There’s been a lot of scathing commentary about the Liz Cheney mishigas on my social media feeds. I get it: She’s a hardcore right-wing neo-conservative. She’s not a conservative with redeeming characteristics like Willard Mittbot Romney, Lisa Murkowski, or Michael Steele. She’s her father’s daughter. Christian Bale compared Dick to a certain insalubrious figure after playing him in Vice.
I understand the anti-Cheney sentiment. I’ve been known to call her daddy Vice President Duce, after all.
Having said that, I still admire her stand against creeping Fascism in her party. She’s not a hero for opposing Trump’s BIG LIE but she *is* a patriot for doing so.
One of the most important features of our democracy is the peaceful transfer of power. Cheney considers herself an arch-Reaganite. Here’s what her main man said in his first inaugural address:
To a few of us here today this is a solemn and most momentous occasion, and yet in the history of our nation it is a commonplace occurrence. The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place, as it has for almost two centuries, and few of us stop to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this every 4-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.
Cheney is, of course, well to the right of the former president but she agrees with the sentiments expressed in that speech. I do too. In contrast, Pennywise’s inaugural address was about American Carnage.
As always, the MSM has mischaracterized the Cheney-KMac mishigas. It’s not a civil war, it’s a purge. Veteran pundit and former RFK aide, Jeff Greenfield, pointed that out at Politico Magazine:
…beyond a few spats that make headlines, it’s getting harder to detect any serious division among rank-and-file Republicans. In Congress, and at the grassroots, the dominance of Donald Trump over the party is more or less total. The small handful who denounced the former president for his massive lies about the election and his seeding of an insurrectionist riot are now either silent, or have embraced a mealy-mouthed argument for “election integrity.” The same state officials who pushed back against Trump’s attempt to overturn November’s results have embraced a series of restrictive voting measures ostensibly designed to combat non-existent “fraud,” all aimed at hobbling voters inclined to vote for Democrats. Mitch McConnell, who denounced Trump’s behavior in high-minded tones in the aftermath of the riot, also—on the exact same day—voted to exonerate him of wrongdoing.
The pattern is striking: if you want to survive as a Republican official, you will support the former president; if you support the former president, you will support laws that reflect his conviction that the election was stolen; if you enact those rules, you are making it more possible that he will win a second term. The party is talking with one voice; the voice is Trump’s, and it’s one that plenty of Americans are still perfectly receptive to.
Repeat after me: It’s a purge, not a civil war.
The word purge is associated with a specific historical figure: Joseph Stalin. In the 1930’s, he ruthlessly purged senior comrades from the Soviet Communist Party until he was one of the few original Bolsheviks alive.
That brings me to the post title and the featured image of Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill at the Teheran Conference in 1943. It was imperative to defeat Nazism, so FDR understood that there was no choice but to ride with the Soviet devil. The war against Nazism could not have been won without the Red Army, so we rode with the devil then broke up with it after the war.
America also rode with a lesser devil in Winston Churchill. Churchill was an unabashed reactionary with redeeming characteristics. He was a great orator, first-rate writer, and a good drinking buddy. BUT Churchill was a racist and imperialist who in addition to fighting for freedom fought Nazi Germany to keep the British Empire intact. Mercifully, he lost the 1945 general election to Clement Atlee’s Labour Party who knew that the Empire was doomed.
Liz Cheney is somewhere between Stalin and Churchill on the devil scale. She’s no Stalin but she’s not a convivial companion such as Churchill. Churchill got drunk because he enjoyed it. Stalin got drunk in order to manipulate, control, and humiliate his sycophants. The Kaiser of Chaos does the same thing only stone cold sober.
If we could work with Stalin and Churchill to defeat Hitlerism and Japanese imperialism, we can work with Liz Cheney to defeat Trumpism. She’s right on the survival of American democracy and wrong on everything else.
We face an existential threat to our democracy. We have to take our allies where we can find them. I would never vote for Liz Cheney or anyone who shared her views but sometimes you have to ride with the devil. This is one of those times.
The last word goes to New Orleans’ own Paul Sanchez: