The Wyoming Republican’s stance on the 1/6 insurrection has cost her a leadership position within the House and badly endangered her chances of winning reelection next year, with Trump and forces loyal to him targeting her.
It’s a path that almost no other politician in America today has taken. It’s a principled stand, and it’s beyond politics. (The best thing for Cheney, politically speaking, would be to sit silently or even endorse the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen.)
Because of Cheney’s willingness to risk her career to take a stand on something she believes in deeply, it’s worth listening when she talks.
And she talked on Tuesday, delivering a powerful reminder of what makes our democracy great and how tenuous it can be in her opening statement of the first hearing of the January 6 committee.
You should read the whole thing here. But one bit in particular very much stood out to me.
Here it is:
“America is great because we preserve our democratic institutions at all costs. Until January 6th, we were proof positive for the world that a nation conceived in liberty could long endure. But now, January 6th threatens our most sacred legacy. The question for every one of us who serves in Congress, for every elected official across this great nation, indeed, for every American is this: Will we adhere to the rule of law? Will we respect the rulings of our courts? Will we preserve the peaceful transition of power? Or will we be so blinded by partisanship that we throw away the miracle of America? Do we hate our political adversaries more than we love our country and revere our Constitution?”
That’s it right there. Every single one of Cheney’s House Republican colleagues, the vast majority of whom voted to object to the Electoral College results in Pennsylvania and Arizona despite zero evidence of any widespread fraud in either state, should heed her words above.
And the question Cheney asks so powerfully is this: What’s more important — your party or your country?
Or put another way: How far are you willing to go in slavish adherence to a man who would seek to undermine the courts, the Congress and even our democracy in order to keep his fragile ego intact?
The answer, at least to date, is that Republicans — or the vast majority of them — are willing to follow Trump wherever he leads, no matter the damage done to democracy. Why? Because they want to get reelected, mostly.
The Point: Cheney’s speech is a powerful reminder of the stakes for the January 6 committee. And the near-certain lack of Republicans willing to stand with her on principle — and against Trump’s Big Lie — speaks to where we are as a nation. And it’s not a good place.