Just When You Thought The Cheneys Couldn’t Get Any Worse
Since the Supreme Court threw out Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in late June, LGBT couples have quietly achieved victory after victory when it comes to visas, taxes and health care.
But perhaps the greatest victory came Friday when the name “Cheney” became delinked from the cause of equal marriage, which has now achieved more in three months than during Newt Gingrich’s, Donald Trump’s or Rush Limbaugh’s last three marriages.
Liz Cheney — daughter of former vice president of the United States and CEO of Halliburton Dick Cheney — declared on Friday, “I am not pro-gay marriage.”
For years, conservatives had fun prodding the left by noting that Dick Cheney was more progressive than President Obama on the issue of same-sex marriage. In 2004, even as George W. Bush was running for re-election under the banner that we needed a Constitutional amendment banning marriage equality — presumably to preserve the sanctity of Gingrich’s, Trump’s and Limbaugh’s latest marriages — the elder Cheney declared that he thought same-sex marriage was a state matter.
And that is now his daughter Liz’s opinion, more than eight years later. Thankfully, the president has leapfrogged (or leap-evolved) over the Cheneys, as evidenced by his second inaugural address, the first to ever mention gay rights, and his administration’s clear policy that marriage is marriage, regardless of what a state says.
Cheney felt obligated to state her “states’ rights” stance because a poll showed Wyoming voters were confused on what her stand was and her only justification for her primary challenge against Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) is that she’s more conservative than he is. And when it comes to marriage, Enzi shares George W. Bush’s desire to amend the Constitution for the first time to take away a right from a specific group by banning gay marriage.
Updating her stance on marriage would be possibly the only interesting stance Cheney could take in her primary campaign. Her qualification(s) for trying to unseat Enzi include a position at the State Department she got thanks to her last name and years of spitting invective at President Obama on Fox News. If being a beneficiary of nepotism and saying horrible things about Obama were qualifications for the U.S. Senate, the GOP wouldn’t still be desperate for decent Senate candidates in Michigan, Georgia and Virginia, where Liz Cheney actually lives.
Of course, there is one Cheney who is as progressive as the president now is when it comes to equal marriage: Mary Cheney.
On her Facebook page, the other Cheney daughter, who is openly gay, posted the following and asked people to share it:
For the record, I love my sister, but she is dead wrong on the issue of marriage. Freedom means freedom for everyone. That means that all families—regardless of how they look or how they are made—all families are entitled to the same rights, privileges and protections as every other.
LOL. And good for Mary Cheney.
Unfortunately, Mary Cheney isn’t running for office. Liz Cheney is.
In 2004, Dick Cheney proved that even conservative Republicans are one gay child away from a sensible view on marriage. In 2012, Liz Cheney is proving that Republicans will sell out a sibling to win a primary.
This family drama suggests that things are are not getting “better” for the GOP, the way activists promise LGBT teens it will get better for them. In fact, the new generation of the Cheney family, along with the Paul and Cruz families, suggests the GOP is evolving into something scarier, if that’s possible.
Liz Cheney shares her mildly progressive stand on gay marriage with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), one Republican who is a true heir of the Tea Party movement, which actually began around his father’s campaign for president in 2008. The movement was co-opted by Fox News and big money “non-profits” like the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks and became a synonym for the GOP base, which is closer to Enzi than Paul on marriage. But Paul remains true to the anti-interventionalist and states’ rights views of his father.
Some would argue that the younger Paul is an improvement over his father — who is currently keeping busy speaking at anti-Semitic conferences and using the words “false flag” to describe what’s going in Syria.
Many rational observers would also suggest that Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is a diet version of his father Rafael, who has recently become the darling of the far right by calling same-sex marriage a socialist plot and yelling things like, “…they can take our lives, they can take our fortunes, but they cannot take our honor! They cannot take our honor! No one can take our honor!”
But the Ivy League-educated younger Cruz is an articulate, impressive vessel for translating those views to a larger audience. Ted shares his father’s fear of globalist plots and desire to make America’s ruling class feel persecuted. And he translates that into a political movement that attempts to bully Republicans out of doing anything that resembles governing.
Rand Paul doesn’t use words like “false flag” in public. But he goes the radio shows of guys who do and translates his father’s view that government only hurts people into a plan to immediately privatize Medicare and cut services faster than even Paul Ryan would ever dream of.
The younger Paul, Cruz and Cheney represent a new generation of Republicans unchecked by reality and unbound by ambition.
Where Dick Cheney fixated Americans on the threats abroad, Paul and Cruz are focused on the threats within that are trying to destroy America by making health care more available and asking the rich and corporations, who are almost exclusively benefiting from our recovery, to pay a little more in taxes. And Rand and Ted are good at it, which is scary. Liz Cheney, however, is a terrible politician. But given her last name, she could still win.
After the disaster Dick Cheney helped lead America into, it seemed that things could only get better for America. They have, as LGBT couples can tell you. But the GOP’s willingness to threaten disaster and infect our national conversation with discourse reminiscent of McCarthyism has only gotten worse.
Still, when it comes to Cheneys being able to marry, maybe the states should decide. Because obviously the risk is that they may reproduce.
Photo: Liz Cheney for Senate