbon-based energy, a strong military, tax cuts and deregulation.
Rubin’s interest is in what Cheney might do next, including a third-party run for president. But what really caught my attention this morning is another WaPo columnist, Aaron Blake, who noticed this:
[T]here was one telling omission from the case against Cheney that McCarthy enunciated — and indeed from much of the GOP criticism of her: She’s wrong. . . .
[J]ust as they walked a fine line on vouching for Trump’s claims, they’re now walking a fine line on Cheney — suggesting she should be pushed out, often without disputing what she says. . . .
And most telling:
The problem is that Cheney is saying things that force the GOP to relive its role in letting Trump say things that were untrue and allowing the “big lie” to take hold.It’s certainly an argument. But it’s also one that reinforces that Republicans have no real desire to account for what happened before, during and after the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by Trump supporters. It’s undoubtedly true that Cheney is rocking the boat in a way that is probably unhelpful for the party in the 2022 midterm elections, given how close they are to a House majority.But the whole emerging episode only reinforces just how much the goal is power, rather than accountability, democracy and self-reflection. If Cheney is wrong that Trump’s claims amounted to a “big lie,” maybe her critics should say that. They’re not. They’re just saying that it’s counterproductive for them politically. [emphasis added]
We know this, of course. What’s significant to me about Blake’s observation is that it is yet more evidence that the Republican leadership absolutely knows they are lying about the election. They are mad at Cheney not just because it plays to Trump’s base, but because she is exposing them as knowing, complicit liars.
They are not disputing her facts because they know they can’t. If they try, she will expose their complicity even further. Their only strategy is to get rid of her. But if Rubin is right, that won’t shut her up. If anything, it will give her more freedom to speak out.
The GOP has long had a problem with women who refuse to conform to the (often Biblical) stereotype. Liz Cheney is the latest in that long line. (And I still can’t believe I’m defending her!)
PS: I’m reading Heather Cox Richardson’s How the South Won the Civil War. It’s a great read not just for what happened back then (she is an excellent historian), but also for the disturbing parallels between the 1850s (and, paradoxically, the 1870s) and today. “History may not repeat itself, but it rhymes.” Read it.