When Representative Liz Cheney was stripped of her House leadership position last week, she was treated to days of glowing mainstream media headlines hailing her as a hero for her willingness to speak out against the “big lie,” the claim that irregularities occurred in the 2020 election. The media further claimed that Cheney was a martyr, a victim of retribution after her supposedly brave impeachment vote against Donald Trump—which was in truth nothing more than an act of political grandstanding.
Otto Von Bismarck remarked that the key to success in politics is to ensure that one never believes one’s own lies. It is increasingly clear that the Left, the anti-Trumpers, and Cheney herself show every sign of believing their own lies—evidently expecting that Liz Cheney could somehow maintain her leadership position even while making it a personal mission to assail her own party.
In reality, Cheney was neither a hero nor a martyr. The media characterization of last week’s events was an almost complete fabrication of their imaginations.
The most obvious falsehood is the idea that Cheney was removed from her position for speaking out about the events of January 6th. While other Republicans have faced backlash from the conservative base after criticizing President Trump, Cheney is the only one who was removed from a leadership position because she is the only one who made this criticism her entire reason for being. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also criticized Trump in harsh terms in January, yet he has maintained his position within the caucus and the party. McConnell has since more or less moved on from the matter, unlike Cheney, who has spent recent months echoing the talking points of the left-wing media in a manner designed to inflict maximum damage on Congressional Republicans.
Neither her criticism of Trump nor her impeachment vote was the reason for Cheney’s ouster last week. Indeed, Cheney was reelected to her position by a lopsided margin of 145 to 61 on February 6th, 2021—less than a month after she voted to impeach the president. While this was arguably unwise at the time—and obviously so in retrospect—the decision to reelect Cheney to party leadership showed a remarkable tolerance of diversity by the Republican Caucus. It is hard to imagine the Democrats keeping an individual in their leadership who would break with party orthodoxy even so much as to publicly utter the phrase “only women can give birth.”
What doomed Cheney was her decision to display a trait more in common with Democrats and the modern Left, namely an unwillingness to tolerate differences of opinion in turn. Having been reelected overwhelmingly by a caucus she had broken with, she proceeded to continue to run around and suggest that nearly all of her Republican colleagues, including more than 130 Republicans who had just voted to reelect her, were unethical, immoral, and wrong.
These colleagues had just struck their necks out and risked their own careers to keep her in her House leadership position. She then used that position to stab them all in the back.
There was an additional problem. How could Cheney credibly tell voters that they should cast their ballots for Republican Congressmen and candidates who were by her own definition “cowards” in thrall to the “big lie?” Cheney was not thrown out because of her views but because she was actively undermining her own colleagues and absurdly implying that her party was a danger to the Constitution. In short, she was promoting herself at their expense. If she really felt as strongly about the issues as she claimed, she should have had the decency to step down from her leadership position in protest against her colleagues. She didn’t. Instead, she used them for fame and cheap grace from the media.
For years, the media and the Left have been casting the Cheneys as self-serving opportunists with no loyalty to anyone, willing to throw friends and even family overboard when no longer needed. Liz Cheney herself was accused of callously betraying her own sister (who is gay) by opposing same-sex marriage. If the Left had the capacity for self-reflection, they would see Cheney’s unseemly behavior as the vindication it actually is. Instead, just when they have been proven right about the Cheney clan, the media and the Left is embracing the family and suddenly turning them into exemplars of political courage. We never thought we would live to see the day.