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August 17, 2022

Good Riddance: Liz Cheney Gets Clobbered in Wyoming

Cheney deserved to get thumped in yesterday’s primary, and the Cowboy State’s voters didn’t disappoint.

Good riddance. At least for now.

In the least surprising news to come out of yesterday’s primaries, Liz Cheney got her clock cleaned by Harriet Hageman, the woman who’ll succeed her as Republican-dominated Wyoming’s lone congressional representative.

Defeat may well be an orphan, but Cheney had company with fellow Trump-hating Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, who lost her primary to Trump-endorsed retired Green Beret and America First advocate Joe Kent. Cheney and Beutler thus become the seventh and eighth of 10 House Republicans to either slink off into retirement or face the voters in a primary for having voted to impeach their party’s standard-bearer for “Incitement of Insurrection” regarding the events of January 6, 2021. (For the record, it wasn’t an insurrection, and Trump didn’t incite it. But whatever.)

Nearly joining Cheney and Beutler was a longtime RINO Republican senator who voted for Trump’s conviction and removal from office. Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, like Cheney the daughter of a powerful Republican politician — her late father, Frank, was a former senator and governor — barely edged out her opponent because Alaska has adopted a sleazy ranked-choice voting scheme, which is designed to ensure incumbents have the best chance of winning.

Would you be surprised if we told you that Murkowski secretly backed the implementation of ranked-choice voting in Alaska? Don’t be. She did.

Back in Wyoming, it was a crushing 37-point defeat for Cheney, as the Cowboy State’s discerning voters clearly weren’t swayed by the laughable claim leveled by her embittered dad in a last-minute advertising blitz: “In our nation’s 246-year history,” said former Vice President Dick Cheney, “there has never been an individual who is a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump.” Yeah, right.

Nor were Wyomingites swayed by the many powerful endorsements racked up by Cheney along the way, including those of disgraced groper and former Democrat Senator Al Franken, liberal Hollywood actor Kevin Costner, and (ahem) acquitted double-murderer O.J. Simpson, who said, “Right now, I’m kind of a fan of Liz Cheney.”

Folks who were hoping for a blowout, hoping for an unequivocal repudiation of Cheney’s decision to turn her back on the Republican Party and instead join with Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Trump-hating Democrats, weren’t disappointed: Hageman hauled in more than 66% of the vote, while Cheney got less than 29% — and much of that from disgracefully begging Wyoming’s Democrats to cross over and vote for her in the Republican primary.

As Mark Alexander noted, the biggest of all the BIG Lies Cheney has uttered as a “Republican” member of the House, was this justification for her capacity as vice chairman of Pelosi’s J6 committee: “Every member of this committee is dedicated to conducting a nonpartisan, professional, and thorough investigation of all the relevant facts regarding January 6th and the threat to our Constitution we faced that day. I have accepted the position of vice chair of the committee to assure that we achieve that goal.”

Not surprisingly, Donald Trump had plenty to say about yesterday’s result. And why wouldn’t he? The man essentially ended Liz Cheney’s political career while giving birth to Harriet Hageman’s. Here’s a digest:

Congratulations to Harriet Hageman on her great and very decisive WIN in Wyoming. This is a wonderful result for America, and a complete rebuke of the Unselect Committee of political Hacks and Thugs. … Thank you WYOMING! I assume that with the very big Liz Cheney loss, far bigger than had ever been anticipated, the January 6th Committee of political Hacks and Thugs will quickly begin the beautiful process of DISSOLUTION? This was a referendum on the never ending Witch Hunt. The people have spoken!“

Left-leaning Politico called the effort to oust Cheney "an unusually disciplined effort by Trump’s political orbit … [as] well-organized Trump forces swamped Cheney, who by the end appeared less focused on surviving her reelection fight than embracing a high-profile national role as a Trump critic.”

We love it when a plan comes together.

Is Liz Cheney thus a martyr for traditional Republican values? Nope. As columnist Freddie Gray writes in The Spectator:

Endless “courage” profiles have been published about Liz Cheney — stressing her fundamental conservatism, her decency, her eagerness to save America. To most voters, left or right, it all feels a little phony.

The truth is, to most working or even middle-class Republican supporters today, just the name Cheney is enough to make the blood boil. It brings to mind the disastrous Iraq War and the financial crisis, the time before Trump disrupted American politics. She is the old guard. Now, she is gone.

Not so fast, though. Cheney is indeed gone from Congress — or, rather, she will be on January 3, 2023, when the 118th Congress is sworn in and seated. But Cheney raised more than $15 million for her congressional campaign (more than 96% of that cash came from out of state), and she only spent $7.8 million of that — which leaves plenty for a possible presidential run.

Don’t laugh. As Cheney noted during last night’s concession speech: “The great and original champion of our party, Abraham Lincoln, was defeated in elections for the Senate and the House before he won the most important election of all. Lincoln ultimately prevailed, he saved our union, and he defined our obligation as Americans for all of history.”

Mmm-kay. Cheney might well have designs on continuing to be a thorn in the side of Donald Trump and the Republican Party’s America First agenda. But as for a serious presidential run, she doesn’t pass the giggle test. Honest Abe, after all, never lost a congressional election by 37 points.

As for Cheney’s soon-to-be-former congressional colleagues, we think New York’s Claudia Tenney summed things up well: “Breathtakingly arrogant speech by loser Liz Cheney,” she tweeted. “Orchestrating show trials contrary to safeguards guaranteed by the Bill of Rights is not Lincolnesque. On the contrary, Cheney’s actions mirror precisely the authoritarianism our founders fought valiantly against.”

Updated with a selection of quotes from Donald Trump.

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