Imagine General Dwight Eisenhower on June 6, 1944, speaking to the troops and after saying, “You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you,” he tosses in a, “But not Italians, or Irish, and certainly not any of you from California because Californians suck. I hope they get shot. When the bullets start flying, use those people as human shields.” How would that go over? Not well.
Would you follow that guy into battle? Hell no. Even if you weren’t Irish, Italian, or from California, how could anyone trust him?
Now imagine if you’d found out that Eisenhower, as a side gig, was selling surplus ammunition and weapons to the Germans. “Hey, it’s just sitting around not being used, and they asked if I’d sell it to them,” or some such thing. Would anyone have faith in him?
Absolutely not. Yet, that’s what Liz Cheney has done as House Republican Conference Chair. And that’s why she has to go.
Her failure is not because she doesn’t like Donald Trump, that is the least important part of this whole drama, but because she can’t do the job. Her job is to hold the caucus together and advance the Republican agenda. She can’t do it, and it’s all her fault.
Cheney’s raging case of Trump Derangement Syndrome aside, she has fired down her own trench too many times. Leaders, effective leaders, don’t attack their own troops. They can have differences with individuals, but when the chips are down, everyone has to be pulling in the same direction.
Imagine taking part in a tug-of-war and the person behind you, one of your own team members, is expending some of their energy kicking you in the back and cursing your existence. That’s what Liz Cheney has been doing when attacking other Republicans in Congress.
Feeling contempt for someone is one thing, being unable to contain it is another. Leaders need to contain it.
More than the contempt she can’t contain, Liz Cheney continues to make a mistake that shows a trait no Republican leader should ever have – she takes the bait from the media.
It’s clear she despises former President Trump. She voted with his agenda more than 90 percent of the time, but on a personal level she simply cannot stand him. And when asked by an eager media drooling for someone to play the John McCain role in the Congress, she answered the call.
Whether she did so willingly or out of some Pavlovian inability to control herself doesn’t matter, she did it. That’s all that matters. Every time asked, she can’t stop herself from going after the former President.
That she can’t stand him, or believes he incited a riot January 6th doesn’t matter, a leader has to bite their tongue every once in a while. Whenever a reporter wants a quote or to stir the pot with Republicans, she’s all too happy to oblige. We get it, now shut up already.
But it’s too late for that. Just as it’s too late for her to stop publicly criticizing some of her fellow Republicans in Congress. She’s done it, repeatedly. And that’s why she can’t be in leadership.
Whether she stays in Congress is up to her and the people of Wyoming, but she can’t be in leadership.
The vote this week should be a formality, Republicans can’t have a leader who can’t control themselves. More than that, she should recognize the problems she created for herself and resign her leadership position before a vote his held. If she cares at all about the Republican Party or the cause of conservatism, she should publicly admit she lost her head and realizes she can no longer be the caucus chair. A little bit of publicly eaten crow would do what she hasn’t been able to do so far in 2021: help the party.
Short of that, she’s continuing to aid Democrats. A vote to remove her would once again rehash all the bad publicity and damage that led her to this point. So the real question isn’t whether or not she should go, it’s whether or not she’ll do as much damage as possible on her way out the door. Before the vote is the last chance she has to be the person she should have been the whole time. Let’s hope she takes it, but it’s unlikely. If she had doing the right thing in her she wouldn’t be in this position in the first place.