In most of the country, the Cheney name is deeply unpopular. People poke fun at Joe Biden and mock Al Gore, but Dick Cheney stands as one of the most hated and vilified Vice Presidents since Spiro Agnew. And if Republicans have abandoned George W. Bush, then in the case of Cheney, they’ve worked to erase him from their memory of the last administration.
All of this is why it’s odd that his daughter, Liz Cheney, has emerged as a viable candidate for the Wyoming Senate seat currently held by Mike Enzi. Now, it is true that the Cheneys are a long-time fixture in a state known for its conservative politics. But that only explains the viability of Cheney as a candidate. It says nothing about her reason for running. In fact, it’s hard to think of one.
Enzi is a model conservative, with doctrinaire stances on most issues. There’s no reason to challenge him. Even still, conservative activists like Erick Erickson have lined up behind Cheney, who seems to be running for the sake of running. The entire thing, in fact, is a nice illustration of what’s gone wrong with the Republican Party. It’s no longer enough to be a conservative senator; you have to be one with a particular kind of conservative identity. Liz Cheney fits that—she’s angry and combative—Enzi, not so much. And for that reason, activists will support Cheney’s challenge to Enzi.
If you’re hoping for a return to moderation for the GOP, think about the message that sends.
SO THEY SAY
“I thought we were friends."
—Mike Enzi, the Wyoming senator who now has to face off against Liz Cheney in a primary—and thought he knew her dad pretty well.
DAILY MEME: RICHARD CORDRAY GETS A JOB
- FINALLY. The Senate, after much nuclear optioning and bickering and whining, hasconfirmed Richard Cordray to be head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
- Many Republicans, resigned to their fate, are still freaked out about the watchdog agency that Senator Enzi sees as "a Google Earth on every financial transaction" ...
- ... but some common sense from Rob Portman and John McCain helped Cordray snag the approval of 17 Republicans.
- Senator Elizabeth Warren, the CFPB's biggest champion on the Hill (and the person who almost walked in Cordray's long-unappointed shoes) is beaming: "Now we have the watchdog that the American people deserve—a watchdog looking out for middle class families, getting rid of tricks, traps, and fine print, and holding financial institutions accountable when they break the law."
- Later, on MSNBC, she said "We’ve got a full fledged watchdog. The one we fought for, and [Cordray] is going to be there to fight for us. I love it!”
- Americans—mostly still miffed at banks post-Occupy—are happy about the confirmation.
- The contours of the deal which has paved a path for many of Obama's nominees to finally get a vote also means that two slots on the National Labour Review Board areup for grabs.
- For now though, the CFPB can finally get to work, after two long, long years of fighting.
WHAT WE'RE WRITING
- Abby Rapoport checks in on the voter-ID fight in Pennsylvania, and what it means for similar voting-rights fights across the country.
- Will liberals regret the baby steps taken in the two big same-sex marriage cases if a Republican president is elected in 2016? Scott Lemieux wonders.
WHAT WE'RE READING
- Molly Ball explains how the fight over immigration reform shows that the fringe of the GOP is slowly eating up the party's soul.
- "Health insurance has suddenly become affordable in New York. It’s not bargain-basement prices, but we’re going from Bergdorf’s to Filene’s here." Obamacare islooking good in New York, and the Obama administration, you can be sure, is ready to make sure everyone keeps hearing about it for a long time.
- Will the case over Jordan Davis' death be the ultimate test of "stand your ground" laws in Florida?
- Also, there is a concealed-carry permit held by one in 14 Florida adults, making the state tops in the nation in that regard.
- Why does this humble magician need a disaster plan for his rabbit?
- Does the Senate really need to confirm over one thousand appointees?!
- A novel (we guess) way of scoring party invites on the Hill.
POLL OF THE DAY
Democratic Terry McAuliffe leads Republican Ken Cuccinelli by four points in Virginia's governor's race, according to new Public Policy Polling results. Neither the well-connected Democratic party operative nor the anti-Obamacare, anti-abortion attorney general have positive approval ratings, though there's still plenty of time for them to wow voters before the November election.