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Analysis: Why saying Liz Cheney isn't a Republican proves the GOP is just a cult of personality

“To further her own personal political agenda, Representative Liz Cheney has not only caused massive disruption, distraction and division within the House Republican Conference, but has also willingly, happily, and energetically joined forced with and proudly pledged allegiance to democrat Speaker of the House Pelosi, as a means of serving her own personal interests while ignoring the interests, needs and expectations of Wyoming Republicans,” read the resolution dropping Cheney from the GOP, as reported by the Casper Star-Tribune.
The move has zero practical impact — Cheney will still run as a Republican in next year’s primary election — but it is a telling indicator of how far the Republican Party has strayed from first principles as it morphs into a cult of personality around former President Donald Trump.
Start here: By every measure you can find, Liz Cheney is not only a Republican, but a pretty conservative one.
According to the conservative Heritage Action group, Cheney’s lifetime vote score is 80%. National Journal’s vote ratings give her a composite 77% conservative score. Calculations done by 538 show that Cheney voted with Trump 92.9% of the time during his term in office.
Heck, Cheney’s main rival for the Republican nomination in 2022, Harriet Hageman, endorsed her 2016 campaign! “I know that Liz Cheney is a proven, courageous, constitutional conservative, someone who has the education, the background and experience to fight effectively for Wyoming on a national stage,” Hageman said at the time. “There have been and will continue to be concerted efforts to force true conservatives to sit down and shut up. Those efforts have never worked on me and I know that they will not work on and have no effect on Liz Cheney.”

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What happened over those five years? Did Cheney change?
Nope! Again, according to Heritage Action, Cheney had a 61% conservative rating in the 115th Congress, which was in session in 2017 and 2018. In the 116th Congress, her score jumped to 82%. And so far in this, the 117th Congress, Cheney’s rating is 96%.
So, if anything, Cheney has gotten MORE conservative — at least in terms of her voting record — since she came to Congress (and since Hageman praised her as a “proven, courageous, constitutional conservative” back in 2016).
Cheney hasn’t changed. What has changed is what it means to be a Republican.
Out are things like adherence to smaller government or hawkishness in foreign policy. Or even so-called “family values.” In is worshiping at the altar of Trump.
See, the ONLY thing that’s changed about Cheney is that she was one of the most outspoken Republicans in Congress in condemning Trump for his role before, during and after the January 6 riot at the US Capitol. She was one of 10 Republicans in the House who voted to impeach him. She has said repeatedly — and publicly — that she does not believe he should have a role in the future of the party.
For those views, she was ousted earlier this year from her role as the third-ranking Republican in the House — and replaced with New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Trump favorite. (Stefanik’s lifetime score with Heritage Action is 48%.) And for those views, she is in the fight of her political life against Hageman, whom Trump endorsed in September. (In that endorsement statement, the former president called Cheney a “warmonger” and a “disloyal Republican.”)
Cheney is in all of this political trouble not because she abandoned conservative principles or moved to the left ideologically. She’s in this position for one reason: because the modern Republican Party is a cult of personality and she had the audacity to speak out against the cult leader.
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