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Not My Party: Liz Cheney Unchained

Switching from Cheney to Stefanik is pure nihilism.
May 13, 2021

“We cannot be dragged backward by the very dangerous lies of the former president.” [Rep. Liz Cheney]

Liz Cheney has been cast out from her position in Republican leadership and is facing a Trump-backed primary challenge next fall, for thought crimes against the orange god-king.

Yes, that Liz Cheney: daughter of Dick, conservative hardass, military hawk, voted with Trump 93 percent of the time. Liz is so “severely conservative” that in her first campaign, she came out against gay marriage, selling out her own sister fergodssakes. So why would Republicans want to break up with her so badly?

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wants you to think that this is about Cheney’s ability to “carry out the message.” Let me translate that for you: For McCarthy, the insurrection is the message. Because Cheney is on board with all of the policy critiques of Biden. So the only “message” that she refuses to carry is that he stole the election.

“President Trump spread the notion that the election had been stolen. People have been lied to.” [Cheney]

Here’s what this really comes down to. Cheney’s ouster is about one thing, and one thing only: Liddle Donny Trump’s feelings. Liddle Donny couldn’t take the fact that “Sleepy Joe” wiped the floor with him in November. So he perpetrated the Big Lie about how the election was stolen to save face. If the losing candidate had been someone with integrity, with the manhood, to admit that they lost and put the country ahead of their own ego, then Cheney would still be in leadership, and we could all have moved on to arguing about fiscal restraint and the size of Joe Biden’s package (for infrastructure).

But we can’t. Because Liddly Donny is throwing a tantrum down in South Florida, and all of his butt boys in Congress are rushing to coddle him. Need more proof that this is all about defending the insurrection and placating the hurt feelings of one man-child? House Republicans are replacing Cheney with Rep. Elise Stefanik.

Elise has been a moderate, neocon, establishment Republican who voted with Trump less than Cheney—just 78 percent of the time. I worked with her on the Republican Party “autopsy” in 2012 that argued we need to make the party more welcoming to marginalized groups. During the 2016 campaign, she was so grossed out by Trump that she couldn’t even bring herself to say his name.

But when Trump won, Stefanik adapted. She defended him during both impeachments, voted to overturn the election, and last week she went full batsh*t, making an appearance on disgraced bigot “Sloppy” Steve Bannon’s podcast to praise the preposterous Arizona audit that’s looking into whether the ballots were tainted with bamboo shards from China.

Switching from Cheney to Stefanik is pure nihilism. It’s punishing one person for speaking the truth and advancing another for their shameless in spreading a lie.

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump, communications director for Jeb Bush 2016, and spokesman for the Republican National Committee.