October 21 2021
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McCarthy says GOP members are concerned Cheney can't 'carry out the message' Tensions At GOP Retreat Heat Up As McCarthy Won't Say If Cheney Should Stay In Leadership
Published on May 8, 2021 3:04 AM

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House Republican Conference Chairperson Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks with President Joe Biden as he arrives to address a joint session of Congress, Wednesday, April 28, 2021, in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. | Jonathan Ernst/Pool via AP
Like Republicans Mitt Romney and John Bolton before her, Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) has discovered the secret of how to transition from being a whipping boy of the Washington press corps to its paragon of rectitude: Simply side with Democrats and against the Republican majority on some issue of substance.

This metamorphosis—lampooned as "strange new respect" by journalist Tom Bethell in 1992 as the liberal journalist's instinct to overpraise any leftward gesture by a right-wing politician—can be accomplished any number of ways. In Romney's case, he achieved his strange new respect in 2020, when he cast his ballot to impeach President Donald Trump. Bolton won his by publishing a show-and-tell about working for the Trump administration, 2020's The Room Where It Happened. Almost overnight, Romney went from the slick-haired Bain Capital villain who delighted in dismantling viable American businesses at an enormous profit to him and shipping the jobs overseas to a principled gentleman—as far as most reporters were concerned. Bolton, cast as a warmonger by the liberal establishment's in-flight magazine, the New Yorker, when he joined the Trump White House in 2018, got a makeover as a true son of liberty for ratting out Trump.

The rise of Cheney's stock has been no less dramatic. Bred from two pedigreed Republicans, Dick Cheney (White House chief of staff; House minority whip; secretary of defense; vice president) and Lynne Cheney (chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities; right-wing think tank fellow; high-profile scold of video games), Liz Cheney was no pressman's idea of a luminary. She flew with the hawks, was short-listed as a future speaker of the House or a Senate seat, and fought her way through the ranks to become the third-ranking House Republican. "Staunch" was one of her two middle names when the press profiled her. The other was "conservative." The Spectator"s Jack Hunter treated her fairly in a link-happy piece that listed off her, shall we say, extremely neoconservative positions on war, torture, drone strikes, black sites, the Patriot Act, Gitmo and mass surveillance...