If there’s one thing you learn working in campaigns, it’s that politics is always about the future. People care most about where we’re headed, what’s next, what’s new.
That’s why in America, even our political dynasties try to emphasize the future over the past.
George W. Bush got a huge boost from his family name and money, but he pushed a very different conservatism than his father.
Hillary Clinton earned the trust of many Democrats, but her presidential campaign faltered partly because she did not distinguish herself enough from the history of the Clinton administration.
And that brings us to the newest Republican star. “I am running because I believe it is necessary for a new generation of leaders to step up to the plate,” Liz Cheney said in her You Tube video. “I am running because I know as a mother and a patriot we can no longer afford simply to go along to get along. We can’t continue business as usual in Washington.”
Liz Cheney just jumped into a primary to topple Mike Enzi, a conservative senator in Wyoming.
That surprised Enzi, who has ties to the Cheneys. He offered what may be the most emo campaign message since Ed Muskie’s moist eyes in 1972.
“I thought we were friends,” said the 69-year-old Republican.
What? Maybe if you’re an entitled political elite, friendship means never having to run in a contested election.
But of course, Cheney has every right to run, even against a friend and even against a conservative who mirrors her views!
Enzi has a 93% conservative rating–and that’s over his entire career.
So Cheney can’t really run to his right on policy. She has to do it on style.
And that brings us back to the future. The Republicans don’t need another Dick Cheney on the national stage.
Cheney left the vice president’s office as one of the most reviled federal officials in history–74% of Americans viewed him negatively. That includes millions of conservatives.
So if Liz Cheney continues to double down on his approach–the politics of fear, the tactics of intimidation, the abuse of secrecy and the endless defense of torture in the war against terrorists, she may live up to the Cheney legacy–but she’ll struggle to convince voters we need a Cheney dynasty.