Douglas Andrews / February 18, 2022

McCarthy Moves to Boot Liz Cheney

The once-promising Republican has found common cause with the Democrats.

Principled opposition is one thing. Useful idiocy is quite another. And Liz Cheney has, sadly, devolved from the former into the latter.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy seems to agree, as yesterday he took the extraordinary step of endorsing the primary opponent of a three-term GOP congresswoman whose surname has been synonymous with Republican politics for nearly half a century. McCarthy is endorsing Wyoming attorney Harriet Hageman in her 2022 Republican primary bid to unseat Liz Cheney ahead of the 2022 midterms. As columnist Mollie Hemingway reports:

The endorsement from the party’s top lawmaker in the lower chamber comes after a long string of Cheney attacks on her colleagues and even her own constituents, resulting in numerous censures and demotions. She was stripped of her No. 3 role in House leadership last May in an overwhelming vote. Months later, she was censured by her own state party, which voted to no longer recognize its sole House member as a Republican. The RNC formally censured Cheney earlier this month and called on Republicans to abandon the incumbent lawmaker.

“After spending time with Harriet,” said McCarthy, “it is readily apparent she will always listen and prioritize the needs of her local communities and is focused on tackling our nation’s biggest problems. I look forward to serving with Harriet for years to come.”

Clearly, Liz Cheney has worn out her welcome. But it didn’t have to be this way. Only one thing can adequately explain her fall from Republican grace and her utility to the Leftmedia and the Democrat Party as a weapon against her own party: Trump Derangement Syndrome.

We laugh at the term itself, but its symptoms — which include a white-hot and irrational hatred for Donald Trump — are very real. Our Mark Alexander wrote about TDS in 2018, when psychotherapists tried to recast it as “Trump Anxiety Disorder,” an affliction marked by feelings of being “on edge about the possible dire effects of [Trump’s] decisions, rhetoric, and policies, [and] a fear of the world ending [that is] very disorienting and constantly unsettling.”

We suspect Cheney’s feelings are much more toward the “hatred” end of the spectrum than the “anxious” end, and we also think those feelings have a lot to do with Trump’s oft-stated opposition to the “dumb wars” and interventionist foreign policy of the Bush-Cheney administration. In short, Dick Cheney’s daughter feels compelled to defend her dad, and Trump’s culpability (whatever it might be) for the events of January 6 are a convenient proxy, a convenient means for denouncing Trump.

The origins of the term “useful idiot” are somewhat obscure, but it has long been a descriptor for Western apologists of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist collectivism and the ruinous, soul-crushing statism that these awful ideologies enable. In the case of Liz Cheney, her useful idiocy is as a tool of the Left and the Leftmedia. By continually denouncing the undisputed leader of the Republican Party, and by agreeing to serve on Nancy Pelosi’s bad joke of a committee to “investigate” the Capitol riot of January 6, 2021, Cheney is playing right into the hands of those who used to be her enemies. And her father’s enemies.

It’s sad, really. Not Shakespearean sad, but sad nonetheless.

Dick Cheney came to prominence in 1975 when, at age 34, he was appointed chief of staff by President Gerald Ford — the youngest person ever to hold the office. He later represented Wyoming as the state’s lone congressman, and he served as secretary of defense under George H.W. Bush and as vice president under George W. Bush. When his eldest daughter entered Republican politics, she appeared to be cut from the same smart, tough cloth. Indeed, being elected to the House in 2016, she’s been fairly conservative, with a lifetime rating of 78.03 from the American Conservative Union. (Compare her number to that of Elise Stefanik, the Trump-endorsed New York congresswoman who replaced Cheney as chair of the House Republican Conference, the third-ranking position among House Republicans. Stefanik’s ACU rating: 43.64.)

McCarthy’s announcement comes some five months after Trump endorsed Hageman. “Harriet is a fourth-generation daughter of Wyoming, a very successful attorney, and has the support and respect of a truly great U.S. Senator, Wyoming’s own Cynthia Lummis,” Trump said at the time. “Unlike RINO Liz Cheney, Harriet is all in for America First.”

When Cheney got word of Trump’s endorsement, she posted a two-word reply: “Bring it.”

On August 16, the date of the Wyoming Republican congressional primary, she’ll get her wish. And if the results of a January straw poll conducted by the Wyoming Republican State Central Committee are any indication, Hageman will clean Cheney’s clock. The former won 59 votes, while Cheney won just six.

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