ChrisWeigant.com

Liz Cheney Goes Down Swinging Hard

[ Posted Wednesday, May 12th, 2021 – 15:26 UTC ]

In more ways than one, Liz Cheney is her father's daughter. Coming from a liberal, however, that's not exactly a compliment. Both Cheneys are unapologetic warmongers, and both are extremely cunning denizens of Washington. Both stand for principles I personally abhor, and I doubt there's a single political issue or stance on which I would ever agree with either one of them. Having said all of that, though, Cheney is to be praised for going down swinging. She refuses to back down, she refuses to stay quiet, and she will tell anyone who will listen that what Donald Trump and his spineless enablers are doing is nothing short of an attack on both American democracy itself and the United States Constitution.

That is to be praised, at least these days. In times past, Cheney wouldn't even have to make such a stand, because in times past America had never seen a president attack democracy and an election he lost, and then actually egg on an insurrection against Congress finalizing the Electoral College vote. None of that would have even been conceivable before Trump, so there would have been no reason to oppose such a farfetched and unimaginable thing.

These days, however, Cheney is one of the precious few Republicans left who are strong enough to stand up and say: "I will not believe a lie -- the election was not stolen." And in the spirit of reinforcing positive behavior (even in your political opponents), I have to applaud her for doing so.

Of course, doing so just got her unceremoniously cancelled by her own party. That's the GOP's problem (and eternal shame). Cheney, however, seems to be making a rather large political bet (her entire career from this point on, really) that the Trump takeover of the Republican Party is either going to end very badly (self-destruction in one form or another), end suddenly (Trump is no spring chicken), or eventually fade away (as more Republicans realize that Trump is actually the one obsessed with relitigating the past while completely ignoring the future of the party, and that he has become less and less popular over time). Cheney is positioning herself to be the "I told you so" Republican if/when any of that happens. She will then be able to honestly say: "I warned you all about this, a long time ago," and she will be right.

Machiavellian? To be sure. But well within the wheelhouse of a Cheney. She will have some hurdles to get over, the first being winning re-election to her House seat back in Wyoming. She is betting that voters will be personally loyal to her rather than loyal to the Trump juggernaut, but there's no guarantee she'll even still be in office after the 2022 midterm.

But rather than game out her next steps in a party that so obviously loathes both her and what she has to say, let's instead focus on what she has had to say, because it is such an important historical marker for the Republican Party. That she even had to say stuff like this is historical, so I wanted to present her words in full today.

I'm going to do this in reverse order. The following were remarks she made today to reporters after leaving the Republican meeting that kicked her out of her leadership post (transcript from Cheney's House website):

[Representative Liz Cheney:] I have had the conference meeting. I am absolutely committed, as I said last night, and as I said just now to my colleagues, that we must go forward based on truth. We cannot both embrace the Big Lie and embrace the Constitution. And going forward, the nation needs it. The nation needs a strong Republican Party. The nation needs a party that is based upon fundamental principles of conservatism. I am committed and dedicated to ensuring that that's how this party goes forward. And I plan to lead the fight to do that.

[Q:] How concerned are you that former President Trump might end up back in the Oval Office?

[Cheney:] I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office. We have seen the danger that he continues to provoke with his language. We have seen his lack of commitment and dedication to the Constitution. And I think it is very important that we make sure whomever we elect is somebody who will be faithful to the Constitution.

[Q:] Congresswoman, do you feel betrayed by today's vote?

[Cheney:] I do not. I think that it is an indication of where the Republican Party is. I think that the party is in a place that we have got to bring it back from, and we've got to get back to a position where we are a party that can fight for conservative principles, that can fight for substance. We cannot be dragged backward by the very dangerous lies of a former president. Thank you.

What is truly admirable is how Cheney refuses to mince words. She refuses to take the easy way out that many Republicans have, by using weasel words to try to have things both ways ("Joe Biden is the president, but there were a lot of concerns about the 2020 election that need to be addressed," for instance). Cheney calls Trump out, and warns other Republicans of the dangers he still represents, for their party, for the country, and for our form of government.

Yesterday, Cheney gave a speech on the House floor which was a more eloquent version of the same sentiments. There are typical conservative talking points sprinkled throughout the speech (references to the Cold War and God and communism and St. Ronald of Reagan), but the meat of it is the same -- a stark warning of the dangers to the Constitution itself from what Trump is doing and the Republican Party is actively abetting. It is an important speech, so I present it without any further commentary (again, transcript from Cheney's House website):

Madam Speaker, I rise tonight to discuss freedom and our constitutional duty to protect it.

I have been privileged to see first-hand how powerful and how fragile freedom is. 28 years ago, I stood outside a polling place, a schoolhouse in western Kenya. Soldiers had chased away people lined up to vote. A few hours later, the people began streaming back in, risking further attack, undaunted in their determination to exercise their right to vote.

In 1992, I sat across a table from a young mayor in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia and listened to him talk of his dream of liberating his nation from communism. Years later, for his dedication to the cause of freedom, Boris Nemtsov would be assassinated by Vladimir Putin's thugs.

In Warsaw, in 1990, I listened to a young Polish woman tell me that her greatest fear was that people would forget what it was like to live under communist domination, that they would forget the price of freedom.

Three men -- an immigrant who escaped Castro's totalitarian regime; a young man who grew up behind the Iron Curtain and became his country's minister of defense; and a dissident who spent years in the Soviet gulag have all told me it was the miracle of America captured in the words of President Ronald Reagan that inspired them to seek freedom.

I have seen the power of faith and freedom. I listened to Pope John Paul II speak to thousands in Nairobi in 1985, and 19 years later I watched that same pope take my father's hand, look in his eyes, and say: "God Bless America."

God has blessed America, but our freedom only survives if we protect it, if we honor our oath, taken before God in this chamber, to support and defend the Constitution, if we recognize threats to freedom when they arise.

Today we face a threat America has never seen before. A former president, who provoked a violent attack on this Capitol in an effort to steal the election, has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him. He risks inciting further violence.

Millions of Americans have been misled by the former president. They have heard only his words, but not the truth, as he continues to undermine our democratic process, sowing seeds of doubt about whether democracy really works at all.

I am a conservative Republican and the most conservative of conservative principles is reverence for the rule of law. The Electoral College has voted. More than sixty state and federal courts, including multiple judges he appointed, have rejected the former president's claims. The Department of Justice in his administration investigated the former president's claims of widespread fraud and found no evidence to support them. The election is over. That is the rule of law. That is our constitutional process.

Those who refuse to accept the rulings of our courts are at war with the Constitution.

Our duty is clear. Every one of us who has sworn the oath must act to prevent the unraveling of our democracy. This is not about policy. This is not about partisanship. This is about our duty as Americans. Remaining silent, and ignoring the lie, emboldens the liar.

I will not participate in that. I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president's crusade to undermine our democracy.

As the party of Reagan, Republicans championed democracy, won the Cold War, and defeated the Soviet Communists. As we speak, America is on the cusp of another Cold War – this time with communist China. Attacks against our democratic process and the rule of law empower our adversaries and feed Communist propaganda that American democracy is a failure. We must speak the truth. Our election was not stolen, and America has not failed.

I received a message last week from a Gold Star father who said: "Standing up for the truth honors all who gave all." We must all strive to be worthy of the sacrifice of those who have died for our freedom. They are the patriots Katherine Lee Bates described in the words of America the Beautiful: "Oh beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife, who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life."

Ultimately, this is at the heart of what our oath requires -- that we love our country more. That we love her so much we will stand above politics to defend her. That we will do everything in our power to protect our constitution and our freedom -- paid for by the blood of so many.

We must love her so much we will never yield in her defense.

That is our duty.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

18 Comments on “Liz Cheney Goes Down Swinging Hard”

  1. [1] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    Like you I recognize Cheney's distance from my own politics - and her speeches conveniently put the blame for the Republican Party's sedition and lies on one man. She righteously and conveniently ignores the long-term movement away from truth, the law, and republican (small r) principles that she and her father both helped further over the past few decades.

    But that said, I have to say that is a hell of a speech, a classic of American political rhetoric. Thanks for printing it in full, for I otherwise would never have read it all. Cheney may come back to haunt us all, but in this moment she has stood up for America when all of her colleagues have taken their stand against America.

  2. [2] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    'In more ways than one, Liz Cheney is her father's daughter. Coming from a liberal, however, that's not exactly a compliment. Both Cheneys are unapologetic warmongers, and both are extremely cunning denizens of Washington. Both stand for principles I personally abhor, and I doubt there's a single political issue or stance on which I would ever agree with either one of them. Having said all of that, though, Cheney is to be praised for going down swinging. She refuses to back down, she refuses to stay quiet, and she will tell anyone who will listen that what Donald Trump and his spineless enablers are doing is nothing short of an attack on both American democracy itself and the United States Constitution.'

    oh, CW, that's the only thing that matters...Come on.

    Even a rudderless ship can be righted.

    LL&P

    Surely her comittment to the GQP stands for something?

  3. [3] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    If I'm understanding it correctly, CW's statement that "Both (Cheneys) stand for principles I personally abhor" translates to a preference on Chris' part for collectivist and socialist (more redistributive) economic systems as opposed to capitalistic and conservative (no or less redistributive) economic systems.

    Those are simply differences of political ideology for which there is no 'right or wrong' in the moral sense, meaning people of good will can agree to disagree without becoming enemies.

    But those philosophical differences are not at the crux of the Trump problem. The real Trump problem is that at heart, Trump is a world-class asshole of a human being, a fact which the Liz Cheney's (and the CRS's) of the world can isolate from the fact there may even be some political positions where she and I may agree with the asshole, but would never say those things justify permitting him to occupy any position of party leadership.

    If that gets us booted out of the Rep party, I guess we'll just have to live with it. I've always said we need a libertarian party in this country.

  4. [4] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    CRS on [3]

    Good point about how differences of macro-economic ideology are natural to a two-party system and need not lead to actual hatred or purges.

    But I'd say the Trump problem has nothing to do with his deficiencies as a human being, as gross as those are. The problem is that his loathsome nature reinforces his Party's existing tendency to subvert America's democracy in favor of an authoritarian dictatorship that caters to just a few subgroups of society, enforced with a cult-like disregard for truth or liberty.

    I remember when the Republican Party actually did stand for American liberty, at the conservative end of the economic spectrum. That's where Cheney still stands, more or less alone at this point.

  5. [5] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    american tribalism is not limited to trump. there's quite a bit of this on the left as well - especially as regards israeli/palestinian policy.

  6. [6] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    John from Ct

    Liz NOT alone - she's got ME!!!

  7. [7] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Nypoet-
    There is tribalism on the left. There is also even more tribalism from the Deathocrats that are not at all left (except when they are campaigning).

  8. [8] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Stucki,

    "Both (Cheneys) stand for principles I personally abhor" translates to a preference on Chris' part for collectivist and socialist (more redistributive) economic systems

    Since we're putting words in CW's mouth, I think he meant principles like lying, starting destructive, unnecessary wars, and having the freedom to shoot somebody in the face w/o consequences and have him apologize to you.

  9. [9] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    John M (4)-
    Superficial differences in macro-economic ideologies may be natural to a two-party system- but a two-party system is not natural.

    It is not natural to choose the abuser that punches, kicks and cuts you but occasionally gives you candy or flowers over another abuser that hits you with a baseball bat.

    Unless you enjoy being abused the natural response would be to reject both abusers and seek company that will not abuse you.

  10. [10] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    I can't get wound up about Liz getting canceled. The bar is set pretty low when recognizing that a blood-thirsty death cult mob came to kill you makes you a truth-teller. Good for her that she's not a member of the orange cult. She's still a member of the big lie cult.

    Our political system is not non-binary. Opposing the orange cult leaves one option. If she can't bring herself to go there, then she might as well just go away and STFU.

  11. [11] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    All this cancelling is entertaining. Ellen DeGeneres is "stepping down" as a talk show host, but I don't think we should feel sorry for her. She made lots of money while she micro-aggressively harassed her employees. Now she'll have more time to spend with her family (and King George W).

  12. [12] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    CRS-
    Don't worry about CW being a socialist.

    It's not about redistributive socialist economic systems or no or less redistributive capitalist economic systems.

    It's about government fulfilling it's purpose to make sure that those that have power do not use it to tale advantage of those that do not have power and making sure that the fruits of any economic system are distributed in the first place in a manner that makes sure those in power do not use their power to keep those fruits from those without power that fulfilled their part in creating the fruits.

    The government we have now, whether controlled by the Deathocrats or Republikillers, does not fulfill it's obligation and more often than not does just the opposite of what it should be doing.

    The Deathocrats and their PR spokesmen like CW are firmly in the capitalist camp and just pretend to advocate for socialist positions to create a superficial difference to create an illusion of choice to keep any real alternatives from gaining any traction or support.

  13. [13] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Something needs to be done about these shortages now. Gasoline, cars, houses, and Chick-fil-A hate sauce are all hard to find in Joe Biden's America. I want another check.

  14. [14] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    CRS for [6]

    Yes, of course. I'm glad you spoke up! There are, I think, many millions of honest anti-Trump conservatives - outnumbered, I fear, by tens of millions of dishonest or deluded or unthinking pro-Trump former conservatives.

    I meant she is alone in the top ranks of the office-holding Republican Party.

  15. [15] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    3

    Guess I better take my temperature; it's what I do when I agree or mostly agree with you... make sure I'm not ill.

    If I'm understanding it correctly, CW's statement that "Both (Cheneys) stand for principles I personally abhor" translates to a preference on Chris' part for collectivist and socialist (more redistributive) economic systems as opposed to capitalistic and conservative (no or less redistributive) economic systems.

    Oh, I don't know, he used the term "abhor" so maybe he just means their "principles" regarding war and weed. Not everything is about the economy, Stucki.

    Those are simply differences of political ideology for which there is no 'right or wrong' in the moral sense, meaning people of good will can agree to disagree without becoming enemies.

    So you're saying you're unfamiliar with the teachings of Jesus, as well as multiple other religions, for that matter? Because there is definitely a "right or wrong" in the moral sense according to religion. And just for the record, this is not me preaching at you; this is me delivering the cold, hard facts as set forth in certain written and documented history.

    But those philosophical differences are not at the crux of the Trump problem. The real Trump problem is that at heart, Trump is a world-class asshole of a human being, a fact which the Liz Cheney's (and the CRS's) of the world can isolate from the fact there may even be some political positions where she and I may agree with the asshole, but would never say those things justify permitting him to occupy any position of party leadership.

    I agree he's unfit, but you cannot agree politically with an opportunist who has no political positions beyond "whatever is best for Donald Trump"... the people and this country be damned. Trump's only loyalty is to himself and whomever is currently committing crimes on his behalf but who are ultimately expendable too.

    If that gets us booted out of the Rep party, I guess we'll just have to live with it.

    Country over Party... and I'll bet you didn't even take an oath like Benedict Donald a.k.a. Traitorous Trump. Good for you, Stucki. :)

  16. [16] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris
    9

    It is not natural to choose the abuser that punches, kicks and cuts you but occasionally gives you candy or flowers over another abuser that hits you with a baseball bat.

    Said the troll with a baseball bat, pissing all over the author and his blog and expecting some kind of a positive result. By the way, this is the ginormous flaw in "your idea"... that any politician you would equate with an "abuser" will somehow become an acceptable choice if only he bends to your will. *laughs*

    Unless you enjoy being abused the natural response would be to reject both abusers and seek company that will not abuse you.

    Now connect the dots, and you need never wonder why you're being ignored and rejected on CW's blog.

    Good talk, abuser. :)

  17. [17] 
    Kick wrote:

    John From Censornati
    10

    If she can't bring herself to go there, then she might as well just go away and STFU.

    I hear you, but when your opposition has finally come around to your way of thinking, then you don't exactly hope they go away. You give them a big microphone and keep asking the right questions.

    Cheney and Republicans like her -- The Lincoln Project, etc. -- give other Republicans someone to follow and permission to reject Trumpism and fight for democracy. :)

  18. [18] 
    Kick wrote:

    John From Censornati
    13

    Something needs to be done about these shortages now. Gasoline, cars, houses, and Chick-fil-A hate sauce are all hard to find in Joe Biden's America. I want another check.

    Heh.

    Who needs a check if there is no "precious" sauce to spend it on? Did anybody notice that the aggrieved Righties whining incessantly about hamburgers sure seem overly obsessed with the chicken? Hypocrites! It's like they don't really give a shit about red meat at all! ;)

    What is sad is what ignorant fools they play their base for... that they must really believe Trumpanzees are as dumb as a barrel of monkeys.

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