Honest Republicans in Short Supply
The truth will set you free.
That is, unless you’re Liz Cheney, in which case the truth will probably get you fired.
Cheney, Wyoming’s lone voice in the House of Representatives, continues to stubbornly cling to reality in the face of her party’s descent into mendacious madness. And it very well may cost Cheney both her jobs.
“The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,” Cheney tweeted this week. “Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”
This should not be a controversial statement, and it places Cheney on the right side of history. But being on the right side of history may not be good enough for Cheney to retain her position as the GOP Conference Chair, the No. 3 spot in the party pecking order.
More critically, her reluctance to embrace the stolen-election narrative could cost Cheney her congressional seat in Republican-dominated Wyoming, where loyalty to Donald Trump runs deep. Cheney’s righteous stand will undoubtedly lead to a stiff primary challenge next year.
Here is the reality in today’s Republican Party. Anyone who refuses to go along with the false claim that Trump rightfully won the election is vulnerable. It doesn’t matter if you hold national, state or local office. It doesn’t matter how long you have been entrenched. And, in Cheney’s case, it doesn’t matter if you are a hard-core conservative whose father was George W. Bush’s vice president.
The Republican Party is the Party of Trump. It is the Party of Lies. It is the Party of Fantasy. Its voters worship a golden idol of their dear leader at political conferences. It is the party that elects gun-toting high school dropouts and conspiracy-theory-touting maniacs.
Principled conservatives, like Mitt Romney, get loudly booed, while reality-denying whack-jobs, like Marjorie Taylor Greene, get standing ovations. This is not an electorate that is interested in hearing the truth.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy indicated as such, on camera and off, when he said that Republican members doubted her ability, “to carry out the message.” Then, off camera, he was caught on a hot mic bashing Cheney, indicating that, “I think she’s got real problems.”
And what exactly are those problems? There is only one. Her continued opposition to Trump. Her refusal to lie. Her unwillingness to bend the knee and kiss the orange ring. Her commitment to the truth and to this nation.
Liz Cheney is a conservative in the classic sense. Her policy positions are disagreeable to those of us on the left, but nobody can question her commitment to this country’s core values. She believes in democracy and democratic institutions. She doesn’t think that the loser of a presidential election should be installed as the leader because the result went against her party.
The fact that standing up for such easily verifiable facts has brought Cheney to the precipice of unemployment indicates just how far her party has plummeted. Ideologically speaking, Cheney stands for everything Republicans want, so she makes a peculiar choice as a sacrificial lamb.
It’s unclear just how vulnerable Cheney is, considering she has already staved off one internal vote rather handily. There seems to be a crisis of cowardice among many inside the party who oppose Trump but are too frightened to publicly admit it, so her colleagues and constituents may support her more than we know.
Doing the right thing isn’t always easy. That’s why the few who have, like Cheney, Romney and some others, are to be commended. Standing up for the truth, and for this country’s values, has opened themselves to attacks from their own delusional voters.
Time will tell if there is a political price to be paid.