The Hard-Left’s Purity Tests

Liz Cheney is standing up to Donald Trump and will likely lose her leadership position, and probably her seat in Congress, because of it. But that’s not good enough for Charles Blow and others in the purity business.

Blow is a columnist for the New York Times who vowed to remain red-hot angry for every day of Trump’s term. He did and, in the process, made himself pretty much unreadable. You would think, after four years of outrage, the man would want to take a break and be a little bit, I don’t know, happy maybe?

No sir. Blow continues to blow hot and hotter. In his latest diatribe, headlined “Liz Cheney, We Have a Memory. You’re No Hero,” he recounts how Cheney has spent her career… being a Republican. She was a practical Republican politician who took mainstream Republican positions. She ended up supporting Donald Trump in 2016 because he was the party’s nominee, but she wasn’t an especially early supporter.

Blow faults her for admitting that Trump’s sexist comments in the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape were “appalling” but then going on to compare that to Hillary Clinton’s email issues. Yes, that was a stretch, but it was a standard Republican talking point.

Then Blow goes on to charge guilt by association. He piles on the sins of her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney did support water boarding and that is, I agree, a horrible stain on his record. And Liz Cheney did make statements in support of her father’s position — she shouldn’t have. That was bad.

But Dick Cheney also said that Trump’s Muslim ban, “goes against everything we stand for and believe in.” He also joined other former defense secretaries in a letter to Trump urging him to accept the results of the 2020 election. But Blow gives the elder Cheney no credit. He puts it down to just a dynastic duel.

Liz Cheney isn’t pure. She must be destroyed.

Liz Cheney was one of 10 House Republicans who had the courage to vote to impeach Trump after he inspired the violent Capitol insurrection. But, for Blow and his ilk, that washes away no sins. In fact, for the hard-left no sin may ever be washed away. Not even for inanimate objects.

Even late night talk show comedian Seth Meyers got into the act. “She’s a pro-war torture apologist who supported Trump in 2016 and helped make the modern G.O.P. what it is today,” said Meyers. There was a punchline after that, but it was such an obscure reference to the 1970’s sitcom M*A*S*H that I had to go look it up — and when I got it, it wasn’t all that funny. Meyer’s point wasn’t the joke, but to show how in tune he is with the woke.

Finally, let’s step back and do something that the hard-left never does: think about this strategically. We’ve got a Republican woman standing up to a bully ex-president and his henchmen, and doing so by simply telling the truth. She will pay a high price for this, which should make the Republicans look even worse, even crazier, even meaner. The fact that she has been a loyal Republican up until this point, and even once supported Trump, should make her opposition to him now even more compelling.

Instead, the hard-left wants to change the narrative to something like: This horrible, torture-supporting woman now wants us to think she can redeem herself by just saying what we all know to be true. Well, we’ve got your number, Liz Cheney!

The narrative of Liz Cheney as martyr, that Blow and Meyers are so eager to debunk, brings into even more stark relief just how far gone the Republicans are. It’s so good that even some Republicans, like columnist Peggy Noonan, are carrying it forward. But I am not getting how pointing out Cheney’s impurity, compared to hard-left standards, helps the broader cause.

But to the hard-left, that’s not the point. The point is to always be right. We must seek out impurities and we must destroy the tainted. Only those without sin may survive. It makes for a small movement.


Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

3 thoughts on “The Hard-Left’s Purity Tests

  1. Folks like Blow and Meyers are acting as if this were an effort by Cheney to curry favor with the the left and redeem her misguided conservative past. But she is not asking for their forgiveness, so their pointed refusals to forgive her sound pretty ridiculous.

    Fun Liz Cheney fact: She was born at the old Madison General Hospital on Park Street.


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