Cheney’s Republican Party Is No More

There’s a mistaken assumption regarding job security, it seems, for establishment Republicans living in super-safe districts in, say, Wyoming. Such a Republican doesn’t fear losing her seat; after all, the opposition can’t beat her. Democrats haven’t won the seat in decades. She is well-financed, with a national fundraising base. Democrats won’t waste their time and money, so it’s not surprising such a Republican would assume she can do whatever she wants with no recriminations from her constituents. 

But the rush she must feel from that power trip can easily mislead. And it seems to have done exactly that in the case of U.S. Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who mistakenly felt empowered to push for legislation and positions that have nothing to do with the wishes of the Republicans in her district or, in fact, her country.

Now reality is about to slap her in the face.

Cheney, a throwback to the neoconservative days of the Republican Party, decided that as part of the Republican leadership in the U.S. House, she should vote to impeach one of the most popular Republican presidents of recent times. It’s difficult to understand this idiocy on a realpolitik level. Liz Cheney, sitting in one of the strongest Republican districts in the entire country, in a state where Donald Trump is very popular, thinks she could just vote willy-nilly to impeach Trump on the basis of politically motivated charges, and somehow she believes there would be no political fallout for her? 

The arrogance is amazing. But then again, when your family is to politics in Wyoming what the Kennedys are to Massachusetts, you might see how such a leap in logic could occur. Familiarity breeds contempt, the saying goes.

I mean, I get it at some level: Little Liz is gonna stick it to the Big Bad Orange Man because he rejected her daddy’s let’s-invade-every-foreign-country-we-can approach to nation-building. Fine. The streets of Washington are paved with policies—almost all of them misguided—foisted on the American public by multigenerational political dynasties. Just look at the Biden family, and their adoptive parents, the Obamas. When the “Big Guy” tells Hunter to do something, whether it’s defending the family legacy regardless of legality or ethics, or creating a new stream of ill-gotten revenue to expand the “family bidness,” he does it. That fifth beach house in Delaware isn’t going to build itself. 

In the case of the Cheney family, this vote probably has more to do with defending the family honor and grasping on to a form of corporatist Republicanism that, in many parts of the country, simply is no longer sustainable.

I have no particular insights into Liz Cheney’s thought process—nor do I care to discover them—but I suspect she understands that her wing of the Republican Party has quickly become a lot less crowded in the past few years. If she has no real future in terms of defining the party, her thinking may be, then why not go out defending that wing. After all, the Cheney family legacy is full of pointless wars that others have to clean up after. This one may be no different. 

As Breitbart reports, “Only 10 percent of GOP voters, and 13 percent of all voters, say they would vote to reelect her, and she trails by more than 30 points—54 percent to 21 percent—against state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, who has announced a campaign against her since her impeachment vote.”

While I don’t know much about Bouchard save that he has a rather impressive mustache, to further emphasize the glaring point: 90 percent of Republican voters in Wyoming are mad as hell and aren’t going to take Cheney anymore.

What surprises me a bit is that Cheney—given her own family history—was so quick to vote against her president. Here is an impeachment case, just like the last one, built on lies concocted by Democrats and the so-called “Resistance Media.” It is not unlike a certain well-funded and spirited blacklisting campaign that a certain vice president of the United States—and by extension his family—endured for almost the entire run of his eight years in office between 2001 and 2009.

If anyone should understand what President Trump was experiencing—and what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her friends in the media were foisting on the American people—it is Liz Cheney. A political witch hunt, after all, can come in many forms, but in the end, it’s still a political witch hunt. 

But as someone who has spent more of her life living in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., than in the wilds of Wyoming, it’s also understandable that Cheney wrongly believed her constituency to be in the corporate military high-rises of Tysons Corner, rather than among the good people of Ten Sleep, Wyoming. 

Republicans as a whole—and I would argue, the American people, too—are no longer interested in the drawn-out foreign wars and nation-building Cheney’s political patrimony would foist upon us. We are more interested in rebuilding our nation and our economy; we are more interested in restoring our republic and our society, thank you very much. 

Now, perhaps fittingly, Liz Cheney finds herself in the political version of the rubble that her father helped create in Mosul, Iraq, circa 2005. Back then, the saying in Washington was “If you break it, you buy it,” and the American taxpayers—and Republicans—had been “paying” for it literally and figuratively until Donald Trump came along and said, “No more.” Which is pretty much what the citizens of Wyoming are saying right now about Liz. 

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About Ned Ryun

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority. You can find him on Twitter @nedryun.

Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

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