Read Liz Cheney’s book and cry. American democracy depends on the details

FILE - Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., listens as the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds its final meeting Dec. 6 on Capitol Hill in Washington.  August 19, 2022. Cheney has a memoir and a warning coming out of this case.  In Oath and Honor, she will write about her estrangement from former President Donald Trump and the Republican Party in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, file)

(Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)

Read Liz Cheney’s book and cry. American democracy depends on the details

Opinion piece, Elections 2024

Robin Abcarian

Dec. 10, 2023

You don’t read a book like former U.S. Representative from Wyoming, Liz Cheney

tell everything

looking for literary pearls.

You read it to find out what happened behind the scenes in Congress after the 2020 election, when Donald Trump’s Republican sycophants and enablers plotted with him to overturn the results

of legitimate American elections

. You read it to remember how worthless Trump was when he was in power, and to remind yourself of exactly what he is capable of should the nightmare of a second Trump term come true.

Oh, and of course you read it, because who could ever get enough of revelations about the backbone and betrayals of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy? God, what a snake. No, skip that. Snakes actually have spines.

After vigorously blaming Trump for January 6, McCarthy went to Mar-a-Lago to suck up to former President Cheney

writes in “Oath and Honor,”


he needed money.

Nearly every major corporate donor had threatened to withdraw support from Republicans who voted against the proposal




Ollege votes.


McCarthy is the one and only


Because his skill was raising money, she says, he was desperate to gain access to Trump’s extensive lists of small-dollar donors. “To use those lists,” she writes, “Kevin Donald Trump would have to help cover up the stain of his attack on our democracy.”

Like many who lean politically left, I have no abiding affection for the Cheney family.


I’m against almost everything I support: reproductive rights, renewable energy, the Affordable Care Act, immigration reform, you name it. I was shocked by the bellicose behavior of then-Vice President Dick Cheney and the manipulation of then-President George W. Bush. And I’ve never forgotten that Liz Cheney boycotted her gay sister Mary’s wedding in 2012. She

later she said it was wrong

but her absence

how downright cruel.

Then imagine my surprise when a tear welled up in my eyes after reading about a particularly charged moment between Liz and her father on New Year’s Day 2021.

On Dec. On August 26, 2020, David Ignatius of the Washington Post had written a column with a dire warning about Trump’s plans after the election. Shortly after losing, Trump fired Sr




department officials and installed loyalists in their place, an unprecedented move by a lame-duck president. Was he stacking the military deck to invoke the Insurrection Act and stay in office?

A delegation of senior Republicans, Ignatius wrote, should visit Trump and tell him in no uncertain terms that he has lost. There were two problems, however, as Cheney writes. First of all, no

enough senior Republican officials would be willing to risk Trump’s wrath, and second, it was clear that it would be futile to personally urge Trump to do something against his self-interest.

Father and daughter came up with a plan: Dick Cheney was a former Secretary of Defense, so together

they would contact the nine other living former defense ministers and ask them to sign a public letter urging a peaceful transfer of power.

Attempts to involve the U.S. military in resolving election disputes, the 10 secretaries wrote, would take us into dangerous, illegal, and unconstitutional territory.

As Liz Cheney prepares to return to Washington from Wyoming

in January 2021

Her father hugged her and then, she wrote, he looked at me and said with steel in his voice, “Defend the Republic, daughter.” “

I want, daddy, she replied. Always.

Unlike many of Cheney’s critics, I see nothing here that is self-important or selfish.

Liz Cheney is one of the few heroic, high-profile Republicans who

were was

willing to do the right thing after the 2020 election, even if it meant sacrificing her job and her political prospects.

Surprisingly, her book is not all grim.

Early in Cheney’s first term in the House of Representatives, she writes, the obnoxious Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio asked her to join his far-right Freedom Caucus. His pitch? We don’t have women and we need one.

As tempting as this offer was, she said dryly


comments, I took a pass.

Her memory of the debate among her colleagues over whether to kick her out of her leadership position for voting to impeach Trump is priceless.

Representative Elise Stefanik of New York

wanted Cheney’s head


from Stefanik

Voters wrote letters to their local newspapers asking why their representative had not taken the same principled stand against Trump as Cheney. (Many of us who knew Elise before she abandoned all principles were curious to know how she lost her sense of right and wrong, Cheney writes.)

Some male colleagues in the House of Representatives simply did not appreciate Cheney


. Ralph Normal from South Carolina kept repeating that his problem with me was my attitude: You just have such a challenging attitude! (So ​​unladylike!)

Pennsylvania’s Mike Kelly was hurt by Cheney’s early statement in favor of Trump’s impeachment. It’s like you’re playing the biggest game of your life, he lamented, and you see your girlfriend sitting on the opponent’s side.”

Female members objected loudly.

Yes, Cheney said. I’m not your girlfriend.

On January 6, 2022, a year after the attack by deeply deluded Trump supporters, many of whom face lengthy prison sentences for their crimes, a small ceremony and moment of silence took place that day on the floor of the House of Representatives. Only two Republicans showed up: Liz Cheney and her father.

The following month, Cheney and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, the two Republicans who served on the January 6 House committee, were convicted by the Republican National Committee of participating in a Democratic-led prosecution of ordinary citizens engaged in with legitimate political discourse.

Cheney was, as always, unbowed. “I do not recognize those in my party who have abandoned the Constitution to embrace Donald Trump,” she responded at the time. History will judge it.

In her book she reflects on the moment: the resolution reflected a political party that had lost its principles and, frankly, seemed to be led by idiots.

Unfortunately it is still the case.



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