Liz Cheney's Future Just Got Bleaker, and She Has No One to Blame but Herself

Liz Cheney's Future Just Got Bleaker, and She Has No One to Blame but Herself
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

A fair warning. This article may trigger some in the right-wing commentariat who always reflexively defend Rep. Liz Cheney and would rather deflect to discussions about Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. We won’t be doing that here. Rather, I’m going to focus on the far more relevant question of who should serve in GOP leadership, not what some backbencher shared on Facebook last year.

Today, House Republicans are meeting to discuss whether to proceed with a vote to remove Cheney. This comes after she voted to impeach Donald Trump. Democrats have made hay out of her vote, including quoting her twice in the impeachment brief.

That has angered many Republicans who see Cheney as once again looking out for herself and playing right into the hands of the opposition. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who has led the revolt against the Wyoming Representative, hinted this morning that the votes to remove Cheney already exist, though I’m sure some curveballs will be thrown once everyone is in the room today. I simply can’t see Rep. Kevin McCarthy not trying to fight this.

Regardless, any focus on how the politics will play out here is missing the point. The real question has always been whether Cheney deserved to be in leadership in the first place. To answer that question, you have to ask whether her views represent a majority of the Republican caucus she’s supposed to be leading, and further, the views of the voters who put all these people there. Issues like trade and immigration are important, but foreign policy has always been the biggest issue for Cheney, something Sen. Lindsey Graham can’t seem to grasp.

If he were trying to make a case for her removal, what would Graham be doing differently? This “take the fight to them” rhetoric went out of style in the GOP about a decade ago, perhaps longer depending on who you ask. We are now in the 20th year of waging war in Afghanistan. The days of radical Islam and forever war to fight it being the center piece of Republican foreign policy are simply over. Trump was the death knell for that era, but the last gasps were happening many years prior.

For an example of why Cheney is so despised, even within her own caucus, let’s go back to late last year. Cheney attacked Sen. Rand Paul for holding up a pork filled, completely unjustified defense reauthorization (see Liz Cheney Trashes Rand Paul, but Her Argument Is Garbage). Instead of making an affirmative argument for continuing to fund the wars in the Middle East, Cheney instead went with this arrogant, childish response.

Take that as Exhibit A for why Cheney has made so many enemies within her own caucus. A lot of more establishment style commentators on the right want to blame this all on impeachment. A closer look reveals this was brewing long before she decided to throw in with Democrats last month. Cheney shouldn’t be in leadership, not because she crossed Trump, but because she simply does not represent the majority views of the party anymore. It’s not 2007 anymore, and she’s a politician firmly stuck in that timeframe. Republican voters are highly skeptical of any politician that continues to push for more and more conflict overseas while providing no real justification for it. They have no interest in the status quo any longer.

Of course, there are other issues, such as Cheney attempting to primary Thomas Massie because he wasn’t hawkish enough for her. That’s a big no-no for someone in leadership. You are not supposed to fight against the re-election of your own members.

In short, Cheney has absolutely no one to blame but herself for the predicament she finds herself in. Everyone rushing to defend her should stop deflecting and judge her tenure on its own merits. If they do that, they’ll probably come to the same conclusion I came a while ago, i.e. that she has no business being in the one of the top leadership positions in the House.

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