It Wasn't About Liz
Wyoming's voters told their incumbent congresswoman that the election wasn't about her. It was about them. And she had moved on even before Tuesday's election.
No shortage of ink spilled across newsrooms to explain Tuesday’s merciless dethroning of Liz Cheney as the GOP nominee for the Cowboy State’s lone congressional seat.
Predictably, most of the stories are focused on Donald Trump.
“The winning defiance of Liz Cheney,” wrote the delusional Washington Post about a candidate who took the worst primary drubbing of any incumbent congressional candidate in the United States this election.
“Liz Cheney vows to carry on fight against Trump after conceding defeat in Wyoming primary” CNN reflexively regurgitated. At least they alluded to her election loss.
“Liz Cheney: Trump critic blasts Republican ‘personality cult’ after defeat,” barfed Great Britain’s official state media, BBC News.
“How Team Trump systematically snuffed out Liz Cheney’s reign in Congress” Politico.com unthinkingly spewed.
“What Liz Cheney’s Lopsided Loss Says About the State of the GOP” the New York Times and its famously woke and disconnected newsroom predictably opined.
“Liz Cheney to battle Trump, may run for U.S. presidency” Reuters boringly blurted, ignoring the obvious news that she was badly trumped (pun intended) by her primary challenger, future US Rep. Harriet Hageman (pronounced HAG-a-mun).
And this, “Liz Cheney Was Defeated by the Extremist Movement She Helped to Empower,” is a predictably garbage hot take from the lefties at Mother Jones. That would be news to the George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney families. The Bush Foundation and Library on the Southern Methodist University campus in north Dallas despised Trump so much that no reference to or television was turned on for Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017. I would know. I was visiting that day.
Don’t believe me? Did you not see this 1-minute commercial Liz Cheney produced featuring her famous father, who once held the same congressional seat?
This was political stupidity - suicide - on several levels. It was fine to feature an endorsement from her father, who may (or may not) remain popular in the Equality State (another nickname for Wyoming, which was the nation’s first to grant women the right to vote). But focusing negatively on a former President who carried Wyoming twice by 2:1 margins and remains popular there? Calling him a coward after successfully battling legal persecutions he’s repeatedly experienced from federal and state law enforcement (FBI) and intelligence (CIA) misadventures over 6 years? I don’t recall Dick Cheney being the subject of a $30 million special prosecutor or two failed impeachment attempts. You don’t have to like Trump to acknowledge the obvious.
Given the election results, the Cheney ad obviously didn’t play well.
But a couple of other ads did better.
This one was probably more effective.
If you really want to understand why Cheney lost, listen to this terrific debate close by Hageman - who lost a race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination just four years ago - in July.
“The people of Wyoming don’t believe they’re being represented in Congress right now,” Hageman asserted, “because our representative doesn’t come to Wyoming. She doesn’t come to explain her votes, to defend the decisions that she’s making.
“She focuses an awful lot of time on the January 6th Committee, but she’s not addressing the issues that are important to Wyoming,” Hageman claimed, focusing on “water rights, property rights, and constitutional rights.” Those are big deals in western America but don’t expect the beltway or New York media to understand that.
In other words, Hageman promised to do the job constituents expect of a Member of the US House of Representatives. Voters there rendered their verdict on Tuesday. It took the networks about 30 minutes to declare Hageman the primary election winner, garnering some 67 percent of the vote to Cheney’s paltry 27 percent (there were two other candidates). Efforts to get the state’s Democrats to cross over and vote for her in the GOP primary did not work. Cheney won two of the state’s 23 counties, including the home of tony Jackson, where bazillionaires have summer mansions and ranches. Including Richard B. Cheney, former CEO of Halliburton, Inc., among his many distinguished titles.
Liz Cheney wasted no time after her clearly-anticipated defeat to convert her failed campaign committee into a new organization, The Great Task, stealing not just from Abraham Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg but also from an American Battlefield Trust youth leadership program.
"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion…" — President Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, November 1863.
She knew she would lose, even after winning 73 percent of the GOP primary vote just two years ago when her anti-Trumpian and pro-Fauci views were already well established.
It wasn’t her anti-Trump views that defeated her. It was her obsession with destroying Trump via a bogus congressional witch hunt at the expense of other priorities important to Wyoming voters, like inflation, high gasoline prices, and much more. It really is “the economy, stupid.”
And now, she claims the mantel of not just Lincoln but Civil War General and President Ulysses S. Grant.
Shallow-minded pundits quickly attribute Cheney’s loss to Trump’s oversized influence and control over the GOP. But that doesn’t ring true in this case, given her success in 2020. Certainly not in Wyoming. And I doubt GOP 2024 presidential caucus and primary voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, among other states, will either.
Liz was already plotting her future candidacy for President - if only to stop Trump - before her ignominious defeat Tuesday. Watch for impending trips to Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada in the coming weeks, if not days. Notable inside-the-beltway anti-Trumpists like Virginia mega-donor Bobbie Kilberg, Bill Kristol, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), and others will no doubt toss dollars into her new noble bucket, supported mostly by “morally superior” Democrats who love to sow dissension in GOP ranks to advance their own left-wing causes.
Her prospects for a GOP presidential primary, with or sans Trump, are between zero and a hard place. She might double former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld’s two percent in 2016. That would be very ambitious.
This means that her best strategy is a longer run as an Independent. It’s a harder path to make the ballot in all 50 states, but it is very doable with enough money and grifting political talent. Her purported cause celebre is to deny Trump the presidency, a deeply flawed premise for a candidacy. She seems fine with electing an increasingly impaired Joe Biden or Vice President cackle pants, despite their collateral damage, if it only denies Trump another four years.
This was, after all, John Anderson’s strategy.
Who was John Anderson, you ask? The former Republican US Representative from Rockford, Illinois, ran for President as an independent in 1980. The media deified him as he challenged incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter and Republican Ronald Reagan. With Wisconsin’s former Governor Patrick Lucey as his running mate, he failed to capture a single electoral vote as Reagan strolled to an electoral landslide.
Look for a reprise of 1980 in 2024, in more ways than one. You tell me who the GOP and Democratic nominees will be. As far as Liz Cheney is concerned, it won’t matter.
As for media and Democratic partisans (including the FBI and DOJ) who seem to be working overtime to make Trump a factor in November’s elections, you should consult Virginia’s former governor, Terry McAuliffe, on how that worked for him in November 2021. Glenn Youngkin can tell you.
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