Editor's Note: This column has been edited for length.
Someone needs to explain to Liz Cheney that if she is running for the United States Senate in Wyoming, her opponent will be Mike Enzi and not Barack Obama. Since the announcement of her intention to run, she has been all over the media, most recently in an interview by talk radio giant Rush Limbaugh. During the interview, she eloquently enumerated all of the reasons why she would be a good choice for the U.S. Senate. Ironically, her reasons could easily have been a personal endorsement for Enzi, with one major exception: Mike Enzi has a proven track record of standing firm on conservative principle.
Liz Cheney clearly intends to run her campaign from the top down, gaining national publicity, enjoying the momentum and no doubt the financial support from big interests outside of Wyoming. In all of her media encounters, she continues to portray the upcoming contest someone from Main Street going up against big government, compromise, capitulation and Washington “business as usual,” all of which sounds great, except that none of it is true.
For starters, Mike Enzi has never been a supporter of big government, and has one of the most conservative voting records in the Senate. This background hardly makes him guilty of an ongoing pattern of “compromise.”
Cheney, on the other hand, holds much more of a pedigree from the GOP “Establishment,” as the daughter of former Vice-President Dick Cheney. In keeping with the methodology of power politics, she established a residence in Wyoming only a year ago, clearly as a precursor to immediately leaving the state the moment she gets the green light to return to Washington as Senator.
During her interview with Limbaugh, she mentioned Wyoming frequently, in a transparent effort to assure the people of this state that she really is one of us. Yet the facts present a far different picture. In this, she bears a greater similarity to Hillary Clinton, who acquired a Westchester, N.Y. address and immediately afterwards claimed to have been a lifelong Jewish Yankees fan.
In this regard, even her choice of Jackson, Wyoming’s liberal Mecca, as the sight of her token homestead speaks volumes. She purchased a high-priced piece of real estate in the state’s most manicured and posh locale, and then asserts this as a kindred bond with those across Wyoming who have endured the elements and the isolation in order to make it their home.
Admittedly, Cheney sounds good when she warns of the “threats against the very principles on which the country was founded.” Who among the conservative base could argue with such a statement? But what is the reality behind it? Within the GOP hierarchy are many career politicians who have aided the onslaught against traditional America. If she really has any intention of changing things, she could start by going up against their ranks. So why then would she seek to oust a reliably conservative stalwart like Mike Enzi?
During a townhall meeting in Wheatland only a few months back, Enzi explicitly denounced the cronyism that has overtaken Washington. Referring to the infamous “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill for illegal aliens, he flatly admonished “It is time to stop the back room deal making” and to return to the manner in which the nation’s legislative bodies were originally intended to operate. Though not flamboyant, he is far more in league with such notable Senators as Ted Cruz (R.-TX) and Rand Paul (R.-KY) than with the cabal of RINOs which Cheney should be targeting.
Possessing the substantial political capital of high-level political connections, big money and name recognition, Liz Cheney apparently needed an opponent who might possibly be vulnerable to such things. Consequently, Enzi’s actual track record as a Senator is of secondary importance. Rather than directly comparing his core principles to the ideals she professes to uphold, it's easier to employ major public venues to campaign against an imaginary foe who is far more reflective of Barack Obama, or perhaps the many RINOs whose seats she chose not to challenge.
Conspicuous by its total absence in her discussions is any mention of the current cultural meltdown being perpetrated by political activists of the homosexual lobby. She and her father have supported the notion of same-sex “marriage,” which, nevertheless gained a stamp of “constitutionality” last month from the U.S. Supreme Court.
When this issue is entered into the equation, everything else suddenly starts to make sense. Special interests outside of Wyoming would certainly like to have another ally in the Senate, especially one that would supplant a vote that has been unshakably conservative and pro-family for nearly two decades.
In his majority opinion in which the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last month, Justice Anthony Kennedy essentially declared those who recognize its time-honored definition (one man and one woman) as hateful bigots willing to selectively deny their fellow citizens equal standing. If Liz Cheney really embraces the conservatism she espouses, she would need to take a stand with those whom Kennedy excoriated. Claiming a circumstantial exception on so defining an issue is not the same as standing firmly on principle. In fact, it is the epitome of how business is conducted back in Washington.