Liz Cheney, Dick Cheney and the Rule of Law

By Dr. Binoy Kampmark

Global Research, May 24, 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version). 

Visit and follow us on Instagram at @crg_globalresearch.

***

One could not accuse US Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming of having a sense of irony. For some time, she has felt her party to be the hostage of a ghoulish monster who refuses to be slayed.  And she fears her party has fallen out of love for the rule of law.

In being ousted from the third spot in the leadership of the Republican Conference in the House, Cheney has found a new morality. In her floor speech, she called Donald Trump’s canard of a stolen election a “threat America has never seen before.”  Opposing Trump’s interpretation of the result was a “duty”.

“I will not sit back and watch in silence, while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins in the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy.” 

After her speech, she told reporters that she would “do everything” she could “to ensure that the former president never gets anywhere near the Oval Office. 

Cheney’s seemingly shabby treatment led such papers as the Washington Post to remark that truth was again under assault. “Truth is the issue upon which Cheney has made her stand – truth and her unwillingness to be silent for the supposed good of the team.” 

Peter Wehner, who served in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and the two Bushes, saw the event as a “confirmation that the Republican party is diseased and dangerous, increasingly subversive and illiberal”.  Eric Lutz, writing in Vanity Fair, called the Cheney display “defiant”, laying “bare the cowardice of her colleagues who, with their vote on Wednesday, affirmed what had long been clear: The GOP is the cult of Trump now, and fealty the price of admission.”

This is gruesomely fascinating on a few levels, given that Cheney comes from a family rather snotty about such concepts as the rule of law, verisimilitude and the Constitution.  Her father Dick Cheney, the Vice Presidential dark operator in the administration of George W. Bush, was not exactly strong on such ideas, and proved rather subversive and illiberal in a number of ways. Old Dick, along with his lawyer David Addington and John Yoo of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, did much to read executive power in a manner most imperial in nature.

For Dick Cheney, US executive power needed to be restored after the damaging effects of Watergate and the Vietnam War.  The time that followed, he lamented to reporters on Air Force Two in 2005, proved to be “the nadir of the modern presidency in terms of authority and legitimacy”. 

It is true to say that Trump also preferred a broad reading of executive power, one all too readily articulated by former Attorney General William Barr. But Cheney, Addington and Yoo were responsible for views that justified the bypassing and defanging of Congress, wiretapping of US citizens, torture of terrorist suspects, the establishment of military commissions, the breaching of international treaties and the waging of illegal wars.  Such conduct has caused more than a smattering of commentary urging the prosecution of both Dick Cheney and President George W. Bush for a range of offences in both domestic and international law.   

It would be churlish to claim that a father’s blackened record should somehow compromise that of his daughter’s.  But the co-authored father and daughter work Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America repeats the old neoconservative interventionist sins that were so important in laying the ground for a Trump victory in 2016.  Father Dick and Daughter Liz supply an apologia for such murderous disasters as Iraq while piling into President Barack Obama whom they stop short of accusing of treason.  “The touchstone of his ideology – that America is to blame, and her power must be restrained – requires a wilful blindness about what America has done in the world.”   

In 2009, Liz Cheney, along with fellow neoconservative Bill Kristol, co-founded Keep America Safe, an outfit steeped in a tattered worldview that proceeded to leave many Americans behind.  As Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic noted in a battering piece on Liz Cheney in 2013, “Most Americans understand that investing trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives in Iraq was a historic blunder.”  Not for Liz, who finds wars stirringly necessary.

Over the years, Rep. Cheney barely warranted a mention after securing the seat her father once occupied. As the third-ranking member of minority party leadership, she was a middleweight power with exaggerated expectations.  Then came President Trump.  The neoconservatives were outflanked.  Fires were lit, casting light upon her cause.  That cause, simple as ever, was an anti-Trump, using truth and democracy as crutches of polemical convenience. 

To date, Rep. Cheney is pursuing a cause of martyrdom that is, like many such causes, futile.  It was a martyrdom that was “well-planned”, as Republican political consultant Keith Naughton noted in The Hill.  “There are no reports she actually worked the GOP caucus, canvassing and counting heads.  Cheney didn’t fight back, she planned to lose.”  In losing, she hopes to rebuild a neoconservative base that has withered into oblivion.

*

Note to readers: Please click the share buttons above or below. Follow us on Instagram, @crg_globalresearch. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research and Asia-Pacific Research. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

Featured image is from Wikimedia CommonsSelected Articles: Trump: Anti-Globalist or Con Man?

Related Articles

Dick Cheney Still Threatens Our Democracy

10 September 2009

Why We’re Planning To Prosecute Cheney And Bush

Next weekend in Andover, Mass., a group of attorneys, academics, and activists will gather to plan the prosecution of Dick Cheney, George Bush, and the lawyers and advisors who, together with them, are responsible for war crimes. The conference is open to the public and expected to be well attended:…

7 September 2008

Haspel Is Not the Problem. The CIA Is the Problem.

22 May 2018The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Dr. Binoy Kampmark, Global Research, 2021

https://www.globalresearch.ca/liz-cheney-dick-cheney-rule-law/5746066

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.