Profiles in....?

01.07.14

What Liz Cheney Should Say

My colleague Michelle Cottle does a great job today of capturing the Sturgesesque bathos of the Liz Cheney “campaign.” But I have a serious suggestion for La Liz, which is less Sturges than Sidney Lumet.

This campaign was a cynical farce from start to pathetic finish. And I think we’d all agree that nothing was more cynical than her denunciation of same-sex marriage. As her sister’s partner, Heather Poe, said at the time Liz made that statement, "to have her say she doesn't support our right to marry is offensive,” because Liz had always supported the couple.

I’ll be perhaps more generous than one needs to be and grant that Liz is telling the complete and honest truth about this family medical situation, even though something tells me that if she’d been 30 points ahead in the polls instead of 30 points behind, she might have found a way to deal with this situation while still campaigning. But if I’m wrong and it is indeed something much more serious than that, then of course, as a parent myself, I can only wish her and child the best.

But one thing it seems pretty obvious she was not telling the truth about was her position on gay marriage. So why doesn’t she just come clean now?

She could go on her preferred Fox show and say something like: “I would like to clear up one thing I said while campaigning. The fact is I support same-sex marriage. For goodness sakes, I have a sister whom I dearly love who is in a committed and wonderful relationship, and I love Mary and I just adore Heather, and seeing their relationship up close has made it clear to me that there’s no good reason why Mary and Heather shouldn’t have all the legal rights my husband and I have.

“I relied on my lesser angels, I tried to say an expedient thing. I regret it deeply. I regret the hurt I caused Mary and Heather, and I regret misleading the people of Wyoming. As my father’s example has well taught me, you have to stick to your principles in politics. I erred. We live, and we learn. And I have learned. And whatever I do in the future, I will support same-sex marriage, and I believe our party should. It’s the right thing.”

Just imagine the across-the-spectrum bravos she’d get for saying something like that. Of course she won’t—assuming she does want to run again in Wyoming, which, incredibly, most of the stories today are saying remains a live possibility for her, she’ll be afraid of the rabid whatever-percent of the winger vote that will cut her off if she endorses that position.

But in fact she is, today, this week, in a position of unique power. She can be a leader. I feel certain that others would follow her. She’s Dick Cheney’s kid, fer chrissakes. If that’s not cover in the GOP I don’t know what is.

She does something along the lines I suggest, she becomes a respected national figure in an instant. She doesn’t, and she’s just another coward who’s afraid of her party’s bigots. Liz Cheney can actually perform a great national service here, and there’s no good reason why she shouldn’t.