The Delusional Cope Behind Liz Cheney's Coming Humiliation

Jim Bourg/Pool via AP

I bring you some big news on this fine Sunday morning. Rep. Liz Cheney, following another dud of a January 6th committee hearing, has gone on CNN to announce that Donald Trump is, and you may want to sit down for this, unfit for office.

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How original, right? I mean, it’s not like Cheney has gone on Jake Tapper’s show and made that exact proclamation more times than my dog has licked himself over the last two years.

Clearly, the walls are closing in. After all, Cheney and her committee recently revealed the game-changing bombshell that Sen. Josh Hawley raised his fist at protesters and later jogged down a Capitol Building hallway, likely after being told to do so by USCP officers. If that’s not evidence of a Donald Trump-led insurrection, then what is?

But I digress, I’m not writing this article to point out the absurdity of the January 6th committee, though I certainly will again at some point in the future. What I find more interesting is the delusion that is undergirding Cheney’s coming humiliation as she heads towards electoral defeat in a few weeks.

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But as primary day approaches, there is also a pervasive belief among Cheney’s team that her unorthodox strategy in 2022 may put her in a stronger position for the 2024 presidential contest. Cheney’s fierce anti-Trump message as vice chairman of the congressional committee investigating the insurrection has strengthened her national brand while expanding a national network of donors and Trump critics in both parties who could boost a prospective White House run.

I’m not saying Liz Cheney 2024 is the most beltway suggestion I’ve ever seen, but it’s pretty darn close. We are talking about a woman who is about to lose her congressional primary by a wide margin, who was removed from GOP leadership in the House, and who is incapable of saying anything but the words “Donald Trump” over and over.

But forget about January 6th for a moment. Even if Cheney were completely disconnected from the topic, what exactly would make her a viable presidential candidate? Her rabid support for boondoggle foreign military interventions? Her liberal record on spending? Her vote for gun control? Her dogged respect for government bureaucracy? Apparently, that’s what voters will be wanting in two years amidst an environment of economic hardship, international tension, and internal corruption, at least according to the smart set.

The entire thing is delusional, and it’s purely a coping mechanism for the fact that Cheney has burned her career to the ground by locking arms with Nancy Pelosi to chase a ghost. “Oh, sure she lost her congressional primary, but that’s only put her in a better position to run for president” is not a thing anyone actually believes. It’s a thing paid advisors and consultants say to keep the gravy train rolling just a little bit longer.

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Cheney’s demise isn’t just about her disdain for Trump either. It was how she went about trying to validate that disdain. The grand conspiracy she’s been pushing since the day after the Capitol breach has simply not materialized, leaving her to rely on bland grand-standing along with a media willing to constantly move the goalposts.

That’s all well and good if the goal is to get backslaps from Jake Tapper and Joy Reid, but it’s not a pathway to becoming a presidential contender. The idea that Republican primary voters in 2024 will galvanize around Cheney for “saving democracy” or some such is so farcical as to be dismissed out of hand.

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