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The narcissism of the Never Trumpers Liz Cheney believes she was born to rule

Liz Cheney during a Select Committee to Investigate January 6th Attack (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Liz Cheney during a Select Committee to Investigate January 6th Attack (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)


December 21, 2023   4 mins

The “fascist coup” narrative, a self-regarding genre of literature popular with the “Never Trump” wing of the centre-right, has enjoyed a bumper crop in 2023. Earlier this year, as the legal challenges against Trump mounted and his popularity paradoxically surged, readers were treated to McKay Coppins’s Romney: A Reckoning, a portrait of Romney’s political journey with the January 6 riots serving as a pivotal moment of introspection. In September, we had Enough, an overstuffed 400-page doorstopper of a moan from Cassidy Hutchinson, a 28-year-old former special assistant to Trump’s Chief of Staff. Then, just in time for Christmas, Liz Cheney — former Wyoming Congresswoman and daughter of Dick — released Oath and Honor, which makes an overzealous argument against Trump’s political ethos.

Each of these offerings converge on several key arguments. Foremost among them is the portrayal of Trump as not just a disruptive force but as a fundamental threat to the Republican Party’s core values and traditions. The authors long for a return to the policies and ethos of the Bush years — a combination of hawkish foreign policy, tax cuts, and socially conservative stances, such as opposition to abortion. More potent than this, however, is their united willingness to overlook a crucial aspect of Trump’s presidency: the fact that his governance was largely in line with conventional Republican policies. Trump’s administration was marked by significant achievements that resonated with the party’s base, such as the appointment of Supreme Court justices instrumental in overturning Roe v. Wade.

Having read them all, I can safely say that Cheney’s contribution stands as the archetype of the Never Trump genre. The book reflects what Cheney views as her divine right to hold a prominent role within the Republican Party. Her upbringing and lineage positioned her as a key figure in Washington, and Oath and Honor is an echo of this predetermined significance.

As befitting a modern-day Moses, Cheney’s tone is notably dramatic, characterised by an oscillation between exaggerated indignation and heavy-handed moralising. Its opening lines set a grandiose stage: “This is the story of the moment when American democracy began to unravel,” she warns. Cheney, or more likely her ghostwriter, thereafter embarks on a journey that paints a dire picture of the Trump era, framing everything in the context of America’s “unravelling”.

Beneath the surface of this dramatic narrative lies a more personal story of jealousy and resentment. In Republican Rescue, a Never-Trump memoir by Chris Christie published way back in 2021, the former Governor of New Jersey makes a point of describing his initial positive working relationship with Trump. Similarly, Hutchinson’s Enough includes detailed friendly accounts of her interactions with her future Republican opponents. These narratives, at their core, are tales of friendships that deteriorated in the turbulent waters of Trump’s presidency. What makes Cheney’s stand out, however, is the way she seemingly fell out with everyone of note in the GOP.

Yet in every volume, the emphasis on the personal comes at the expense of a more comprehensive and objective analysis of the broader political implications of Trump’s presidency. In essence, these books, particularly Oath and Honor, aren’t genuine political critiques; they are instead historically valuable reflections of personal disillusionment and the fracturing of long-standing relationships within the Republican Party, much like records of the American Whig infighting that preceded the creation of the Republican Party in 1854.

In this light, Cheney’s contribution is best understood as a culmination of a personal vendetta against both Trump and a party whose direction she has never been able to grasp. Once a prominent figure in the party and vice-chair of the House January 6 Committee, she has since found herself increasingly alienated. Her resounding defeat in the 2022 Wyoming Primary by Trump-endorsed Harriet Hageman marked not only the end of her tenure in the House but also symbolised the party’s definitive shift away from the Cheney brand of neoconservatism.

This becomes apparent in her descriptions of encounters with individuals such as Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, whom she criticises for not tempering Trump’s actions: “I had met both Jared Kushner and his wife, Ivanka, several times
 they should have done more to stop him.” Yet Cheney’s criticisms extend beyond individual anecdotes into a broader indictment of the party’s direction. She labels the transformed GOP as the “anti-Constitution party”, a dangerous departure from the party’s traditional values in favour of a movement she deems dangerous and anti-democratic. At the heart of this is a more prosaic truth: today’s GOP is simply an anti-Cheney party.

Elsewhere, her arguments fail to address the complexities of the political landscape. She speaks of the millions of Americans who believe in election fraud narratives — warning that the GOP is on the brink of becoming a “party of QAnon” — yet fails to explore the reasons behind such beliefs. Indeed, the book is marked by its lack of consideration for context, even when it concerns her own political convictions. For instance, she conveniently omits her previous support for most of Trump’s policies, particularly during his first impeachment. She also suggests that the Democrats’ failure to subpoena John Bolton was a key factor in her opposition to that Russiagate-related impeachment, even though she didn’t give this explanation at the time; like the rest of the Republican leadership with whom she had yet to fall out of favour, she was content to call it a “sham” and a “waste of time”.

The result is that Oath and Honor is less a patriotic defence of American values than a tragedy of personal ambition. Along with every other book in the Never Trump genre, if it is to serve any function, it is as a chronicle of a tumultuous period in a Republican Party marked by ideological shifts and broken alliances. These are records of a messy and very public divorce, not just between a country and its president, but also between that president and some of his former allies. With her fondness for overblown rhetoric and love of Abraham Lincoln, Liz Cheney might even go so far as to claim they could constitute valuable last testaments in advance of a future civil war.


Oliver Bateman is a historian and journalist based in Pittsburgh. He blogs, vlogs, and podcasts at his Substack, Oliver Bateman Does the Work

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Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
7 months ago

In short, the Colorado Supreme Court decision just seems utter madness. I may be preaching to the choir here on these pages, but is there anyone left who is so blinkered they’d deny this constitutes an obvious weaponisation of the US justice system to take out a political opponent?
It would shame a banana republic.
The criminal charges that have been brought against Trump do not specifically accuse him of instigating or supporting insurrection, therefore just on its face, the Colorado verdict cannot (and almost certainly will not) stand. How can you disqualify a man for a crime that he has been neither charged, nor convicted of?
Instead the plan seems to be to pump out blanket coverage of how Trump represents an existential threat to the Republic, at which point all bets are off and they can justify any ploy, however injudicious, to keep Trump from the White House. Democrats, and Never-Trumper Republicans, it seems, believe Donald Trump represents such a threat to the Constitution that they’re willing to completely subvert the Constitution to stop him.
“In order to save the village it became necessary to destroy it”.
If Trump, following all this, does manage to win next year then God only knows what follows. There is a cohort of “Liberals” so amped-up by a partisan media, whose rage has been kindled and fanned that we really might see violence – possibly an “actual insurrection” or, God forbid, even worse.
I lived in the US for a while during the first George Bush’s Presidency and, although I loved my time there, I was rather horrified by how polarised and oppositional the politics seemed to be – certainly the news media’s reporting of it. Looking back, that seems like a golden age of reason and bipartisanship compared to what we have now.
But this is so much more than just a question of Biden vs Trump, or even Democrats vs Republicans: As the West loses confidence and no longer feels comfortable standing up for basic Western Values, indeed feels ashamed of their own history, we need to recognise that both sides of the political aisle have to learn to live with eachother and that there are much bigger, nastier foes out there who are considerably more of a threat to our way of life. United we stand – divided we will surely fall.
The great ideas of the West— the rule of law, equality before the law, freedom of conscience and expression, human rights, rationalism, self-criticism, the disinterested search for truth, the separation of church and state, liberal democracy—together constitute quite an achievement for any civilization. This basic set of principles remains the best and perhaps only means for all people, regardless of race or creed, to live in freedom and reach their full potential. It is the West that has liberated women, racial minorities and religious minorities, by recognizing their rights.
We need to root out the corruption, re-engage with the ideas that made us great, and regain the confidence to state that Western Values are demonstrably better for the people that live under them, than the various other ideologies and regimes elsewhere in the world.
That what we would consider basic liberal values are NOT a default position for most of the world. If you want the world to adopt democracy, or universal suffrage, or equal rights, or any of the other things we are lucky enough to take for granted, then you need to support the idea of Western predominance.
Will that happen? Heaven only knows. But it certainly won’t while we allow the system of Govt to be entirely corrupted and the rule of law to be weaponised in such a short-termist, partisan fashion.
Whatever side of the political aisle you stand, you should not likely throw aside the principle that the Law must be applied consistently, without passion or prejudice.
If Democrats and TDS Republicans subvert that, merely for partisan advantage just to “get” their man, then they surely pose the same threat to those principles that they’d accuse Trump of being.
I’m reminded of this brilliant piece of writing … A Man for All Seasons – The Devil Speech – YouTube

Last edited 7 months ago by Paddy Taylor
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

If Trump loses the election, there will be some protests. If Trump wins, cities across the U.S. will burn like an inferno. It will make us yearn for the good old days of BLM riots. And when Trump calls in the national guard, the Dems and their media lapdogs will screech about his authoritarianism.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
7 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Yesterday someone on the radio played audio for twelve full minutes of Democrats denying Trump won in 2016, not least of whom was Hillary Clinton.

Trump not only didn’t lose 2020, he won in a landslide – something for which the establishment was not prepared the first time around. They closed the polls when it was clear he won, “discovered” ballots (after kicking out poll watchers and boarding up windows), told state media what were the “results”, et voila! A senile degenerate “won” by more votes than elected Barack Obama. And even after they installed their decrepit puppet, they hounded their nemesis with phony plots, endless accusations of made-up misdeeds, and created a fed-infested riot out of a peaceful – and legal – protest.

The Establishment, it should be abundantly clear to even the blindest of observers, will burn this country to its very shale to keep Trump out of office. They failed every assassination attempt, and now they know they’re “for the block”. And when they hang from the gibbets of well-deserved public scorn, who will mourn?

I, for one, will be laughing my *ss off.

Last edited 7 months ago by Allison Barrows
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
7 months ago

You sound delightful.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
7 months ago

> he won in a landslide

How do you know? Every last single solitary person or body who looked at the election said, unanimously, that Biden won. The only people saying Trump won are Trump, his bum-boys, and his useful idiots — such as yourself.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
7 months ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

I think Biden won. I have no good reason to believe he didn’t win, but then we never got a full investigation did we? Whatever the expense, whatever the result, the first thing that should have been done by the Biden administration was a full, thorough, and unbiased investigation to restore confidence in the election system. As embarrassing as it is, Biden should have even invited the UN and international observers to participate. It should have been a grand production. Biden should have pounded on the table and demanded the money from Congress, or even threaten to declare martial law to make it happen, because nothing, absolutely nothing, is more important to a democratic system than people having faith in their elections.

I fully believe that if such an investigation were to occur, it would show conclusively, without a doubt, that Biden won the election, and for 90% of Americans, the issue would be closed. Yes, there would still be a small contingent of hardcore conspiracy theorists, but there’s no fixing stupid. If we had such an investigation, Trump would look like the fool that he almost certainly is and we could have a normal election again, which Biden would probably win in a landslide, because he had LISTENED to the other side’s complaints, ACKNOWLEDGED their concerns, ANSWERED them in the most thorough way possible, and RESOLVED the matter forever. If he had done that, he might be remembered as the greatest President of this century, the man who restored faith in democracy and begun to heal the polarization in the country. It would very likely have uncovered nothing and been a complete waste of time and money, but it would have been a way for Biden to show himself as the President of all the people, even those who voted for Trump, even those who believe Trump’s nonsense. It’s an opportunity missed, and now here we are four years later having the same election again with the added bonus of one side trying to use the legal system to keep Trump off the ballot, justifying his supporters worst fears.

Last edited 7 months ago by Steve Jolly
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

The burden is on those making the accusation of fraud. Trump’s hundred of frivolous lawsuits and actual election interference attempts were plenty.
I also strongly disagree that any de-bunking of the stolen election lie, no matter how persuasive, or even conclusive, would satisfy anywhere close to 90% of those determined to see Biden as illegitimate–about 30 percent of the electorate.

Joe Cogan
Joe Cogan
6 months ago

What color is the sky on your home planet?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
7 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

He says he’ll call the National Guard or whatever other forces in–perhaps into cities he deems “carnage zones” or maybe just anti-Trump places–on his first day of office, his only one as a dictator. 1) Oath of Office: 1/20/2024 at noon; 2) Authoritarian crackdown starting at 12:01pm. But after those first 24 hours he’d led up and love America and its people again, and the Constitution, which he’s declared his readiness to change or suspend. Right?

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
7 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I’m not convinced he would do anything. He never stopped the BLM riots. Even with the country on COVID restrictions, even when a section of Seattle got taken over by rioters who threw out the police and declared themselves independent, Trump did nothing. He tweeted a lot and pointed at the rioters bad behavior to fire up his base, but he did nothing, because he didn’t need to. The looting and rioting was concentrated in areas that were and are heavily Democratic. Why stop your enemy from burning his own house down? If it happened again as a direct result of a Trump victory, he wouldn’t have to ‘do’ anything. It would likely start before he even took office, assuming he was allowed to do so. If that happens, it will be on the Democrats and the establishment that backs Biden to take their medicine, accept the loss, and put out the fires themselves. Trump can sit there grinning like the devil, and say, “See, I was right all along. They will do anything to keep me out of office. They called Jan 6th an insurrection but look what’s happening now.” All this makes him look a lot smarter than his past suggests.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

The democrats should inculcate this advice. But I don’t think they have that capacity.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
7 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

The level of incompetence is truly staggering. The prosecutors pursing this and the judges that bought into this nonsense have convinced me that they should all be thrown out of office for rank incompetence. Can they not read the poll numbers? Do they really think getting him kicked off the ballot will be the end of this? It’s just bonkers. The Democratic party needs to put their own house in order and stop trying to use the legal system for partisan gain. Both sides are guilty and need to stop but the Democrats are way ahead on the scorecard of undemocratic witch hunts that don’t help anybody.

Ray Zacek
Ray Zacek
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

They’ve wedded lawfare to the politics of personal destruction, a marriage made in Hell, and the Dems re so sanctimonious and so addicted they won’t stop.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

I second that. A politicized legal apparatus barring an ex-president from standing again because of something he’s not been tried for , never mind found guilty of. This ruling was truly when the USA entered banana republic territory.
And you are exactly right that the irony here is that the people undermining the Constitution are those in positions of power who are manipulating the legal system to frustrate (what might be the) democratic will. This is in infinitely greater threat to functioning democracy, where the loser can at least trust the process, than a few thousand rioters.

Harry Child
Harry Child
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

I do not understand the constant ‘rule of law’ arguments. There are very good basic laws that were laid down centuries ago such as habeas corpus.
The best basic definition I have found is “the government and its officials and agents are accountable under the law; the laws are clear, publicised, stable and fair, and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons
Blair’s government in 10 years introduced over 127500 pieces of legislation, only lawyers would have some knowledge on part of this avalanche, no chance for the general public. So the question is what is the rule of law and what happens to bad laws? I suspect the current situation only benefits lawyers.

Saul D
Saul D
7 months ago
Reply to  Harry Child

It’s worse than that. For a quite a number of these laws, particularly laws of compulsion and regulation, we have to employ experts to tell us what the law is. They are laws that are not knowable or fathomable to non-legally trained people.
Worse, even the supposed experts can disagree on interpretation, so we can’t even trust that our choice of expert is right, but we remain liable if the advice is bad or judged to be illegal. That leaves citizens with no way of knowing what is right or legal, and entirely at the mercy of interpretations of the law that we can’t understand.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

A curious similarity with the way that Maduro is trying to stop Machado from running for the Venezuelan Presidency.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

If Trump, following all this, does manage to win next year then God only knows what follows. 
One might imagine what follows and it’s that fate that has the left and the DC establishment petrified. Trump did not follow through on “lock her up” because he was more interested in doing things that might benefit the country than keeping Hillary relevant. I doubt he makes that mistake a second time. The irony is that everything that the left accuses Trump of wanting to do is something that Team Biden already does, with the left’s hearty approval.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

It certainly appears that we have entered into a black hole, whereby everything is upside down. But the left has always used this tactic to obfuscate.

Dominic A
Dominic A
7 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

…and the right would never indulge in such antics.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Yes Alex. The current Trump freak-out is projection worthy of an IMAX cinema.

Ardath Blauvelt
Ardath Blauvelt
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Politics have always been the death of principle. Until Americans decide they’re done with party politics and start demanding better, we’ll continue our national suicide.

Paul Rodolf
Paul Rodolf
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Who could have predicted that the USSR would actually triumph after defeat? Yuri Besmenov.

Chipoko
Chipoko
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

“… weaponisation of the US justice system to take out a political opponent?
It would shame a banana republic.”
It certainly would not have shamed Robert Mugabe’s banana republic of Zimbabwe (whose first president was actually called President Banana)! No doubt Biden was mates with the vile Comrade Robert and remains so with his grisly successor, Emerson Mnangagwa. He evidently learned some useful lessons in this area from them both.

Paul Jenkins
Paul Jenkins
6 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

The constitution states that a former president who engaged in insurrection is not eligible to be president again. It does not require them to have been charged or convicted.

nigel roberts
nigel roberts
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul Jenkins

The constitution makes no reference to former presidents and insurrection. It makes reference to officers, which much case law has determined to be appointees, not elected officials.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul Jenkins

It says no such thing.

There’s no point just making things up to suit your argument.

To legally disqualify someone based on something for which they have not even been charged or tried, let alone convicted, is a legal absurdity.

The fact that anyone in any state court could set aside all legal knowledge, principle and simple common sense just to “get Trump” shows how dangerous a politicised judiciary can be to a functioning democracy

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
7 months ago

The Democrats and much of the left wing media are tying themselves into knots, that Trump’s Presidency will be a threat to democracy, but ignore, that Biden’s government used the FBI, supposedly an independent agency, to suppress Free Speech at Twitter and Facebook. Social media was told to shadow ban Scientists, who dare to criticise the government’s Covid policies. The FBI even paid 3.5 million for “processing” these inconvenient tweets. Hunter Biden’s Lap Top Story was also taken off, after the government was again leaning heavily on Social Media, claiming that the story was made up by Russian bots.

Last edited 7 months ago by Stephanie Surface
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
7 months ago

And now the feds are going after Musk like pit bulls . Very disturrbing stuff.

https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/4361551-bidens-alarming-harassment-of-elon-musk/

Last edited 7 months ago by Jim Veenbaas
starkbreath
starkbreath
7 months ago

And let’s not forget the FBI targeting parents protesting CRT and trans ideology in their chidrens’ schools as ‘domestic terrorists’. Or the California legislature looking to imprison parents for not agreeing to the genital mutilation of their children.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
7 months ago

“warning that the GOP is on the brink of becoming a “party of QAnon” — yet fails to explore the reasons behind such beliefs.”

I so not know enough about American politics to evaluate this article but this passage struck me. It seems to be much the same issue in Europe with people showing interest in political ideas that many politicians do not like. Instead of asking why so many have turned away from their brand of politics, the simply insult the new voices and those interested in their ideas.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
7 months ago

It goes beyond just insulting the new voices. The tactic is to try and brand those voices as illegitimate. It’s why people who deviate from the approved narrative are branded as right-wing, far-right, or just plain extremist. Why bother debating someone’s ideas when it is so much easier to attack them personally.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Yes, all the main political Parties in Germany have built a so-called Firewall against the AfD, the Social Democrat Home Secretary even put them under observation by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. The AfD is treated like an evil outcast. In the meantime the mainstream parties steel some of their policies, which would have been unthinkable and called Nazism 2 years ago. Finally tough immigration laws are considered and the whole construction of Net Zero policies are starting to crumble as Germany faces deindustrialisation. In the meantime the AfD reached nearly 30% in the polls in East Germany and is also achieving huge gains in the West, currently at 22%.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
7 months ago

I guess Cheney can say at least one person read her book.

John Croteau
John Croteau
7 months ago

Trump is not an existential threat to Democracy. He is an existential threat to the Neocon Republican Party. They will be remembered just like the Whig Party that preceded them — that is, forgotten. I can’t wait to see what Trump does in his second administration. The gloves will be off. I’m betting on RFK Jr. heading HHS, Tulsi Gabbard heading Defense, and Vivek Ramaswamy dismantling another part of the Federal bureaucracy. Read Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.

Last edited 7 months ago by John Croteau
Cal RW
Cal RW
7 months ago
Reply to  John Croteau

I suppose it is possible Trump could win, and with gloves off put RFK Jr at HHS, Gabbard at Defense, and Ramaswamy into a role to dismantle the Federal bureaucracy. But then what? Trump believers envision some sort of governmental nirvana, but more likely is that within 6 -12 months this new team will be in the Trump doghouse with demeaning nicknames and gone within two years. It’s just the way it is with Trump. It is difficult to find a single official from Trump’s first administration that feels he is qualified to be President. None support him now. Trump supporters can tell themselves that he had the wrong people the first time (despite Trump’s claim that he only picks the best). It doesn’t matter who he brings in because the results will be the same. I sympathize with people who are tired and frustrated with neocons and progressives and want bold new leadership, but you are kidding yourself if you think it is Trump.

Last edited 7 months ago by Cal RW
Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
7 months ago

Who among the NTs would suggest that the country has been better off for having Biden as president? I’ll wait. Who is going to tell me how wonderful it has been to have govt actively colluding with private actors to stifle speech and punish dissenting voices? Who is going to tell me that weaponizing federal agents to target random parents is the hallmark of a functioning republic? Who is going to explain why funding the Ukrainian kleptocracy strikes a blow for democracy? Again, I’ll wait.
Liz Cheney rode her father’s name into Congress and torpedoed an otherwise conservative record by obsessing over Orange McBadman. Wyoming voters responded. Perhaps they noticed that like most of the J6 commission, she never bothered to watch any of the video footage herself. Perhaps they noticed that none of the rhetoric had to do with reality. Perhaps they noticed the jump in her personal wealth during a time of “public service.”
In some sense, I suppose “Never Trump” is a principle of sorts. Okay. How’s it working out? Not just for the moneyed class that is insulated from the effects of its political obtuseness, but for regular people in the country. The border is non-existent, crime is rampant, we’re selling fossil fuels to foreign countries but working feverishly to curb their use domestically, spending keeps rising unabated, and the hit parade goes on. What do these people actually stand for beyond an irrational obsession with a guy they used to love until he had the temerity to crash the party.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

That’s the problem! As long as the left has their foot placed firmly on their opponent’s throat, democracy flourishes.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
7 months ago

It’s easy to get lost in this partisan point scoring. Standing back from the trees to look at the wood, surely the mid terms proved that (fully justified) anti Bidenism isn’t enough.

The independents who decide elections just will not vote for somebody as obviously flawed as Trump, whatever his opponent’s multiple and manifest failings.

Put in a half sensible candidate and the GOP should wipe the floor. Put in a half sensible democratic candidate and maybe US politics could return to something less risible to the rest of the world.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
7 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

> The independents who decide elections just will not vote for somebody as obviously flawed as Trump, whatever his opponent’s multiple and manifest failings.

That’s it. Trump is simply worse than nothing. The Rats could field a donkey and I’d prefer the donkey. Either party could score a landslide simply by offering a candidate who is sane, has the brains of a bus-driver, and who is not the servant of the globalist plutocracy. To score a landslide a candidate need only say two things:
Men cannot get pregnant.

The border must be secured.

Last edited 7 months ago by Ray Andrews
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
7 months ago

With her “fondness for overblown rhetoric”? A hypocritical projection on Mr. Bateman’s part, I’d say, as is this: “Cheney, or more likely her ghostwriter, thereafter embarks on a journey that paints a dire picture of the Trump era, framing everything in the context of America’s “unravelling” [my italics]. Whether one agrees with Liz Cheney or not (I usually don’t) she is quite well-spoken, at times, eloquent, even in an extemporaneous way. Sure, her book was edited, but she could very well be the sole real author of the text that so aggravates Bateman. Bateman on the other hand, is one of the weakest contributors to this website, given to flimsy arguments and cheap shots. He’s due for some more aggressive editing at a minimum–perhaps even a ghostwriter, if an obscure name such as his could help to sell or popularize anything.
Fostering a riotous uprising so you can stay in power, attempting to cancel a valid election, and further dividing the country according to your personal enemies and selected bedfellows–such as Western chauvinists, outright bigots, and Q-anon lunatics–is the picture of narcissism and runaway ambition. If Liz Cheney, who gave up her Senate seat on principle and is very far from Bateman’s tawdry characterization–a spotlight-hungry climber–can be justly charged with “naked ambition”: What does that say about Trump? I’m not saying Cheney is a model of humility and selflessness, but the big orange face of narcissism and ambition is right in front of us, bloviating daily.
*By the way, does Trump write all his speeches, I mean the intermittent passages that demonstrate a command of language and use standard English? Didn’t think so.

Last edited 7 months ago by AJ Mac
Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
7 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Thanks. Mr. Bateman seems to be nothing much more than what they call a hack, no?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
7 months ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

In connection to your able dismantling of the article below, I admit my answer is influenced by the fact that I don’t side with Bateman here. But yes, a hack.

Dominic A
Dominic A
7 months ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

He used to pen centrist/left articles, which were lambasted by the usual commenters, and then he tacked tacky right – following the money I guess. A hack.

j watson
j watson
7 months ago

No great fan of Cheney or her position on the political spectrum, but there was some bravery in how she said what she said when it was clear it was going to cost her.
As regards the notion of narcissism, the irony of course is the Chief Narcissist, Mr Self-Absorbed, Arch-Grifter is Trump himself.

Geoff W
Geoff W
7 months ago
Reply to  j watson

The Very Stable Genius a narcissist? Surely not!

0 0
0 0
7 months ago
Reply to  Geoff W

There are no more heroes anymore!

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
7 months ago
Reply to  j watson

I don’t think she was brave at all. Rather completely delusional and she had no self awareness that her position wass going to cost her her congressional seat. She still is clueless as to why people have turned away from her and her compadres of Never Trumpers.

Dominic A
Dominic A
7 months ago
Reply to  j watson

“As regards the notion of narcissism, the irony of course is the Chief Narcissist, Mr Self-Absorbed, Arch-Grifter is Trump himself.”
Extraordinary that Bateman chose to level that accusation at Cheney in this particular debate. Straight out of Trump’s kindergarten rhetoric playbook. The man really has a special ability to get people, left and right, to debase themselves. No fair! Do too! Shan’t! You’re a honkus! I’m gonna be the King of the World when I grow up!

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
7 months ago
Reply to  j watson

No doubt there. The problem for anti-trumpets is that he governed better than they did.

That’s got to be embarrassing. (And I dint say, governed well)

0 0
0 0
7 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

That’s because Trump was too ineffectual at his job to screw things up, too disorganized and easy distracted, so self absorbed to the point that he’s borderline clueless about the world around him, and so stubborn to the point that he’s incapable of adapting to situations as well as not able to learn from his mistakes. And simply easily manipulate by those around him through flattery. The system continued to work on function on inertia. Trump’s problem is he does not fully understand the gravity of the situation that he’s found himself in nor does he fully grasped the forces he’s unleashed and messing with.
Trump’s eventual fate regardless of what happens is that that he will either be rendered irrelevant by those who will eclipse him or he’ll be carried away by the forces he unleashed.

Last edited 7 months ago by 0 0
Bret Larson
Bret Larson
6 months ago
Reply to  0 0

Sounds like the perfect executive branch to me.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
7 months ago

> In this light, Cheney’s contribution is best understood as a culmination of a personal vendetta against both Trump and a party whose direction she has never been able to grasp.

This is a good example of your basic hit-piece. The author gives us few facts, instead he gives us sentence after sentence in which we learn nothing except that the author is not on the same side, politically, as Liz Cheney. He describes her inner life and her motivations in detail — all of it nothing more than his imaginings. You could take this article and simply replace the names with any names of your choice and it would be as good — namely useless. For example how about this:

Along with every other book in the Never Obama genre, if it is to serve any function, it is as a chronicle of a tumultuous period in a Democrat Party marked by ideological shifts and broken alliances.

… just change the names.

Last edited 7 months ago by Ray Andrews
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
7 months ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

Well-observed.

simon lamb
simon lamb
7 months ago

This exceptionally trite and conveniently self-serving diatribe has nothing to do with reality but has done as intended – whistled up a bunch of MAGA windbags to try and give intellectual merit to an indefensible narcissist with grandiose schemes for his own childish self aggrandizement, and the subjugation of all opposition. This is gaslighting in spades – attempting to rehabilitate a man loathed by all who worked for him and came to know his appalling personality up close. All the people he once appointed and praised as “the best” he has disowned and insulted because they got to see that behind the bullshit was…. much more bullshit. Liz Cheney is one who stood for principle against a MAGA (for which read fascist) party, and put that ahead of personal advancement. Evil thrives where good men and women do nothing, and she is doing something – a big and brave something. Everyone who on Jan. 6th said “no more” and “that’s it for me” has rowed back and subjugated principle for self service, to their everlasting shame.
Bateman is the narcissist here – pretending he can intellectualize a clown show. History (that is when the grown-ups- Republican and Democrat alike have seen off this embarrassing period in American history and brought sanity back to US politics) will judge him as the Haw-Haw of our times- a self-satisfied pseud of gigantic proportions.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
6 months ago
Reply to  simon lamb

Well stated. Hence the downvotes (not from me).

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
6 months ago
Reply to  simon lamb

My understanding of fascists is that they loathed free speech, the free market, and individualism in general. As totalitarians, they felt everything should be subordinate to the state.
Relentless censors and propagandists, they used ethnic greivances, street mobs, police forces, and intimidation tactics to win elections, and were not above outright fraud.
They also never hesitated, once in power, to turn the state against their political opponents, even staging an arson attack on the Reichstag (their legislature) to eliminate their opponents.
They also captured upper tier capitalism, replacing it with corporatism, and they eliminated economic freedoms, as well as personal freedoms.
All of these facts are easily obtainable by a reading of 20th century history.
I’m aware that the left categorizes everyone whose politics are moderate to conservative as fascists, but the left seems oblivious to clearly obvious historical parallels.
This is possible, I suppose, because they’re convinced of their own intellectual and moral superiority, a function of their glaringly inadequate educations. Otherwise, I would think, they would be driven insane by their own hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance.

T Bone
T Bone
7 months ago

Oliver nailed it here. The Never Trumpers are too grandiose. Constantly speaking in cliches. If some of them truly thought that Trump was a threat to Democracy and not just a drain on their personal ambitions, they would at least try to contextualize why someone of reasonable intelligence with the same set of facts could see things very differently.

William Simonds
William Simonds
7 months ago

Isn’t the simplest explanation of all this that Liz Cheney is an elitist in Republican clothing? Yes. Isn’t this just a rant that no one is paying attention to what she knows is her superior wisdom and understanding? Yes. Now that I’ve read this piece, is what she says worth any more of my gray matter? No.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
7 months ago

So Trump, the beneficiary of inherited wealth and connections, self-declared billionaire and Ivy League graduate is what: a salt-of-the-earth type in touch with the Common People?
Also, how ordinary and sub-elite do candidates have to be before they’d appeal to you as a voter? Most major office holders have advanced or professional degrees, Like law, medicine, or doctorate-in-something. Would it be better if they had GEDs and proved they didn’t like to read much, like Trump the silver-spoon buffoon?
Does asking and answering your own phony questions constitute an argument? No.

R.I. Loquitur
R.I. Loquitur
7 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

“So Trump, the beneficiary of inherited wealth and connections, self-declared billionaire and Ivy League graduate is what: a salt-of-the-earth type in touch with the Common People?”

Surprisingly yes, at least compared to your typical Senator or Congressman like Cheney, Schumer, McConnell, Pelosi,…etc. who became very rich once they took office (unlike Trump who has lost a fortune since seeking the Presidency). The best answer to the question of who amongst them is most focused on doing the “Peoples’ work” is clearly President Trump.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
7 months ago
Reply to  R.I. Loquitur

As H. L. Mencken put it:

On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.

Last edited 7 months ago by Ray Andrews
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
7 months ago
Reply to  R.I. Loquitur

Not merely surprising, but delusional. The greatest winners under any Trump administration–whether his first , second, or third (Trump III: The Cyborg Years) will always be wealthy Elites who don’t oppose him or hurt his gigantic yet fragile ego. He is all about himself and those who remain all about him. He claims to love the poorly educated, which he does, in a sense–as long as they continue to vote for him in droves. But the loyalty he demands is completely one-sided.

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
6 months ago

Cheney seems oblivious to the fact that a large majority of Republicans see her as completely out of touch with most of her party.
Much like Mitt Romney and Adam Kinzinger, she expects the party’s base to watch the middle classes decline, the poor riot, steal, or starve, the working classes die in wars, work accidents, or of opioid addiction, and the upper classes thrive, while chiding us all about imaginary racism and conjectural climatology.
She can go bleat about the appalling Donald Trump to the people who called her late father a war criminal.

herbertira.goldman@gmail.com goldman
herbertira.goldman@gmail.com goldman
6 months ago

I agree with AV on the problems he mentions: the middle class, the poor, continual war, etc. Aside from war, Trump would make everything else worse as he did in his first term. Trump and Biden are not good candidates and not good for theUS or the World. Bernie Sanders is the ideal choice.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago

So the never Trumpers are narcissists???? LOL! You guys are clowns.