Members of the GOP caucus seem ready to remove from leadership someone brave enough to tell the truth and stand up to a bullying ex-president.
Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney, who was elected by her colleagues to the third-highest position in the House Republican leadership, is about to lose that job. Not because of scandal or failure to support Republican principles, but because she voted for former President Donald Trump’s impeachment and dismissed — correctly — his claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
“I believe that Rep. Cheney does not represent the Republican conference and should not be a part of our leadership team. Unfortunately, Rep. Cheney is seriously out of step with Republicans and is no longer capable of effectively leading the party,” claimed U.S. Rep. Mary Miller of Oakland, who is among those who will vote today to oust Cheney from her leadership position.
This vote is the kind of inside-the-
beltway issue that doesn’t matter to most Americans. But it should matter to Republicans and independents, because it will help determine the direction of the Republican Party, at least in the near term.
Do party leaders want to remain securely attached to a presidential candidate who lost by 7 million votes, whose reality is obscured by baseless claims of widespread vote fraud and whose idea of American idealism is to provoke an insurrection?
Apparently, they do, as do leaders at the National Republican Congressional Committee, who last month failed to divulge any of the evidence of weak polling by Trump in battleground districts.
“Trump’s unfavorable ratings were 15 points higher than his favorable ones in the core districts, according to the full polling results,” the Washington Post reported. “Nearly twice as many voters had a strongly unfavorable view of the former president as had a strongly favorable one.”
Other recent polling has found similar slippage in support for the former president.
The real irony of the effort to remove Cheney is that she is a traditional conservative in matters of policy and principle. She wrote earlier this month that “we Republicans need to stand for genuinely conservative principles, and steer away from the dangerous and anti-democratic Trump cult of personality. In our hearts, we are devoted to the American miracle. We believe in the rule of law, in limited government, in a strong national defense, and in prosperity and opportunity brought by low taxes and fiscally conservative policies.”
That’s the same kind of traditional Midwestern conservatism espoused by Rep. Adam Kinzinger, another target of Trump’s bullying, that the party needs to honor and adhere to. To do otherwise is to creep into the perilous fog of Trumpism.