When will U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney start working on behalf of her constituents instead of carrying water for her boss, President Trump? As soon as doing so serves her ambition of climbing higher up the national political power structure: in other words, no time soon.

With no real threat of electoral retribution back here in her adopted “home state” Cheney will continue to serve as the president’s goon, reaching out to smack whatever target du jour he points her at. And it’s becoming more embarrassing to be represented by a congresswoman who’s more interested in practicing vindictive, petty, divide-and-conquer politics than in legislating on behalf of Wyoming.

John Nichols, one of the most astute observers on the national political scene, writes in The Nation that Cheney’s tactics won’t work.

I’m not so sure. In Wyoming her brand of denigrating political enemies just might buy her the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Mike Enzi, who announced he won’t seek re-election in 2020 after completing his fourth term.

In the 2014 Republican Senate primary, Cheney tried to retire Enzi, whom she now praises as a “champion of our Western way of life.” But her campaign crashed and burned and she pulled out early in the race, citing family matters.

She now holds the U.S. House seat once occupied by her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney the elder was elected by Wyoming voters six times before he bowed out to run the Defense Department during the first Gulf War. Having a Cheney in Congress seems to be a birthright in the Equality State, though I can’t fathom why, since Dick was born in Nebraska and Liz in Wisconsin.

He only came back to Wyoming because the Constitution says a presidential ticket can’t have two people from the same state and George W. Bush and Cheney both lived in Texas when he was tapped as his veep. His daughter returned to Wyoming from Virginia because she knew it would be tough to win a Senate seat there.

In her latest assault on common decency and basic truthfulness Liz Cheney recently blasted the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress and used lies to do it. So much for sisterhood.

Trump got in on the act first, going after Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), a Palestinian-American congresswoman whose “crime” in the president’s eyes was praising Israel’s history as a safe haven for Jews. She noted in an interview that while she is concerned about the treatment of Palestinians, she is calmed by the fact that a haven was created “post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time.”

Ever the reliable translator, Trump tweeted that Tlaib demonstrated a “tremendous hatred of Israel and the Jewish people.”

Cheney followed her leader with this obnoxious tweet of her own: “Surely now @SpeakerPelosi & @LeaderHoyer will finally take action against vile anti-Semitism in their ranks. This must cross the line, even for them. Rashida Tlaib says thinking of the Holocaust provides her a ‘calming feeling.’”

That’s a crock, and Cheney is fully aware it is. She’s not illiterate either (though I’m less certain of her boss). Cheney and Trump are counting that their base and others rely on their twisting of Tlaib’s words and not investigate further. And many probably will, including Wyoming voters.

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Cheney’s outrageous attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), meanwhile, should have been condemned by fellow Republicans, but of course they have not. If anything, she’s been given a collective “atta girl” by the House Republican Conference she leads.

Omar, who like Tlaib has called for an end to the occupation of Palestine by Israel, dared to criticize the monetary influence the American Israel Public Affairs Committee wields in Congress.

She also called for peace in the Middle East after a clash saw 20 Palestinians and four Israelis killed.

“How many more protesters must be shot, rockets must be fired, and little kids be killed until the endless cycle of violence ends?” Omar asked on Twitter. It was a moving message that criticized both sides.

But not according to Cheney. She tweeted another lie, that Omar was backing Hamas, and called her comments “vile” and “nauseating.”

“Give it up, we all know you never met a Muslim you didn’t want to vilify!” Omar shot back in a tweet of her own. “Your deep-seated hate and Islamophobia might be a tool to rally your base, but won’t get rid [of] your colleagues. You just have to deal.”

But Cheney won’t deal with it, she’ll just keep hurling insults, because politically that’s apparently all she knows. In just two terms she’s risen to the No. 3 position in the House, knocking fellow Republicans with much more experience out of the way.

The Nation’s Nichols, who wrote a biography of Dick Cheney, observed that when his subject was a staff assistant for Richard Nixon, he “appears to have learned all of the wrong lessons and none of the right ones.”

The paranoid Nixon completely abandoned his principles to try to stay in power, Nichols says, while Cheney became “a cruder and more casually dishonest political calculator than Nixon.”

But Nichols didn’t stop there —  Liz Cheney makes Nixon and her father “look like amateurs when it comes to cruel and unusual politics,” he wrote. Bingo.

Many believe Liz Cheney would face stiff competition in the GOP Senate primary next year if she decides to claim a spot in the upper chamber instead of moving up to the House speakership she obviously craves.

But if she runs for Enzi’s old seat, I think she’ll have the inside track. She’ll have a ton of campaign money, the support of Trump and that blessed Cheney name in her adopted “home” state.

And even if Trump gets what’s coming to him and loses his re-election bid, the president will still do tremendously well in Wyoming. And being Trump’s loyal watergirl will continue to pay dividends to Cheney in the reddest state in the nation.

Cheney was one of only 23 Republicans who wouldn’t even support a House resolution condemning anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism and other forms of bigotry! She recognized that such a statement could be interpreted as anti-Trump.

Did she face any repercussions from the GOP in the Equality State for failing to take a principled stand that other Republicans across the nation did? No, she did not.

I rest my case.

Kerry Drake

Veteran Wyoming journalist Kerry Drake has covered Wyoming for more than four decades, previously as a reporter and editor for the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle and Casper Star-Tribune. He lives in Cheyenne and...

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  1. So it is okay for Omar to call out Israel and President Trump according to the Liberals. What about when she called former President Obama a pretty faced murderer?
    After living in Cheyenne for ten years I won’t argue about Cheney but she did call out a threat to the American people in Omar.

  2. The more you leftist bash Liz Cheney…………the more likely I am to vote for her.

  3. Scary indeed, yet the residents of Wyoming voted her into office… She does not represent me or the interests of Wyoming.

  4. I’m going to apply the Three Strikes ” R ” rule to Mrs. Elizabeth Perry .

    1. Liz Cheney does not Represent Wyoming.
    2. Liz Cheney does not really Reside in Wyoming.
    3. L:iz Cheney does not Respond to her presumptive Wyoming consituents, that I can tell.

    Liz Cheney , born in Wisconsin and raised on the shores of Chesapeake Bay , uses her stage name as the actress best known for her starring role in ” The Virginian “. She resided in MacClean Virginia long before she got around to buying a second home in Teton County WY in so12 to establish ‘residency’ and validate her fishing license . The Perrys still call MacClean VA home. During her childhoof, Elizabeth lived in Wyoming only during her 6th and 7th grade school years when dad Richard returned here to successfully run for Congress.

    The Cheney family stock and trade has involved a lot of carpetbagging for decades … especially with coarsely woven carpets from the Middle East.

  5. When this carpetbagging Virginian came to Wyoming to run for our lone House seat I thought there’s no way the good people of Wyoming would vote for this wannabe over a true Wyomingite. I was wrong. It’s apparent that in Wyoming the letter after your name is more important than your roots or loyalty to it’s citizens.

  6. Kerry,
    Thank you again for another fine piece of journalism, an expose on a truly malignant personality in the House.
    We have so many fine gifts living in this wonderful state… Liz Cheney is not one of them.

  7. As always Kerry, you find a salient way to say “The Emperor is wearing no clothes” while all the emperor’s sycophants are fawning over the imaginary textiles and hues.

    I have to agree with your woeful conclusion. Wyoming voters don’t have the discernment to realize that our Senators/Representative playing political word games for right-wing media outlets, is NOT the same as being a thoughtful, informed statesman/stateswoman who truly represents our state and her people.

    In the words of a certain self-promoting, self-proclaimed prophet: “Sad.”

  8. Thank you very much for writing a well reasoned commentary on the Cheney “values” that appear to represent Wyoming. I really love electoral politics as those that voted for Cheney are collectively guilty for the things that are said and done in the name of Wyoming. I have numerous conversations with people about the Cheneys and many Wyomingites that oppose the Cheneys wonder whether the family is misguided or evil. When I first heard this dilemma expressed I was shocked that would even be a question? It is obvious the family is evil as they are one of the most educated and exposed people on the planet to how our founders wanted the government to run, but still they result to callow ways to amass and keep power. That family had a stark choice between educating the electorate or playing on fears instilled by them and echoed through the unchecked lies of Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and the hateful right wing local radio station jocks that continue to spew lies and hateful monikers to ideas and people they fear. (Is it ok for KGAB to call Rep. AO Cortez – Googly Eyes Cortez)

    Like Queen Daenarys, the Cheney’s have chosen fear to rule, unfortunately the electorate in Wyoming is very insular and responds to this fear, which is tragic. I will admit that some moderate Republicans in Wyoming have questioned this approach, but will never switch parties as they choose to ride the rabid christian conservative base that results in almost unchecked power in Wyoming, instead of realizing that Democrats and progressives are on the right side of history when it comes to the Cheney’s and Trump’s of the world. The sad part is that many of the Wyoming Republicans that are elected realize the validity of the progressive’s arguments, but can give no credit to these ideas and how close we have become to slipping into the Hate State from the Equality State.

    If the progressives in Wyoming, both Republican and Democrat, want change then the place to start is locally, by calling up right wing radio stations that inhabit little towns across the state and push back on the lies they promote. Every radio station that puts on Rush Limbaugh in Wyoming has a right wing talk jock whipping up the misinformed base in order to get ratings and promote fear. It works for radio and for the Cheney’s because we allow it to happen.