So who is or was Liz Cheney? And what actually was her quest to seize Sarah’s mantle as the most paranoid, ruthless female politician since Monica Lewinsky?
The Cheney family is well-known in conservative circles for its near-rock-solid conservative values. They have been staunch opponents of Obamacare, marijuana legalization, gun control, and evolution, and Liz Cheney is no exception.
When the younger Cheney (born in 1971) announced that she would run for the Senate seat now held by her aunt and uncle, Mary and Mitch McConnell, many people assumed this meant that she was coming at the incumbent senator as a vindictive chaser of her own archnemesis. (Admittedly, she did that right away).
But Liz Cheney, a lawyer by training and a mother of five, is actually as respectable and mainstream a politician as she is fearsome and reckless. She’s long been associated with the International Republican Institute, which she helped found in 2002. In 2007, the senator turned Trump defender Rand Paul declared her “one of the most brilliant minds of our time,” and in 2008, she spoke at the Republican National Convention.
But as soon as the Republican vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, entered the picture, she launched a successful Senate primary campaign against Liz Cheney, who by then had joined the Project for a New American Century and done her best to channel the party’s opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mary Cheney described in a 2005 blog post that Liz Cheney “has never forgotten her family’s position on the issues, has always stood for their side, and only sees opportunities for them in a leadership role.”
“With Sarah out of the picture – she literally wouldn’t allow it – Liz decided to make a public break with the party and tell us she was running for the Senate on the ticket with former vice president Dick Cheney,” Mary Cheney wrote.
In 2011, Sarah and Liz Cheney released a book called Neck of the Woods: The Story of Cheney’s War on Terror and the Courage to End It, which made fun of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton but didn’t take into account the fact that Cheney’s legacy in Iraq – a state bombarded and occupied by US forces from 2003 to 2011, using highly lethal weapons of war – is a pillar of the Obama Doctrine today.
For her part, Liz Cheney ran for state treasurer in Wyoming and lost the Democratic primary in 2014. After Mary Cheney filed for divorce from her husband, she decided to take another shot at the Senate in 2016. This time around, she hired an influential Republican operative who had worked for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to lead her campaign.
Liz Cheney took on Wyoming’s incumbent Republican senator, Mike Enzi, in the Republican primary in 2016. The battle was a brutal one, with Mary Cheney saying that she was convinced Liz had secretly been working against her since the start.
In June 2016, when gun-control advocates rallied outside the Wyoming Capitol, Mary Cheney was one of only two public figures who spoke in favour of the protestors.