It was barely dark on Tuesday when it became clear that Liz Cheney had not only been defeated in her Wyoming primary but that she had been obliterated. Despite garnering a large amount of Democrat crossover votes, Cheney lost by nearly 40 points to Harriet Hageman.
The excuses began immediately. According to the media and Cheney herself, the loss was wholly about her unwillingness to suggest the 2020 election was stolen, a narrative countered by Brian Kemp’s blowout primary win in Georgia. In reality, she lost because she completely ignored her constituents, choosing to obsess over January 6th and Donald Trump. But as I opined the day after the election, Cheney and her supporters learned zero lessons.
That became apparent after Hageman claimed on Sean Hannity’s show that the defeated Wyoming congresswoman left her a short voicemail that didn’t include a concession. Immediately, Cheney’s camp ran to the press to proclaim that was a lie, and the usual suspects swallowed the bait whole.
It's such a small thing but it says so much.
The lying is inveterate. It's habitual. Say anything at all — true or untrue — so long as it wins you MAGApplause.
And there will be zero price paid for having been caught in such an embarrassing lie. https://t.co/tsLMhdazNK
— Stephen Hayes (@stephenfhayes) August 18, 2022
The story here is that Hageman said she received a “two-second” voicemail from Cheney that didn’t mention a concession. In a petty fit of rage, the Cheney camp ran to give a recording to Politico purporting to be the voicemail which included a concession. That led Stephen Hayes, who was just salivating to have his priors confirmed, to launch into a rant about how Hageman is a liar who is just out seeking “MAGApplause.”
Of course, that was a completely unfair characterization of Hageman, who spent her campaign focusing on the issues people care about in Wyoming while Cheney played for the cameras in Washington. Hayes didn’t care about that context, though, instead seeking to paint her as some mindless Trump-loving zombie.
Now, go ahead and take one guess about how this saga ends.
HAGEMAN’s campaign has sent their own video to me showing that the voicemail audio only got “Howdy Harriet.” The voicemail had more time on it but that’s all the audio that got through to Hageman.
Perhaps technical / cell service issues at play over Cheney concession message pic.twitter.com/JTtICQ7eXi
— Olivia Beavers (@Olivia_Beavers) August 18, 2022
When I first saw the accusation against Hageman, I posted that this was probably a case of the voicemail being cut off, meaning that there was no reason to rush out and call her a liar. A perfectly reasonable explanation existed, and all it would have taken was a few minutes for Politico to get the full story. Besides, why would she even bother to lie about something like that? Think about it. If she were going to accuse Cheney of not calling to concede, wouldn’t it make sense to just say she never received a call at all? That should have been a dead giveaway.
Sure enough, Hageman had the voicemail saved and it was exactly what she said it was. Cheney called and said “Howdy, Harriet” with nothing but blank space and background chatter after that. That leaves two possibilities. Cheney herself set this up and gave Politico a false recording or there was a technical difficulty. Either way, Hageman wasn’t lying.
The pro-Cheney segment of the GOP, or what’s left of it, is so tiring. They refuse to accept that their queen is an unlikable hack who would rather help Democrats than address the concerns of her voters. Hayes and the like are constantly looking to blame everyone else, and it’s just pathetic. Hageman is basically a generic Republican candidate. There is nothing objectionable about her. Yet, even she isn’t acceptable because this isn’t really about being Trump. It’s about the dying gasps of the neoconservative movement.