It's Not About Liz Cheney, It's About The Dumpster Fire That Is The GOP
This is not a post about Liz Cheney.
Okay, well, to be precise, it is a post about Liz Cheney getting booted out of Republican leadership and probably Congress. But in reality it's a story about THEM and US. It's a story about all the times we wondered if the GOP had finally, finally reached the breaking point where Trump's behavior would be so egregious that Republicans would say "enough is enough" and the spell would be broken.
It didn't happen when he attacked Gold Star families who had sacrificed their children in war. It didn't happen with the Access Hollywood tape. It didn't happen when he implored Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's emails. It didn't happen when he cozied up to Putin and shrugged off his seizure of Crimea.
It didn't happen when he blew up NAFTA or started a disastrous trade war with China. You're supposed to threaten to do that shit, while pocketing the benefits of leaving things as they are, dumbass!
It didn't happen when he exploded the debt and raided military funds for his idiotic border wall. It didn't happen when he obstructed the Mueller investigation. It didn't happen when Republicans lost the House in 2018. It didn't happen when he turned public health into a political issue and got 600,000 Americans killed in a viral pandemic.
It didn't even happen when he dispatched a gang of thugs with murder in their eyes to sack Congress.
How could these people abandon everything they ever said they believed in, their "Judeo-Christian" morality, their own safety, not to mention objective reality, for a reprobate carnival barker?
They could, and without difficulty. And we could never get our minds around it.
We who were too pure to stop Ken Starr's nakedly partisan effort to destroy a Democratic president. We who called out Bill Clinton for his disgusting behavior with Monica Lewinsky, which probably wound up costing Al Gore the election. We who meekly accepted the results in Florida in 2000. We who spent a generation tut-tutting over Clinton's inappropriate pardon of Marc Rich. We who frittered away 2016 arguing about coin tosses and whether a teenage Hillary Clinton had supported Barry Goldwater. We who wasted the first four years of the Obama administration trying to make nice with Republicans. We who upheld the filibuster and allowed Mitch McConnell to fill Scalia's seat. We who tossed out Al Franken on principle. We who waited with bated breath to see if Lamar Alexander might actually show some moral courage and demand to see witnesses in Trump's first impeachment. We who somehow still feel the obligation to work with people who are trying to kill us because BIPARTISANSHIP.
We kept expecting them to be like us. And they are not like us.
So, no, this isn't a story about Liz Cheney. This is a story about finally, at long last, when it no longer matters, someone in the GOP finally showing a little goddamn backbone.
Let's be fair — it's a lot of backbone. Cheney knew she'd probably go the way of Justin Amash if she didn't toe the party line, and she did it anyway.
In the New Yorker, Susan Glasser revealed yesterday that it was Cheney, desperately fearful that Trump might stage an actual coup, who orchestrated that January 3 opinion piece in the Post where all 10 living former secretaries of Defense warned the military not to let itself be coopted into helping Trump impede a peaceful transfer of power. That same day she circulated a 21-page memo to her colleagues painstakingly debunking the bogus vote fraud allegations, state by state, and urging them not to contest the results of the election.
The choice was unambiguous: Trump or the truth. And Republicans chose Trump.
Here's Lindsey Graham making that subtext into text: They need Trump to win, so they have to lie to keep him on side.
Lindsey Graham: Can we move forward without President Trump? The answer is no. I’ve always liked Liz Cheney but she… https://t.co/1RHzEir1Aj— Acyn (@Acyn) 1620351722.0
Sure, they can try to dress it up as something else. A distraction from the party's focus on the midterms. Or mouthiness. Or, most bizarrely, retribution for opposing the pullout from Afghanistan, which appears to have originated with Trump's fake tweets calling her a "warmonger" and was immediately picked up by the True Leftists™ at the Intercept.
We are locked into the country with people who will go to war to prove that black is white, and in a couple of weeks, they're going to gin up fraudulent evidence that the election was stolen in Arizona. There will be an entire rightwing media ecosystem ready to pretend that this forgery is real, and it will be so, so ugly. Because these people never tapped out, and they never will.
So, yeah, Liz Cheney is a horrible person and insisting that objective reality is REAL is the very least that she could do to save democracy. But unlike the rest of those craven fuckers, she actually did it.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.