Like Father, Like Daughter-- GOP Congresswoman Liz Cheney Plays Partisan Politics With Foreign Policy October 19, 2019
We’ve all seen this political “movie” before. Whenever the GOP faces a domestic crisis, it blames the Democrats for foreign policy problems facing our nation. It yells that these national security problems will disappear if the Democrats “cave” to the GOP’s demands. During the month-plus Campaign 2000 battle over the W Bush v. Al Gore Florida electoral recount, W’s aides and officials, including former Secretary of State James Baker, argued that this vote counting had to be concluded immediately or foreign nations would have “trouble” understanding who was in charge. Crises might “multiply.” Never mind that Bill Clinton was still President until 1/2001. W, his VP running mate Dick Cheney, et al were out there scaring the American people about possible foreign problems. Cheney and Company, of course, after the 9/11 Al Qaeda terrorist attacks also played politics. He and his associates argued that the Democrats were “soft” on terror to get the financial aid they needed and to also obtain unlimited powers, including the use of torture against our enemies. Never mind that W and Cheney, really the acting president, completely and repeatedly missed intelligence warnings that bin Laden and his Al Qaeda were planning to strike the U.S. And, of course, VP Cheney was a key cheerleader in drumming up support with false and unreliable intelligence for the 2003 war against Iraq, a country we should never have attacked and that cost the lives of 4,424 Americans, according to the U.S. Defense Department. Again, Cheney et al politically attacked Democrats who were against the Iraq War.
Fast-forward to 2019. The Democratic House is conducting an impeachment investigation over Trump’s extorting Ukraine over military aid unless it gave him non-existent “dirt” on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Now GOP Congresswoman Liz Cheney, one of former VP Dick Cheney’s daughters, told GOP propaganda channel Fox News that it was the “Democrats’ fault” that the Turks were rolling across the Syrian border and attacking the Kurds. Liz Cheney stated, “And I think the Democrats have got to pay very careful attention to the damage that they’re doing with the impeachment proceedings.” Cheney also noted that “If our adversaries begin to seek weakness, if our adversaries begin to think we won’t defend our allies, that we won’t defend our interests, that’s provocative (thedailybeast.com, Baragona, J., 10/14/19).” Never mind that this attack on the Kurds by the Turks was caused by Donald’s own spur-of-the moment unilateral decision to pull back American troops and aid to our Kurdish allies, effectively, selling them out. This horrible move by Trump will also allow the terrorist ISIS to return to the area (See the dailybeast.com, 10/14/19). Congresswoman Cheney had previously been critical of Trump’s abandoning the Kurds. After she ridiculously attacked Democrats for hurting the Kurds with impeachment proceedings, Cheney voted with 128 other GOPers and all the Democrats to oppose Donald’s abandoning the Kurds by pulling out U.S. troops from Syria. That House resolution passed 354-60 (rollcall.com, 10/17/19). Like father, like daughter, it’s all about partisan politics. Liz Cheney, like her Dad, is a master at playing politics with foreign policy to aid GOP presidents facing domestic problems. Who is Liz Cheney?
Second-term GOP Representative Elizabeth Lynne Cheney (53) is currently Wyoming’s sole Congresswoman, or Congresswoman-at-Large, representing that whole state which has a population of 583,200 (Barone Political Almanac 2020). WY is the nation’s least populous state. WY, however, is the nation’s leading coal producer. It produces about 40% of the nation’s coal, more than three times the share of the second-coal producing state, West Virginia. WY ranks eighth in natural gas production and in crude oil production. WY has the nation’s largest uranium reserves and a substantial portion of the country’s helium reserves. WY produces at least half the world’s supply, more than 4 million tons of bentonite. This highly absorbent mineral comes from volcanic ash and is used to manufacture kitty litter, materials in oil drilling, and cosmetics (Barone 2020 Political Almanac). The mineral industry made WY a prosperous state. Microsoft and the National Center for Atmospheric Research have a significant data-center presence near WY’s capital, Cheyenne, because of this state’s fiber optic linkages, low electricity rates, and cool climate. Although the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy ranked WY among the worst energy efficient states, WY is now seventh in the nation in wind capacity and plans to double its wind capacity within a few years. In 2018, the Bureau of Land Management greenlighted a 700-acre solar project on its WY agency land (Barone 2020).
WY bleeds “Red.” It has a super-crimson R+25 Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI). WY has the largest GOP advantage in party affiliation of any state. In 2016, WY was Donald’s best state. He won it by a 46% margin, his biggest in all 50 states, 68%-22%. Previously, there was a political division with Democrats dominating the state’s southern counties, containing the cities of Cheyenne, Laramie, and Evanston. There was a strong labor union presence there. Not anymore. WY hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1970 or to the House since 1976, although over that time it had some Democratic governors. The GOP dominance in WY stems not from racial polarization or religious conservatives. It comes from a strong anti-government libertarian streak in a state dominated by cattle ranchers and people affiliated with the extractive energy sector, especially coal and oil (See Barone 2020).
Liz Cheney is the older daughter of former VP Dick Cheney and his GOP activist wife Lynne. She was born in Madison, Wisconsin while her parents were studying at the University of WI-Madison. Liz Cheney attended part of sixth and seventh grade in Casper, WY while her father successfully ran for Congress. She later spent time both in D.C. and Casper from the 1970’s through the 1980’s. She received her bachelor’s degree from Colorado College in 1988 and a 1996 law degree from the University of Chicago. Before law school, Cheney worked with the State Department for five years and the U.S. Agency for International Development from 1989-1993. After 1993, she took a job at Armitage Associates, a consulting firm founded by Richard Armitage, then a former Defense Department official. Armitage had been involved in the Reagan Iran-Contra scandal and later served as Deputy Sec. of State (Barone 2020, washingtonpost.com, Leiby, R, 8/04/13). After getting her law degree, Cheney practiced international law. In 2002, Cheney was appointed deputy assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs and remained in that post until the end of W Bush’s presidency, except when she went to work on W Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign. In that position, she targeted female voters (Barone 2020, washingtonpost.com, Allen, M., 5/12/04). Cheney was at State during the Iraq War that her VP father pushed. In 4/2006, the NY Times criticized Liz Cheney’s work. That paper said her State Dept. unit was collaborating with a GOP-affiliated group that critics stated was plotting covert actions that could escalate into war with Iran and Syria. This GOP group was disbanded in 5/2006 (nytimes.com, Weisman, 4/15/06, Farah, S., boston.com, 5/26/07). When Democrat Obama took office, Liz Cheney served as chair of Keep America Safe, a non-profit national security organization and assisted her father with his writing (Barone 2020). In 1/2012, Liz Cheney was hired as a Fox News contributor and guest-hosted on “Hannity and Fox News Sunday (“Mediaite,” 7/16/13).”
In 2013, Cheney challenged WY incumbent GOP U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, a controversial move. She was not backed by the National GOP Senatorial Committee. During this race, Cheney, married to attorney Philip Perry and having five children, feuded with her younger sister Mary, a lesbian. While running in this race, Cheney stated she did not support same-sex marriage. Mary denounced her remarks and her partner Heather Poe attacked Cheney. Poe noted that Liz Cheney had previously stayed at their house and had wished them well on their 2012 marriage. Mary did not support her sister’s candidacy and later refused to say if she and her sibling had reconciled (Barone 2020, MSNBC, Clark, M.,11/17/2013, politico.com, 11/20/13, Zengerle, politico, Brightman, 1/22/15). Trailing Enzi by more than 50 points, Cheney withdrew from the 2014 GOP Senate primary race. In 2016, when WY GOP Congresswoman-at-Large Cynthia Lummis said she would retire, Cheney won an 8-candidate GOP primary and went on to clobber her Democratic opponent 40%-22%. Although she found Trump’s “Access Hollywood” comments “appalling,” Cheney still supported Demagogue Donald (Barone 2020). In 2018, she was easily re-elected by a 34% margin (Barone 2020).
In the House, Cong. Liz Cheney now sits in the seat her father occupied for a decade (Barone 2020). And like her father, she is a rock-ribbed hard right conservative. She has voted with Demagogue Donald 95.8% of the time (projectsfivethirtyeight.com). In her first term in Congress, she voted 97% of the time with her fellow right-wing Rocky Mountain Congressman Rob Bishop, R-UT (projectspropublica.org). In 11/2018, Cheney was elected without opposition to chair the House Republican Conference. She is the third woman elected to that GOP leadership position. Her father Dick also won that position during his second House term 38 years earlier. Liz Cheney impressed her fellow GOPers with her informed and outspoken style (Barone 2020, history.house.gov, Taylor.J., 1/06/19, npr.org). Congresswoman Cheney received committee assignments that dealt with her local and national interests, the House Natural Resources and powerhouse Armed Services Committees (See Barone 2020). Like her Dad, she is known for hawkish foreign policy views (Martin, J., nytimes.com, 6/01/15, Washington, J., thetimes.co.uk/article, 2/03/19). Cong. Liz Cheney, following in her father’s footsteps, urged Donald to restore “enhanced interrogation techniques,” translation, “torture” in the war on terror. She added a provision in a spending bill to assure that a minimum of 400 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are kept at their site in WY. When Donald called earlier in 12/2018 for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, Cong. Cheney called that a “serious strategic error” that would help Russia and Iran (Barone 2020). Trump then reversed himself but took U.S. troops out of Syria in 10/2019. Of course, Cheney claimed that the Democrats were somehow “responsible” for all of wacky Demagogue Donald’s moves in Syria. Again, Liz Cheney, like her Dad, never misses an opportunity to play partisan politics with foreign policy.
Cong. Liz Cheney currently has some crucial decisions to make. As the No. 3 House GOPer, she could stay in the House and try to become GOP Whip, Minority Leader, or should the GOP take back the House, Majority Leader and, eventually, Speaker. With just 13 female “Team Red” House members, and one of them, Susan Brooks (R-IN), not running in 2020, (shareblue.com, Singer, 6/14/19), the House GOP would love to feature Liz Cheney in a higher leadership role. However, the Senate beckons. Sen. Mike Enzi, whom Cheney unsuccessfully tried to challenge in 2014, will not be running in 2020. Cheney could enter that race and win a seat in the upper chamber. In a Senate primary, she would be facing former Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis whose House seat Cheney took. At this point, Cong. Cheney has months to decide and she has indicated that she will take her time. Both House and Senate GOPers are heavily wooing her (wyofile.com, 7/30/19, politico.com, Zanona, M., 5/08/19). Whatever Liz Cheney decides, she will be a strong hard-right individual constantly opposing Democrats. Democrats must, therefore, vote in droves in 2020 to keep the House, recapture the Senate, and oust Demagogue Donald. With a “Team Blue” trifecta, Liz Cheney will not be able to effectively push her hawkish reactionary ideas.