It shouldn’t require massive amounts of political courage to simply acknowledge that a president who lost an election by seven million votes, well, actually lost the election.
But it’s a measure of just how far gone the Republican Party is right now that Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming will now almost certainly lose her House leadership position because she stubbornly clings to reality.
Cheney headlined a group of 10 brave House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in the wake of the violent Capitol insurrection that he inspired. She weathered two subsequent no-confidence votes in her own caucus for that, but only because Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had her back.
But now Cheney has committed a truly unpardonable offense: she has doubled down on reality. Yesterday, in yet another moment worthy of comic opera, the former President issued a “proclamation” declaring that “from this day forward” the legitimate election that he lost would be forever known as “the big lie.” Oh, I’m sorry, he actually wrote, “THE BIG LIE.” (I assume anyone who doesn’t use all caps would be part of THE BIG LIE.)
Cheney fired right back on Twitter, writing, “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”
Such blatant truth-telling was too much for McCarthy. Off camera he told Fox News hosts that he was “done with her.” On camera he essentially said that he was done with her.
In addition to wrecklessly spreading truths, Cheney has been accused of civility. She took heat for fist-bumping with Biden before his speech before Congress last week. She defended herself, saying that, “We’re not sworn enemies. We’re Americans.” The audacity!
Even the Wall Street Journal won’t be able to save her now. The Journal urged Republicans to focus on opposing Pres. Joe Biden’s spending plans, but the paper labors under the misimpression that the GOP cares about policy. It doesn’t. The party is the Cult of Trump, and his unhinged grievances are their unhinged grievances.
Not only will Cheney most likely lose her leadership office, she’ll also very likely lose her Congressional seat should she even try to keep it. She’ll still be okay. She’ll write a book and probably get a job on MSNBC. She’ll make a bunch of money and she’ll still have a voice, but she’ll be preaching to the converted.
Her real value would have been to be a persistent voice for reality and reason in her own party. But Republicans will expel her, and with her goes any small glimmer of hope that the party might move beyond Trump and the BIG LIES he pushes.