Rep. Liz Cheney is no longer in House leadership. That followed a voice vote this week after she continued to stick her finger in the eye of her colleagues, many of whom had previously supported her just a few months ago after her impeachment vote, by continuing to obsess over Donald Trump and January 6th instead of focusing on Joe Biden’s horrific leadership.
Now, as if to confirm the priors of most Republicans, Cheney ran to Savannah Guthrie of NBC News, an absolute hack of a journalist, to trash her own party further. When asked if she would run for president, Cheney once again insinuated that she’s considering it.
As I’ll explain, I think the grift is becoming pretty obvious at this point.
Cheney on possible White House bid: I won't let anyone unravel the democracy https://t.co/AU4t1RwIhi
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) May 13, 2021
There are several things to note here.
For starters, I realize some on the right who laud Cheney reflexively insist that she’s just a truth-telling bastion of principle. Let’s put aside the fact that she has a very checkered history when it comes to foreign policy and how she’s treated people in her own caucus (including trying to primary non-controversial Republicans out of personal spite). Even just taking recent events, her colleagues supported her after her impeachment vote of Donald Trump at the beginning of the year. In fact, they overwhelmingly supported her. Given that, the idea that this is just about “truth-telling” and Trump completely eschews the facts of the situation.
What was asked of Cheney is that she say her peace and then focus on Joe Biden and the destruction being wrought on the country by what is happening now. Despite that, in the worst week of 2021 by far, Cheney was still obsessing about January 6th, once again reasserting herself before the vote to oust her and after.
Cheney is in trouble, and she knows it. Thus, she’s left grifting off anti-Republican partisans who are rushing to her aide when they would have called her a war criminal two years ago. Cheney isn’t dumb. She knows she’s got no shot as a presidential candidate, much less in a Republican primary. Heck, she’s probably not even going to win re-election in Wyoming unless she shuts up and takes the spotlight off herself, something she seems loathe to do.
What Cheney does know is that by becoming a martyr, there’s money and air time to be gained. Why else run to NBC News, a network that quite literally exists at this point to destroy the Republican Party? Why use The Washington Post to leak damaging information about her own caucus? Cheney knows what she’s doing, and she’s trying to set herself up for prominence once the electorate gets its say about her actions.
In other words, Cheney has shifted on a dime from a conservative, party leader to mimicking Adam Kinzinger, and I think that’s clearly a function of her circumstance. Martyrdom brings back-slaps from the Washington cock-tail crowd and even perhaps a way for her to keep her Congressional seat if she can position herself as Lisa Murkowski did after she lost her primary.
Cheney is free to lean into that, but onlookers are also free to point out exactly what it is. If this were about principle, she wouldn’t be talking about running against Donald Trump knowing that would only help him and cause Republicans to rally to him more. She wouldn’t be going to garbage, left-wing outlets to get her viewpoint across either. No, she knows what she’s doing, and it’s not about conservatism, winning, or even defeating Trump. It’s about ensuring she continues to climb the ladder insofar as raising her profile and remaining on the national stage. It’s that simple.