The GOP colleagues of embattled Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming just don't get it. Why would anyone decide to stand for something bigger than themselves at risk of their own career? Why not just look at yourself in the mirror every morning knowing that you are bargaining away democracy for your children and grandchildren in exchange for your own short-term personal gain?
Cheney’s Republican colleagues have struggled to understand her motives, especially given the political price she is paying in Wyoming, where Trump celebrated his largest margins of victory. Some wonder whether she is angling to run for a higher office.
enate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky—who has repeatedly underestimated Donald Trump's staying power—is mystified that taking down Trump is "the only thing she cares about,” a McConnell confidant told the Post. “That doesn’t help anyone," McConnell added.
Likewise, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has privately called Cheney "obsessed" with decimating Trump and his political hold on the Republican Party. In fact, McCarthy reportedly told Cheney he would try to shield her from backlash over her impeachment vote if she would just play nice with Trump going forward. She declined the invitation to morph into a spineless slug.
These accounts are the most recent in a long line of reports relaying how perplexed Cheney's colleagues are by her crusade to dismember Trump limb by limb, even if it ultimately crushes her political future.
But Cheney described her motivations at a campaign event earlier this month, pondering the notion that the nation's peaceful transfer of power (i.e., democracy) could come to an end.
“I looked at my boys in the weeks after January 6; it became very clear that we might suddenly have to question that,” Cheney said of the peaceful transition between presidents. “And I am absolutely committed to do everything I can do, everything that I am required and obligated to do to make sure that we aren’t the last generation in America that can count on a peaceful transition of power. It is hugely important.”
What Cheney’s GOP counterparts are really marveling at is the concept of principled leadership—of placing the good of the whole above the immediate concerns of oneself. They either suffer from a total lack of imagination about what turning the country into a fascist hellhole would be like or they are indeed excited by the prospect. Surely “very fine” Republicans fall on both sides of that divide.
But somewhere in between that craven naïveté and that authoritarian bloodthirst, Liz Cheney has stepped into the void.
Her political views are 99.9% abhorrent to us as liberals.
Her cunning is sometimes frightening.
But we cannot deny Cheney this moment in history. She should rightfully be celebrated for her vision, her courage, and her relentless perseverance.