Liz Cheney: A Profile in Courage
di A. Altieri D’Angelo
In 1956, Senator John F. Kennedy (who later became President of the United States) published his book, Profiles in Courage. It was well received and won a Pulitzer Prize. He wrote about the first U.S. President, members of both chambers of Congress, governors, and private citizens. The book was about people who had the courage, judgment, and mental toughness to decide what they thought was right, even at the cost of their careers. He attempted to illustrate the need for honesty and integrity in public life. Profiles in Courage is as relevant today as it was in 1956. If the book were to be updated and released today, it would undoubtedly include Liz Cheney.
Liz Cheney is currently the House Republican Conference Chair, third highest-ranking Republican in the House Republican leadership. Born Jul. 28, 1966, Cheney is an American attorney and politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Wyoming’s at-large congressional district since 2017. She is the elder daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and is considered Republican Party (the Party) aristocracy. Cheney is a neoconservative, known for her focus on national security, her support for the U.S. military, pro-business stance, and fiscally and socially conservative.
Cheney was, until November 2020, a strong supporter of President Trump. Cheney then turned against Trump over his claims that the 2020 election was invalid and his subsequent incitement of the Jan. 6 riot. In addition, she voted against Trump in his 2nd impeachment trial, but Cheney did not vote to impeach Trump in his first trial. Cheney continues to be an outspoken critic of the former President and the Party’s embrace of Trump’s election fraud claims. Her opposition will likely cost her the Chairmanship position, and she could be voted out of office in 2022. The Party is now actively seeking to “cancel out” Liz Cheney.
Republicans do not want to confront Trump; they are desperately trying to ignore the Jan. 6 riot. To make matters worse, the Party has not presented a viable vision that counters President Biden’s Covid-19 and investment/tax plans. They have no new ideas to offer the American people. They have only one tool to use to generate support: the Big Lie-the election was stolen. The Party, therefore, cannot allow Liz Cheney to speak out and offer a contrarian view. Republicans must silence and intimidate Cheney. But they are failing to stop her.
On May 5, Cheney published an Op-Ed in the Washington Post-The GOP is at a turning point. History is watching us. She made several points that have infuriated many in the Party and, in particular, Donald Trump. First, she stated that “there is good reason to believe that Trump’s language can provoke violence again.” Second, “Trump is seeking to unravel critical elements of our constitutional structure that make democracy work — confidence in the result of elections and the rule of law. No other American president has ever done this.” She went on to point out that, “The Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution. In the immediate wake of the violence of Jan. 6, almost all of us knew the gravity and the cause of what had just happened — we had witnessed it firsthand.”
She pleaded for the Party to remember its most important principle: “I am a conservative Republican, and the most conservative of conservative values is reverence for the rule of law. Each of us swears an oath before God to uphold our Constitution. The electoral college has spoken. More than 60 state and federal courts, including multiple Trump-appointed judges, have rejected the former President’s arguments and refused to overturn election results. That is the rule of law; that is our constitutional system for resolving claims of election fraud.”
She then posed the following: “The question before us now is whether we will join Trump’s crusade to delegitimize and undo the legal outcome of the 2020 election, with all the consequences that might have.” She ended by stating: ”while embracing or ignoring Trump’s statements might seem attractive to some for fundraising and political purposes, that approach will do profound long-term damage to our Party and our country.”
This Op-ed led to a demand for a vote to remove her from the Republican House leadership. But Cheney demonstrated she would not go quietly. She challenged them to reconsider what it means to be a true Republican. Cheney made a strong and very public case that the Party must reject Trump. She believes she is fighting for the soul of the Party. She will not stop.
President Kennedy wrote of the need for public figures to be bold and to do the right thing. Cheney’s courage and determination demonstrate that she embodies the ideals the President highlighted in his book.
It is a pity there are not more politicians like Liz Cheney in American politics.