Saturday, August 20, 2022

Both Sides Now

Liz Cheney is not an enigma. We know who she is and has been; also, what she wants. It's not quite Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, yet:

In her concession speech Wednesday night, Cheney stated "I believe deeply in the principles and the ideals on which my party was founded. I love its history. And I love what our party has stood for. But I love my country more." For the prosecution, Charlie Pierce responded

Really? Its whole history, especially since 1965 or so? Did you love your party's Southern strategy? Did you love the Gingrich days? Did you love its turn toward voter suppression, crackpot economics, and the waterboard? Did you love it during the Schiavo fiasco, when GOP members of Congress threatened judges the way that so seems to bother you now? Did you love all the tactics employed in Florida, which included the possibility of fake electors, that put your Pops into the vice presidency so he’d be there to turn the country into a country that tortures? Or is it only Cheneys who can traduce the Constitution?

Well, O.K.  However, Cheney can remain the conservative she prides herself in being and yet be no hypocrite. Pierce challenges her to prove her mettle by supporting Democrats in critical races in Ohio, Wisconsin, Georgia, or Pennsylvania.  (My vote would be Ohio.) But that's expecting a little much for Cheney who, after all, is still a Republican. Whatever credibility she has left as a Republican- or even as a small "i" independent voice- would be erased.

Voting rights, however, is an issue inextricably- and for Cheney thus far, inconveniently- intertwined with her effort to prevent the triumph of authoritarianism at home.   Cheney needs to signal her support either for reconsideration of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act or opposition to the independent state legislative doctrine the High Court has taken up in Moore vs. Harper.  Sometimes, "the Supreme Court follows the election returns."

That may not happen, but it's hard to overestimate the congresswoman's contribution to the destruction of Donald J. Trump and the threat he poses to democracy.  The past couple of weeks, we applaud Attorney General Merrick Garland for his decision to order the search of Mar-a-Lago. As far as is known, this had nothing to do with the attempted coup of January 6, 2021.

Nonetheless, it was related to the investigation into that coup.   Neither Garland nor anyone else in his department is unaware of the hearings into the insurrection, nor the further doubts it has raised about commitment of the former President to the Great American Experiment. to survival of the nation as a republic. Donald Trump has been wounded, slightly or significantly.

The betting here is that wound would not have been inflicted without Lynne Ann Cheney. She gave the committee bipartisan credibility it would have lacked if Adam Kinzinger were its lone Republican.  There is real doubt that sans Cheney there would have been any Democrat (nor Kinzinger) willing to play the attack dog- and if there were, that she or he would have been as effective. There would have been Democratic members satisfied to send the Democratic street the message that Donald Trump is a very bad man- and to leave it at that.

LIz Cheney won't leave it at that. This isn't to suggest that she's a friend to Democrats or even that her commitment to a fully Democratic society is complete.  For Democrats, retention of both congressional chambers is primary, defeat of Donald Trump secondary. Cheney wants to destroy Donald Trump. And that's why, at the moment, this tweeter has it right:


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