Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Liz Cheney: Not a Hero

I'm back!

And the first thing I want to say is that Liz Cheney is not a hero.

Yes, it's good that she isn't on the Trump train, it's good that she organized the former Secretaries of Defense to sign a letter saying the military should stay out of the presidential election process, it's good that she seems to have a commitment to the truth about what happened in November. All good.

But the idea that she's now about country before party is absurd. She was party-before-country for four years during the Trump presidency, as evidenced by her voting record. Now she's making it clear she's party-before-Trump, that's all. She thinks Trump is going to ruin the party, and that's what she can't stand.

She clearly thinks the best interest of the party (as she sees it) is what's good for the country as whole, so that's what she was doing for the years of the Trump presidency: supporting McConnell's agenda, such as it was. Judges, judges, judges, tax cuts for the wealthy, no health care, and so on.

She wants to win elections for the party, and she knows that there has to be a realistic base to that. It sounds as though the thing that put her over the edge was the fact that National Republican Congressional Campaign staff straight-up lied to members of Congress about polling data, which showed Trump's weakness in key districts. His unfavorable ratings were 15 points higher than his favorables in these places, but the NRCC staff withheld that data.

Cheney is clearly better on many levels than House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who spoke out against the January 6 insurrection while it was happening but almost immediately started pretending it didn't matter and then went to kiss Trump's ring. Earlier, he had signed onto the amicus brief to overturn the election (after telling Cheney he would not). 

She's better than just about any other Republican in the present Congress (with a few exceptions). But that doesn't make her suddenly good.

The fact that Cheney seems almost good is an indication of how far the Republican party has sunk into nihilism and will-to-power. Jane Mayer's recent New Yorker story on Lee Atwater's papers gives all the details on when that conversion began:

Atwater’s tactics were a bridge between the old Republican Party of the Nixon era, when dirty tricks were considered a scandal, and the new Republican Party of Donald Trump, in which lies, racial fearmongering, and winning at any cost have become normalized.... Atwater...admits outright that he only cared about winning, not governing. “I’ve always thought running for office is a bunch of bullshit. Being in a office is even more bullshit. It really is bullshit,” he wrote. “I’m proud of the fact that I understand how much BS it is.”

It does seem that Liz Cheney is not in the Lee Atwater school, at least, I'll give her that. 

But she's still a long way from being a hero.


No comments: