No, not him. Her:
Ms. Cheney, 46, is showing up everywhere in the state, from chicken dinners to cattle growers’ meetings, sometimes with her parents in tow. She has made it clear that she wants to run for the Senate seat now held by Michael B. Enzi, a soft-spoken Republican and onetime fly-fishing partner of her father. But Ms. Cheney’s move threatens to start a civil war within the state’s Republican establishment, despite the reverence many hold for her family. Mr. Enzi, 69, says he is not ready to retire, and many Republicans say he has done nothing to deserve being turned out. It would bring about “the destruction of the Republican Party of Wyoming if she decides to run and he runs, too,” Alan K. Simpson, a former Republican senator from the state, said in an interview last week. “It’s a disaster — a divisive, ugly situation — and all it does is open the door for the Democrats for 20 years.”
The developments underscore the complicated relationship between the Beltway-centered Cheney family and the sparsely populated state that provided its political base. Dick and Lynne Cheney, who divide their time between McLean, Va., a home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and a house near Jackson Hole, Wyo., are widely admired here. Liz Cheney, who grew up in McLean and moved her family to the Jackson Hole area last year, is eager to establish her Cowboy State credentials, peppering social media sites with photos of her children’s horse-riding competitions and descriptions of Wyoming as “God’s Country.” Ms. Cheney’s ambitions reflect a greater tension within the Republican Party as a younger generation feels less reluctance to challenge incumbents in the party, especially if they are seen as too consensus-minded or insufficiently conservative.
In an interview last week after a town hall-style meeting at the county fairgrounds here, a few feet from a plaque marking the site of Mr. Cheney’s first political speech, Mr. Enzi revealed that Ms. Cheney told him this year that she was thinking about challenging him in 2014. “She called me and said that she’s looking at it,” he said. And did Ms. Cheney ask Mr. Enzi, now in his third term, if he was planning to run again? “No,” Mr. Enzi said...Enzi said he had not recently heard from the man he calls his “good friend." "I would expect that he’d call before she declares,” Mr. Enzi said of Mr. Cheney.
Jon Kyl set an important example by not running in '12. It helps party and country to retire at the right time. http://t.co/zTQISVx8b5”— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) July 7, 2013
Cheney may well be a little more conservative than Enzi, but going after a 90+% conservative is fratricide. Perhaps, if Ms. Cheney decides to seek the Wyoming seat, she will be able to articulate a compelling rationale for her candidacy. But for now, this looks like exactly the kind of primary challenge that conservative Republicans should not be mounting. Cheney is neither significantly more conservative than Enzi nor significantly more electable; her real advantage as a primary candidate is that she is significantly more glamorous. That isn’t enough.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography
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