Liz Cheney, the Left's New Bugbear?

The former VP's daughter happily takes a polarizing role

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Liz Cheney, 43 year-old daughter of the former vice president, is profiled in The New York Times as a rising star of the GOP, thus officially announcing her arrival as political figure. She is, in the words of one source, "a red state rock star." Liz Cheney has, like her father, appeared regularly on talk shows as a conservative panelist since President Obama's election. But this week she begins to assume a somewhat more thankless role as a villain for liberals. Their attacks on her advocacy of waterboarding and her defense of the Bush administration seem to be cementing her respect among conservatives.

  • Pushed by Family and Party, Torture's Newest Advocate  Andrew Sullivan suggests that family bonds compel Liz Cheney to accept the efficacy of her father's torture policies as "axiomatic." This makes her the best torture advocate the GOP could ever have, he argues. "It is only by embracing positive pride in torture that she can keep the nightmare of reality at bay," he wrote. "Family members are always, and understandably, the last defenders of the criminal. The Cheneys' natural inability to see Cheney in any reality-based perspective renders them psychologically able, even eager, to defend evil as a force for good in ways more forthright than others." Sullivan wrote of Liz Cheney's GOP backers, "They too cannot hold the concept of their own moral fallibility in their fearful, clenched minds."
  • What Liz Cheney Means for GOP  Adam Serwer frames Liz Cheney's rise as emblematic of a troubled conservatism. "For the GOP, torture is no longer a 'necessary evil.' It is a rally cry, a 'values' issue like same-sex marriage or abortion. They don't 'grudgingly' support torture, they applaud it. They celebrate it. Liz Cheney's unequivocal support for torture methods gleaned from communist China has people begging her to run for office," he wrote. "But because torture is now a 'values' issue for the right, it is, like abstinence-only sex education, unmoored from the necessities of proving its usefulness in the real world, which is why someone like Liz Cheney is finding herself where she is. Unfortunately, the consequences of one of the two major parties in America embracing torture will affect us all in the long run."
  • Cheney Popular Because She's Right  Jennifer Rubin scoffs at the coming avalanche of anti-Cheney backlash. "The Times and its devoted followers no doubt are convinced that 'Cheney' is a toxic name," she wrote. "But since both Cheneys had it right on Guantanamo and enhanced interrogation techniques, to name just two issues, it may be that the voters see things quite differently." John Hinderaker half-jokingly described the story as "Cheney for President, Part II." Hinderaker added, "Let's hope the Cheneys are thorns in the liberals' sides for many years to come."
  • Waterboarding Monster  Wonkette's Juli Weiner caricatures how many liberals perceive the Cheneys: a family of monsters. "According to several popular children’s ghost stories books, centuries ago Dick Cheney created another in the image of himself," she wrote. "According to legend, when little boys and girls don’t listen to their parents, the Liz Monster will emerge from the bowels of hell to waterboard them to death, or until they produce actionable intelligence. WELL: Everyone must have been on their absolute worst behavior lately, as the Liz Monster has materialized to not-torture us all!"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.