Liz Cheney. Running for Senate. A gift from the gods to purveyors of leftwing infotainment everywhere. A year-plus of instant-automatic page views for all!
She’s also, not-for-nothing, got a chance to be a US Senator. Not because she’s an especially strong candidate — though when the electorate is all of 25 people, as is the case in Wyoming, you figure the family name will go pretty far — but rather because, as Jonathan Bernstein points out on the presidential level, in an election, somebody’s gotta win. And in Wyoming, Liz Cheney will be one of probably only two such somebodies.
I’m not going to do a potted history of “crazy” things Cheney’s said (I use the scare quotes to note that there’s a difference between insanity and radicalism); ThinkProgress was already quick to pump out a top fiver for those interested. But I will note an AP report on her announcement that underscores just how out-of-the-mainstream Cheney is.
Because Cheney’s not just far-right, she’s the kind of far-right that lives in its own universe, with its own unique interpretation of what you thought were objective, dull, universally acknowledged realities:
Liz Cheney struck a no-compromises tone Wednesday as she launched her campaign to unseat Wyoming’s senior U.S. senator, Mike Enzi.
The elder daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney addressed reporters in Casper and Cheyenne a day after announcing her bid to oust Enzi, a three-term incumbent and fellow Republican.
Speaking in Cheyenne, Cheney said it’s time for Republicans in Congress to stop “cutting deals” with Democrats….
“We’ve got to stand and fight, and we have to defend what we believe in. We have to not be afraid of being called obstructionists,” Cheney said.
“In my view, obstructing President Obama’s policies and his agenda isn’t actually obstruction; it’s patriotism,” Cheney said. “I think we have to stop what he’s doing, and then as conservatives, we’ve got to say, ‘Here’s what we believe,’ and, ‘Here’s the path forward,’ and that’s what I intend to lay out in this campaign.”
It’s possible that she doesn’t believe a word of what she’s saying, and that Cheney’s simply decided this is the best way to persuade the relative handful of voters she needs if she’s to fell the Mike Enzi empire. But I err on the side of believing people mean what they say — even politicians. In Liz Cheney’s universe, then, American politics on the national level has been a disaster, its signature flaw an overabundance of compromise. The mind reels.
I can’t help but wonder, though, whether Liz Cheney’s radicalism isn’t her father’s fault in ways we don’t immediately appreciate. As Dick was thoroughly radicalized by 9/11 and what I’d guess was a nauseating horror at the thought of ever letting such a nightmare happen again, he left increasingly little rightward room for his daughter, were she ever to enter into politics on her own, to work with.
Cheney’s simply following the playbook devised by Evan Bayh and Mitt Romney; look to your father’s political career, and then veer hard to the right. When your father ends his political career by being the in-house advocate for torture, to make your mark, you’ve pretty much gotta go the full Dr. Strangelove. Have fun, Senator Enzi. Have fun.