Liz Cheney won big in Wyoming this week.
No, not in her primary race, the result of which had long since become a foregone conclusion, but in the race to find public servants who are true patriots, who put country ahead of party when the stakes really are the survival of our American constitutional democracy.
Wyoming, with a total population well under the size of an average congressional district, commanded the attention of the entire nation on primary day, as voters in this heavily Republican state turned their backs on one of the nation’s most proven, courageous, and conservative Republicans, Liz Cheney, to demonstrate their solidarity and fidelity to Donald Trump. Interestingly, I’m not the only person in America who would describe Liz Cheney as a proven, courageous conservative. The other admirer who showered Cheney with this ringing endorsement one election cycle ago was Harriet Hageman. Hageman apparently, knows an opportunity when she sees one. Once again, Hageman had the opportunity to stand up for Cheney or cozy up to Trump. Cozy won.
Nearly everyone today is talking about Liz Cheney and her remarkable decision to put the country ahead of party. Cheney’s remarks following her loss in Wyoming were historic. She said what everyone knew; that all she had to do to win once again, with about 70% of the vote, as she did in her prior election, was simply to stay silent regarding the Trump betrayal of our constitutional democracy. Throughout most of the country, Cheney is seen as a courageous constitutionalist. She lost a place in congress while securing a place in history.
Harriet Hageman will, almost certainly, be remembered as the person who played an ironic bit part in Cheney’s rise in the nation’s consciousness. She’ll be remembered as a minor player in the supporting cast of the Trump drama. Ironically, Harriet Hageman will also be remembered as the candidate who, a presidential cycle ago, condemned Trump as a bigoted candidate. She warned that the Republican Party would be saddled with “somebody who is racist and xenophobic.” Rather prescient, that new Wyoming Congressperson-elect.
Now, in the cause of full disclosure, I hasten to acknowledge that we have hosted Liz Cheney in our home in support of her candidacy. She had no illusions about the course on which she had embarked. She told us pretty much what she told the country, “if the cost of standing up for the Constitution is losing the House seat, then that’s a price I’m willing to pay.” A handful of other Republicans who have had the temerity to stand up to Trump have also been turned out in Republican primaries. Of ten Republican Congresspersons who dared to vote against Trump during the impeachment proceedings, four have lost their elections, four have retired, and two remain standing.
So, what is going on here? While Trump delighted in calling Liz Cheney a RINO (Republican in Name Only), her entire legislative history is about as conservative and Republican as conservative and Republican gets. So, let us all recognize that RINO now has a new meaning in Trump world; (Rebelliously Independent and Never Obedient). A RINO has simply become any Republican who is an independent thinker and one who is prepared to question Trump orthodoxy. In other words, admit that Trump lost the 2020 election. Cross or question Trump, and any Republican will be consigned to the newly defined RINOLAND.
Let’s not mince words. This is serious stuff. There have been other periods of history when deviating from the teachings (demands) of a perceived glorious (think megalomaniacal) leader was tantamount to exile into the nether reaches of respectability and acceptance. That is precisely the level to which today’s Republican party is rapidly descending.
Liz Cheney was, and is, guilty of speaking truth to power. She knows, as does every thinking Republican that Donald Trump lost the last election and lost decisively. Donald Trump seems incapable of admitting or accepting that fact and will not tolerate anyone who does. His animus toward Liz Cheney and any other Republican who will not embrace the big lie has many historical corollaries. In the long term, it never works out well for sycophants who walk in lock step with those who corrupt truth in the quest for power.
Liz Cheney witnessed, along with many others, an outrageous attempt to wrest, through a well-planned insurrection, control of the country by a defeated candidate for President. In the moment, other congressional leaders of her party acknowledged that reality. Liz Cheney stood firm in her contempt for the well-orchestrated attempt to stop the peaceful transfer of power in America. The resolve of others in her party quickly faded. They are forever diminished. She stands tall.
Liz Cheney stands today as the embodiment of John F. Kennedy’s definition of a profile in courage: “In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience — the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men — each man must decide for himself the course he will follow.”
Liz Cheney has chosen courage over power. Whether her star or that of others like her is in ascendance or descendance may well determine the ascendance or descendance of the American experiment. This is the very moment about which Benjamin Franklin expressed concern on September 18, 1787, regarding the durability of the American experiment; you have a republic if you can keep it. We shall see.
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Truth will prevail.
Liz Cheney is a true American Patriot and needs to be a part of the American Republic in order for us to keep it. Sometimes when you stand on principle or what’s right you stand alone. God Bless her stand.
Liz Cheney has won the respect of many Americans she might even be the first woman president she has proven she will always put the country and the constitution first that is what America needs
Liz should change to Dem. She is a RINO trying to ruin her party. She is only running her mouth since her Dad and Trump disagreed. Nothing about being a patriot. More like an idiot trying to get attention.
You are a true trump puppet. Your negative response to Cheney is illogical. Trump is and was attempting to overthrow our republic in favor of fascism. He’s an authoritarian like his heros Putin and Kim jong UN. You want to live under a dictatorship move to Russia but don’t favor fa as vism for this country
Truth and intelligence will prevail over falsehoods and deliberate lies by GOP politicians.
She’s got my vote
You are my hero for always putting country before party
Thank you for your voice and Recognizing Liz for her courage
I enjoy your commentary. We need all Republicans who reject Trumpism to work together to assure he never gets near the Oval Office, and just as important to work to reject those that have supported his lies. We need all current and former office holders and those that served in Trump’s administration to come together and speak loudly. I would support these efforts and happy to contribute financially, but the current response seems scattered. I would also like to see corporate America and large donors to work better to reject Trump and help support efforts to vote out all people and candidates who have embraced Trump lies. Even if it means Democrats win in the short term, the Republican Party and Republicans must regain their moral values, even if they must accept defeat in the short term. Thanks
A “profile in courage” — second addition.
Not just for the period since Jan 6th. She has long been that vanishing breed, the principled conservative, willing to take and hold consistent, logical, fact-based positions that are foreign to group-think, self-identified conservatives. She is and has been an American conservative, not a mere Republican conservative.
I love that you refer to Liz’s race as a big win. Lots of work for thinking and good people to do. As I sit here this Sunday morning I have hope. Do you?
Thank you. Your comment gives me hope
Liz Cheney and you send a powerful message that will not be heard or acknowledged by the very members of the Republican Party that desperately need to acknowledge the perilous path they have chosen in blindly patronizing Trump and his hard core base… We will see history viewing Liz Cheney far more favorably than her former colleagues.
Well said and greatly appreciated!
Democracy is about healthy honest debate, standing up for heart felt truth. My respect for her has grown by leaps and bounds. She knew she would lose the election. Yet she put truth first. In the end she will win. Three things also come out -the sun, the moon and the truth
Country and people before Party and self – that’s always the core here. No matter the opinion, it comes back to that, which is why I read.
Franklin’s warning feels distressingly close to home as we continue to watch representatives who stand up for that core and the truths we all can clearly see (so clear it is outright lying to say otherwise), brought down in fealty to one who has demonstrated time and again he does not understand the concept of any piece of that core.
I am impressed with Liz Cheney and she deserves the praise you give her.
If I were to have a $100 bill in front of me (which I never have) I’ve no doubt the face upon it would have changed to an expression of stern and dire warning.
Liz Cheney voted for 93% of Trump-supported legislation during his term. She voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020. She is terrible on civil liberties and she’s a terrible war-monger, just like her war-criminal father. The only reason she’s not a war criminal is that she hasn’t had the opportunities her father had. You see a “patriot.” I see a rank opportunist who was tired of representing a state with whose voters she was increasingly out-of-step, and decided to win unearned adoration by burning down the house on her way out (presumably to a very comfy, well paid K Street or corporate media job). In any case, no one – of either party, or with any concern for individual liberty and a sane foreign policy – need mourn her departure from Congress. The irony about Trump is that he had just as much viability as a democrat as a republican – he is a populist, pure and simple, unmoored by any ideas other than doing whatever it takes to win at all costs. And to those who paint him as an outsider, you don’t get to be a multi-billionaire without being a member of the club. Oh, and invoking the Franklin quote is about 160 years too late – the US hasn’t been a republic since the Civil War.
One of the things I miss most is “The loyal opposition”. I am a proud Democrat, but respect Liz Chaney and in most thing would vehemently disagree with her voting recored. That being said she stands as a great example of what loyal opposition means to our democracy.
I find her a great American and admire her standing up to bullying and for our gravest dangers
Liz is a hero in my book. Politics aside, she did the right thing, at great risk, a rarity in either party. I hope we have not seen the last of this courageous leader.
I applaud Liz Cheney. I did not support her father. But Liz has taken a stand that many would never has the guts to do.
I’m not a Republican, but I respect Liz Cheney for everything she’s doing to protect our country from the likes of Trump.
Liz Cheney stands for the high standards that Politicians used to have, and in particular, for all the greatness that both the Republican and Democratic Parties used to espouse. I am in awe of her courage, her brilliance and the shining light she shares with the greats we have known in Politics regardless of party affiliation.
My Mom was a Republican. My Dad was a Democrat. I was an Independent until I realized how important it is to be able to have my voice heard in a Primary, and upon reflection and discovery I then became a Democrat.
Because I am a Democratdoes not mean I always vote for a Democrat but rather, I will continue to do what I have always done: vote for the candidate who I feel is the most honorable and will show a courageous heart for our country.
Liz Cheney has given us new hope in America by sharing her standards, standing by her conscience, showing her fairness, showing her demonstrated honesty and her love of country.
Thank you SO much Hal for writing this.
I am a liberal democrat and I would support Lynn Cheney for anything.
A decent smart courageous truthful woman.
WOW Hal, yet another column that brings in your animus towards Donald Trump. After watching her pathetic performance on the sham Jan 6 Committee (along with Adam Kinzinger), she was obviously not bright enough to realize the fact that the only reason the Dems wanted her was because she would be useful in attacking Republicans. Pelosi denied McCarthy’s choices, there was no opportunity to “cross examine” witnesses, and the sole purpose of the Committee was to weaken and destroy Trump. And while a whole bunch of people like myself hope that he won’t run, the value of the committee is that they may have created a martyr that will galvanize support for the actual Candidate. Now that she is defeated, how about talking about stuff that is actually important – stuff like the sham Inflation Reduction Act, open borders, disastrous foreign policy…You know Hal, stuff that actually affects our lives.
I love Liz for her integrity and truthful speaking and concern for our country. I most often will vote democrat mainly because I think Republicans are so darn nasty and hateful yet like to say they’re Christian? I agreed with perhaps 65% of Trump policies but Trump is an indecent, hate mongering, serial lying grifter. I wrote a song about Trump that kind of says it all: “Trump, We Can Do Better Than You”. If any of my lyrics are not true please let me know. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0c-1_H9Czjc
While the credibility of the Jan.6th committee was damaged by the Speaker’s unwilliness to construct a fully bipartisan group, Cheney and Kinzinger appeared to perform excellently, as expected from congressional representatives. I hope that both continue to pursue public service in the future.
As far as the primary result in Wyoming (and others) I believe that the Republican Party is shooting itself in the foot by nominating candidates that are too far from the American middle.
I disagree with Liz Cheney on almost every policy position she holds. Having said that…there is no one I respect and admire more right now for her principled stand on behalf of this 200+ year experiment in democracy. I firmly believe history will look favorably on her bravery and integrity, unlike her Republican colleagues who have chosen to put their personal advancement ahead of our ongoing democracy.
Robin Smith has stated her opinion perfectly and I am in full agreement with her. I left the Republican Party during Ronald Reagan presidency and became an Independent, Looking at what the party has become under Trump, I have no regrets.
Rick Gordon, for the record, Nancy Pelosi was not unwilling to construct a fully bipartisan committee. She was unwilling to allow Jim Jordan and Jim Banks onto the committee, knowing that their only purpose would be to subvert the purpose of the Committee and to sabotage the findings. Both of these Congressmen voted not to certify the Biden election – and Jim Jordan is a direct mouthpiece back to Trump. When Pelosi refused to allow Jordan and Banks onto the Committee, it was Kevin McCarthy who pulled the remaining Republican candidates.
Thank you, I think we really need to get over this MAGA rhetoric and concentrate on serving the American people. Our nation needs to be run on the principles set down by our founding fathers.
Hal, you’ve been deluded by democratic rhetoric. Only dems or rinos love Cheney. She garners praise from democrats now, but if she runs for office again as a republican she’ll be dumped on just like McCain was in AZ. The Left loved him until he ran for president, then was called every name in the book. The same thing will happen to Liz. She’s an useful idiot for the Left for now, until she’s not. Then again, she’s probably negotiating a contract with MSNBC or CNN right now. Trump may be a disruptor, but his policies were and are fantastic for the country.
I appreciate this content, especially as it contrasts with CNN’s new policy of having GOP talking-point code-talkers interviewed equally with people on the left. As if they were equal and their ideas weren’t the cause of most of the problem we’re facing. As such I’m going to have to dump the mainstream media of the left and rely on people that actually have some experience in education and know how to write. Thanks again.