Yes, Liz Cheney, Truth Does Matter

Liz Cheney
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In a debate earlier this summer at Sheridan College in Wyoming, Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney swung at her challenger, Harriet Hageman, regarding the claims of election fraud in 2020, saying, “the truth matters.” Congresswoman Cheney got a dose of her own messaging last Tuesday when she was trounced in the Wyoming congressional primary by Hageman, losing by a resounding 37 points. Vox populi, vox Trumpi—which is one way to look at it, but not the only one.

The truth does matter, and Cheney’s rejection by the people of Wyoming is a clear demonstration that the repurposing of truth to gain political advantage will not be tolerated across the board. Americans are beginning to demand the truth with a new determination. Say what you will about the fast-and-loose state of the union, it is heartening to know that the truth still matters to many Americans, and they will stand by it with their vote.

When Liz Cheney ran a campaign (and a House select committee, too) to blast Donald Trump off the face of America, she spun quite a yarn in portraying him as the greatest threat the Republic has ever seen. For one who compared herself to Lincoln in her concession speech, you’d think she would have a greater appraisal of the Civil War. In her lambasting of Trump, beginning back when she cast her House Republican vote for his impeachment, Cheney echoed the vitriol of her former-vice-president father, Dick Cheney, while serving as a CNN centerfold and the darling of the likes of Nancy Pelosi. (There’s nothing Democrats like better than Republicans turning on Republicans.)

Congresswoman Cheney was not on the side of truth in her outrageous dichotomy of Republican lawmakers and voters, as she drew a line between herself and Donald Trump right down the middle of January 6, declaring that all who stood with the former president were enemies of the state. It’s not that simple, and, therefore, it’s simply not true. The greatest threat to democracy and our Republic is not Donald Trump but rather the assault on truth, an attack led by the Democratic Party and the media—and Wyomingites, at least, won’t stand for it in their representation.

Liz Cheney’s ousting shows not only the continued loyalty citizens have toward Trump, it also shows one of the effects Trump has affected in this nation—that establishment politicians that toe the line of big government and the truth-twisting left-wing agenda are losing their foothold. This is especially so for politicians who claim the mantle of conservatism but side with liberals. 

Call them “RINOs” or “Romney Republicans” or what have you, they are being called out as the swamp things they are in the wake of Trump’s scorched-earth primary tour. Liz Cheney is among those who have lost their position of power, and her defeat is a triumph for the former president, like a fallen foe displayed as a warning outside the breached walls of Mar-a-Lago.

And though one may say this is all about Trump, Cheney has had it coming for a long time. Besides her defense of the use of torture against terrorism, her siding with the Left on exaggerated Covid lockdowns, and her keen interest in American military interference (being particularly aggressive in pushing for action against Russia), her position as the leading Republican voice against Trump as vice chairwoman of the January 6 committee was the last nail in her coffin. It alone revealed how she was not necessarily interested in truth to achieve her goals if fake news made it easier. And that is the more important point in all of this. Again, one may say that this is all about Trump, but it should be all about truth.

Liz Cheney’s position about Donald Trump is a clear example of the kind of black-and-white labeling that the Left has made their trademark. We all know that kind of aggressive branding. If you don’t support abortion, you are against women’s rights. If you don’t believe in gay “marriage,” you don’t believe in love. If you don’t support American intervention against Russia, you condemn Ukraine. If you are Catholic, you support clergy sex abuse cover-ups. Or if you don’t say the 2020 election was fairly won, you are an insurrectionist. This last false assumption was the hill Cheney chose to die on.

Now, to be fair, Cheney has every right to her opinion that Donald Trump is leading a cult of personality. She can object to his pushing against the electoral college in certifying the vote. She can see the events of January 6 as appalling. But—in the name of her personal convictions, her oath to uphold the Constitution, and what she calls the truth—she effectually betrayed her party and her constituents to become a front for truth-denying Democrats and a mouthpiece for an absurd media narrative equating disapproval for the actions of January 6 with disapproval for Donald Trump. And try though she did with her kangaroo committee, those dots just can’t be connected. Why? Because the truth matters.

Liz Cheney has long touted her righteousness in this fight. She may say “truth matters,” but it is not true that the only reason she lost is because she wouldn’t support the “lie” that the election was stolen from Trump. It is not true that those who didn’t vote for Cheney are part of an ongoing attack on democracy. Lumping conservatives together like that is false, and she deserves to lose for that. 

Not every Republican official who has won a primary since the 2020 election is a die-hard, Trump-won person that insists on an overturned election due to Covid balloting and voter fraud. Cheney’s victory did not, as she claimed, require her to enable the unravelling of the democratic system and undermine the foundation of the Republic. That isn’t true, and the truth matters.

Most discerning people don’t believe that Donald Trump was actively coordinating the January 6 riot in order to overthrow democracy, and most Republicans aren’t interested in electing congressional officers who are interested in upholding that untenable position. Liz Cheney decided to be overtly complicit in the Democrats’ plan to flagrantly use January 6 as a tool to obliterate Donald Trump, even if that meant fabricating a false, rhetorically skewed narrative. But Wyoming wants representation that is concerned with Wyoming, and those voters are not concerned with Cheney’s vow to keep her strawman version of Donald Trump out of the White House. 

There exists a popular yet pernicious—or popular because pernicious—principle that the politician is the only human being in the world who is not permitted to change his or her mind. When they do, they are generally not congratulated for coming round to a new way of thinking. They are generally considered liars. It is one thing to be false and inconsistent while occupying a position of trust and responsibility. It is another thing to come to a new conclusion, despite prevalent social pressures. Catholics should remain sensitive to the human relation to truth in their political assessments and participations, and while that includes respecting shifts in position, it should give no quarter to falsehood.

Liz Cheney’s actions and words point to the problem that truth is often less convenient than falsehood. This is especially true for those who hate truth, who desire to rewrite reality and history for their own purposes. Liz Cheney has no love for Donald Trump, but that does not give her the right to adopt the Left’s distorting lens in carrying out (or failing to carry out) her duty as a member of Congress. We call our country the Land of the Free, but we are bound to remember that only the truth will make us free.

[Photo Credit: Getty Images]

Sean Fitzpatrick

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Sean Fitzpatrick is a senior contributor to Crisis and serves on the faculty of Gregory the Great Academy, a Catholic boarding school for boys in Pennsylvania.

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