Despite primary ouster, expect to see Liz Cheney even more

She is the face of the January 6 committee, a staple on cable news, particularly CNN and MSNBC. And now she will be referred to as “former congresswoman Liz Cheney” after being blown out in Wyoming’s Republican primary, losing her seat as that state’s only member of the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Cheney, 56, is not about to leave the national stage anytime soon, though. After all, she fits the perfect profile for what qualifies for a conservative voice on CNN, MSNBC or the big-three networks these days: Sure, you may not support abortion or raising taxes, but if you really, really loathe Donald Trump, that makes you an honorary member of the Lincoln Project and a shoe-in for a guest-hosting spot as the token conservative on “The View.”

Cheney is one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January 2021. So far, seven of those lawmakers who voted along with Cheney have been successfully primaried or saw the writing on the wall and retired; her ouster makes it eight out of 10.

The vote to impeach Trump can be tied directly to her downfall: Her disapproval rating in Wyoming was just 26 percent in 2020; after the vote, her disapproval rose to 72 percent. Considering Trump won 70 percent of the vote in the Cowboy State, this all makes sense. 

“If I have to choose between maintaining a seat in the House of Representatives or protecting the constitutional republic and ensuring the American people know the truth about Donald Trump, I’m going to choose the Constitution and the truth every single day,” Cheney said recently, adding that she thinks the Republican Party is “very sick.” And before you think this is only about Cheney and Trump, Cheney apparently isn’t a fan of fellow Republican Ron DeSantis, either, calling the popular Florida governor “very dangerous.” 

The headlines for the Cheney brand over the years have gone from her father being referred to as a war criminal and “Darth Cheney” to words as glowing as anything we’ve seen since the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) voted down the GOP’s attempt to repeal ObamaCare in 2017. Some samples: 

The New York Times: “Liz Cheney Is Ready to Lose. But She’s Not Ready to Quit”

The Atlantic: “Liz Cheney, the Republican From the State of Reality”

The New Yorker: “Liz Cheney’s Revenge on Donald Trump — and Her Own Party”

It’s funny how none of these glowing profiles mentioned Cheney embracing the way the House select committee’s Jan. 6 hearings have proceeded in very un-American fashion, because it has been anything but an honest presentation or pursuit of the facts. We know this because any fair hearing has this thing called “cross-examination,” which has been nonexistent in these made-for-TV hearings that began months ago. When challenged on that by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Cheney responded in a defensive, condescending fashion. 

“I think what you’ve seen over the last few weeks is why Anglo-American jurisprudence going back centuries has found that adversarial inquiry, cross-examination is the best way to get at the truth,” Cotton told radio host Hugh Hewitt. “There is no one on that committee who takes a view different from (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi, or even a view that’s like, ‘We should examine the full context of all of these statements, of all of these recordings, of all of this video.’” 

Later, Cheney replied with an irrelevant point in a tweet: “Here’s a tip: actually watching [the hearings] before rendering judgment is more consistent with “Anglo-American jurisprudence.’”

Something else Cheney doesn’t talk much about in major speeches is the state of the country under President Biden. Take, for example, her speech at the famed Reagan Library earlier this summer: On major issues where Democrats and the president are polling poorly, here’s how many times she broached those topics, according to a transcript:

Inflation: once. 

Crime: zero 

Education: zero 

Ukraine: zero 

Abortion: zero 

Supreme Court: zero 

Gas: zero 

Energy: zero 

She was running to keep her House seat, correct? Or is she running for president in 2024? 

“I do think as we look towards the next presidential election, as I said, you know, I believe that our nation stands on the edge of an abyss and I do believe that we all have to really think very seriously about the dangers we face and the threats we face and we have to elect serious candidates,” Cheney said while sharing that she hadn’t made a decision on whether to run.

It is not difficult to see a scenario in which Cheney is either on cable news multiple times per day talking about the dangers of Donald Trump or running a presidential campaign, one based not on fixing the country’s multiple crises (federal overspending, urban crime, a wide-open southern border, fentanyl deaths, an education system lagging well behind other countries) but solely on Trump, which many in our media will certainly give tons of attention in amplifying. 

Both paths lead to one thing American cable-news viewers have gotten accustomed to seeing this summer: Liz Cheney. Lots of Liz Cheney. And the subject she’ll mostly be talking about: Donald Trump. Lots of Donald Trump. 

Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist.

Tags Biden Jan. 6 House committee Liz Cheney Liz Cheney Liz Cheney reelection liz cheney wyoming political storm jan 6 capitol riot insurrection commission republican gop division former president donald trump supporters base Tom Cotton

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