The vote to officially remove Liz Cheney from Republican leadership has been scheduled for this Wednesday following weeks of unrest within the party. Reading the tea leaves, it doesn’t appear there’s much of a chance the Wyoming representative survives this time around. Many of the House members who voted in her favor months ago have switched sides, fed up with Cheney’s stubborn refusal to stop handing fodder to the left.
Now, in a surprising development, Sen. Susan Collins has taken a baseball bat to Liz Cheney’s knees, rhetorically speaking at least.
Susan Collins says she’s not concerned about the impact of Cheney’s ouster on moderate voters because “if Elise Stefanik wins, she has a more moderate voting record. So I don’t think that’s the issue.”
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) May 10, 2021
You’d expect someone like Collins to come to Cheney’s aid. That she’s not doing so speaks volumes. There is simply no real coalition out there for Cheney’s brand of neoconservative globalism, not even among Republicans who value decorum the most.
Of note is that Collins condemned January 6th and is not a supporter of Trump. She’s made that publicly clear. Yet, she’s not being targeted. Why is that? The answer is simple. Cheney’s ouster has nothing to do with any supposed lack of fealty to Trump, though, her dwindling number of supporters are claiming that as a defense. Rather, Cheney is on the outs because she values getting back-slaps from Chuck Todd more than she values winning in 2022.
Elise Stefanik, who is favored to replace Cheney, is not a conservative, but she understands the stakes of the current political battle before us. Her job will be to fundraise and win elections, not will legislative battles that can’t be won right now anyway. Cheney had the chance to be that person and refused.
Of course, you’ve still got people like Mitt Romney who want to feign ignorance, claiming that Cheney’s removal will be some major blow for the party in regards to voters. There’s no evidence of that and plenty to the contrary.
Regardless, if Cheney were to have any chance of remaining where she’s at, she’d need people like Collins to speak forcefully in her favor. They aren’t, and that’s probably the political death knell. As others have speculated, though, I don’t think Cheney really wants to remain in leadership. She wants to be a martyr, and she’ll get her wish.