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Maureen Dowd had an unusually good piece in the Sunday NYT reminding us why we must not make a hero or martyr of Cheney: she details the origin of the Big Lie with Cheney’s father, and her complicity with it in getting career started. I recommend reading it along with this piece.

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Yes, Maureen Dowd's piece is excellent, Mary. That said, I don't believe that anyone really wants to make a hero or martyr of Liz Cheney. For the time being, she is merely a voice of reason trumpeting from within the GOP -- she is not on our side, but at the very least, she highlights two significant truths: the dangers posed by 45's Big Lie and by his very presence as so-called leader of the GOP. It is so critical to ingest what she says in order to understand all factions of that fractured party.

According to Søren Kierkegaard: "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." By appealing to Reagan and events of the past, Cheney is being quite strategic in her approach toward the inquisitors who accuse her of political heresy. If she plays her cards right, we may have to deal with another kettle of fish -- good or bad, she can't be worse than mangoface.

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Actually - and I say this as someone who has long considered myself an active opponent of people named Cheney - she is on our side. So are the never-Trump conservatives. There are two political parties now - the party that believes in democracy and the party that doesn't. When things are over and we can safely go back to worrying about policy differences, rather than the existence of the democratic constitutional republic, we can go back to being political opponents. But right now we are - like it or not - in a coalition like that which won World War II. If Churchill could offer Stalin an alliance without conditions, after spending 20 years trying to overthrow his government, because as he said, "If Hitler were to invade Hell, I should at least have a good word for the Devil," we can do no less. I don't like her and I doubt I ever will, but that is irrelevant. What she is saying now is the truth. It's truth we all agree on.

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To all those who can't cotton to Cheney's politics: We are not discussing Cheney's particular politics right now. We are recognizing and agreeing with her overarching belief in our Constitutional democracy. Particular politics comes along later in the equation after our Constitutional Republic survives.

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Excellent differentiation. Thank you, Claudia.

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Politically-/Policy-wise I am opposed to Cheney. However, if it came down to a choice between the Trump-McCarthy-McConnell bloc and the Cheney-Kinzinger bloc, I'd choose the latter.

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I gather you take her speech straight and consider her a convert to democracy crying out in the Republican wilderness? If so I fervently hope you are right.

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👍👍

My wife just said Liz is Daddy’s little girl. Spawn of war criminal. Yes, we are on the side of the devil now. Whodathunk.

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"...on the side of the devil now. Whodathunk." That's a good one. I never thought I would ever said anything nice about her. She is playing a long game to save the Republican Party. However, as I said before don't trust her as far as I can throw her.

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No, she is not deserving of our trust. What she is doing is both admirable and a bold political play. But her ascendancy would not be good news for the values we hold dear, except for democracy, of course! Which, as TC points out, is pretty much all that matters at this point. We can work out the details later.

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That’s exactly what the founders of Israel thought about the ultra-right. Just saying.

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She voted 93% in compliance with DT. She is not our hero or friend in any way, shape or form.

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And yet, here we are....

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"The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

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Seems I woke up today as an incarnation of Debby Downer, but the actual proverb, which takes my side in this discussion, is “The enemy of my enemy is not my friend.”

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At this point, I will settle for working with enemies of fascism.

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You assert this several times, and I am curious why you are so convinced of this. The proverb 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend' is from the Arthashastra, from the 4th century BCE https://www.worldhistory.org/Arthashastra/ although the original text is quite a bit wordier... you can find it here in Book 6: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Arthashastra/Book_VI -- what is the source of your claim that there is an even earlier proverb, stating that the enemy of my enemy is NOT my friend?

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does it count that it is a devil with a constitution, or a belief in our shared constitution?

(missed your contributions, Roland. Glad to see you back.)

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Hi Kim. Yes, of course it counts. That’s why the “Whodathunk” comment. I think all the comparisons to Stalin and Churchill are apropos. Anyone who misses the connection between Felon45 and Adolf Hitler has not been paying attention. The Republicans are at risk of becoming a modern version of the Nazi Party, that’s what this is all about, and no I am not being hyperbolic nor am I exaggerating. The Germans were doing what the racist anti-Semitic sexist wing (the whackos) of the Republican Party is now doing. It’s a crucial moment in American history. This is not an average week for us.

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Cheeto is our homegrown Hitler.

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Well, Roland, you got me to give up my determination to just read Heather's letter and then hit the sack. Your last two sentences did it: the hyperbole of "crucial moment" justaposed with the understated "not an average week". Perfect. I go to bed (soon, I hope) with the sense that something went right, at least briefly. Thanks.

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Rather, I think that the devil has come to our side, at least temporarily.

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The adage that comes to mind for me is "Even a broken clock is right 2 times a day." Cheney is as "broken" as it gets, but on this one issue--"Trumpty Dumpty"--she is spot on. I think it's certain that "Trumpty Dumpty" is headed for a fall.

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Please consider signing on to Heather's Herd, Roland. Your friends want to see and hear you.

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Is it possible to share that link? She gave it to me once but I lost it

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I too would appreciate the link

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And what is Heather's Herd pray tell?

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It's an informal group of LFAA subscribers, oriented toward practical political action, who stay in touch by email. There may be several dozen participants so far. The email is posted here periodically. Admission is by invitation, with decisions made by three moderators who comment regularly on LFAA.

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You know why I didn't, TPJ? I have an aversion to anything that begins with somebody's name. And "Herd"? A group that just moves along in the same direction as everyone else without thinking too much about it? I know that's not what you are doing. But the implications of a name like that leave me feeling a little queasy. Can you guys come up with a name a little more, um, dynamic? Or whatever?

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I see your point, but I can't fully accept her ally-ship. During unsettling times, the enemy of my enemy becomes my friend -- not the best of allianced. Churchill and Stalin didn't trust e/o one little bit.

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Yes but the British and Americans helped rearm his forces and feed his people as a result supplying all through the dangerous convoys to Murmansk.....risking their own personnel's lives to do it. It helps build a belief at least that they share their principal...if not all....objectives. Anything that can be done to help "ease her task" should be welcomed until such a time as interests diverge once again.

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We do share the same objective - the maintenance of democracy, where we scrabble with each other and respect the results.

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Right the overarching goal is to save our democracy.

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I would agree if I thought her plan was to save democracy. According to Dowd it is not, and never has been. Her piece is informative. I suggested people read it, not that they blame Lynn Cheney for the sins of her father.

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This, TPJ. I posted my comment before I saw yours. YES to having a democracy to bicker about.

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Republicans won't listen to anyone on the left, not even Manchin, so even if she is a hypocrite and untrustworthy, she is telling the truth about the election and about Trump. Maybe she is like a sacrifice bunt for the GOP? Perhaps to save them or to advance a new runner---Stefanik?

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Stuart, exactly!

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Those were brave people who manned the Allied supply convoys to Murmansk. German U-boats were kings of the seas through 1942 and sank thousands and thousands of Allied ships. About 15 years ago, I read a 1942 copy of "LIFE Magazine" in which President Roosevelt [in a close paraphrase] said, "The people of the United States will be eternally grateful to the Russian people for the sacrifices they have made." Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and other Allied leaders wanted to send as many supplies as possible to the Soviet Union because the Soviet armies were keeping the German Wehrmacht away from British and American shores.

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Your response to my point below seems to have disappeared, so I'll just respond here. Yalta and the supplies were the price that Roosevelte and Churchill paid for the creation of the second front. The Treaty effectively gave Eastern Europe to Stalin to do as he wished. Hence the headlong rush of allied forces to get to Berlin ahead of the Russians...they were late as the latter East German boundary testified. Whether the Western leaders were aware of the fact that Stalin probably killed more people than Hitler at the time is a moot question....but I think that the Ukrainians might have told them. What Stalin did to the Poles he had already done to the Russian people....a real model for Pol Pot.

Given the underlying competing ideologies dictating world dominance ....granted, in different ways....one can hardly be surprised at the poor US-Soviet relations thereafter. Stalin however mostly respected his part of the deal in that he stopped Communists taking over in France for instance after the war as they had been the mainstay of french resistance to the Nazi invaders....after 1942! Similar uncontrolled communist eruptions in Greece and Belgium were left to the tender mercies of Churchill to do the job.

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Good points. We also need to remember that 80 percent of the deaths in World War II worldwide happened on the Eastern Front. The Soviets lost more men at Stalingrad than we lost in the entire war. At Tehran, Stalin promised to start an offensive within a week of the Allied landing in Normandy, to take pressure off the invasion; the Soviet 1944 offensive began on June 10, four days after D-Day and did remove the pressure. At Yalta, he promised to enter the war with Japan 90 days after the Germans surrendered. On August 9, the Soviets invaded Manchuria. The record of the Japanese Supreme War Council for that day makes no mention of the fact that Nagasaki had been bombed. All eyes were on the Soviets, because they knew they had no defenses in Manchuria or in northern Japan, having sent everything to Kyushu to oppose the coming US invasion. The Soviets planned to invade Hokkaido from Sakhalin at the end of September, a good 5-6 weeks before Operation Coronet, the Kyushu invasion (which would likely have failed in the face of the kamikazes and the Japanese beach defenses - I spoke to a Marine who was part of the Marine leadership of the 6th division, who all visited the beach they would have hit after the surrender in September. They all agreed, after talking to their opposite numbers and looking at the defenses, that they would never have gotten off the beach). Had that invasion happened, the Soviets would have taken Hokkaido and Honshu already.

We believe Japan surrendered because of the A-bombs because that was what they told us. In fact they were happy to surrender to us, rather than to the tender mercies of the Russians, who hadn't forgotten the events of 1905 and whose "mercies" in Germany after the surrender they had knowledge of.

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How did my comment disppear, Stuart? I didn't do it. It shouldn't have been offensive except to a Russian not.

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Ah! The wonders of new technology. Always there to make life easier for us all. Previously we would be writing letters and awaiting the response...which wouldn't disappear in a puff of smoke between gmail and substack. In the meantime we managed to get around it!😁

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Bot, not "not".

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Rowshan, this is one of the mysteries of Substack. For unknown reasons, sometimes it shuffles comments around. I've searched fruitlessly for comments I KNOW I have read, sworn they were lost, only to have them unexpectedly pop up in some peculiar context (sometimes sounding even more appropriate than they did in the original context!). Yours too, will reappear. Often it happens for me when I near the end, and then keeps going- then the missing comment appears, and it is actually somewhere near the beginning. Some weird intellectual cycle and I don't even want to know how or why. Life started out weird and it is determined to stay that way.

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If you want to get a bit into the weeds on this, see Forgotten Bastards of the Eastern Front, by Serhii Plokhii.

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Completely right.

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Precisely. In this fight we are not choosing friends. We are choosing a side - that of democracy.

I have mixed feelings of course. On the one hand, her opposition to Trump is sudden. During Trump’s Presidency I can’t recall her ever opposing him, at least until the eve of the insurrection. She was a rising force within the Party and I guess it behooved her to be a good soldier through his Presidency. She appears sagacious now, but she was one of the leading voices in support of Trump in the Ukraine impeachment, with numerous media moments. I thought her arguments were typical of the weak tea the GOP was serving up on behalf of Trump.

Nonetheless, she is now at the head of a movement to pull the Republicans back from the cliff they are so rushing so eagerly to. She may succeed in the long run and she may not. But she was unequivocal in her words last night and has at least rocked the lickspittles who currently “lead” the Republicans. One suspects that she has more powerful support behind her than we know.

And finally, who else could we expect to perform this feat. The Republicans have been the very embodiment of mediocrity and mendacity for decades now. Their intellectual poverty came dazzlingly into view with Newt Gingrich in the 90s a man of some intelligence and no wisdom. George W., Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz led a bound to fail bid for a spreading of American hegemony going forward. It’s not hard to recall how they wreaked havoc in pushing forward A Project For a New American Century.

They moved on to be slapped around by the Tea Party movement with luminaries such as Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin and Grover Norquist swinging for the fences. For a hot minute Bobby Jindal was thought to be the savior of the Party. Then it was Marco Rubio’s turn. Then, in an hour of greatest weakness, they allowed themselves to be seduced by Trump.

Really, it’s beyond astonishing how stony their soil has been. The Republicans have been masters of tactical maneuvers to win elections. Once won, they have not once shown themselves worthy in leadership.

The stakes appear immensely high now. The loyal opposition will do what it will do. We can but watch uneasily as they confront yet another “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?” moment.

There is no Joe DiMaggio. Liz Cheney will have to do for the time being.

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Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you...

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This is right. This is why I once applauded Mitt Romney, why John McCain will always be a hero to me. Do you remember Corker and Flake? I may not have liked their policies but they didn’t betray the Constitution or bow to the golden calf.

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Whereas I agree completely, I was very disappointed that they chose to bow out rather than engage in a very public fight to keep their seats, Flake in particular. We needed that vocal example then, even if they lost big, and they missed that opportunity.

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My heroes as well.

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There is an ancient proverb written in Sanskrit in the 4th century BC that expresses the following sentiment: "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".

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I'm sorry but you have that proverb wrong. It's "The enemy of my enemy is not my friend"--and that's the wisdom we need reminding of at such times.

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Two proverbs instead of one . . . .

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I am curious about why people think she believes in the Constitution. Is it because she said so in this speech?

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Good question. She hasn't done much that I'm aware of that would engender trust. Words are cheap. And although I'm glad any Republican with in-house bona fides is contradicting the party line, I don't expect much to come of it.

One thing I've learned over my long life is that men do not follow women. They use women and sometimes set them up to test the waters, but the notion of 'follow the money' is sometimes secondary to 'follow the men'....the ones with both money and power having the greatest advantage.

We'll hear nothing about Liz Cheney in a month as the media focuses on the next shiny trinket and people go about the business of recovery, exhausted from the past year, especially, and sick of politics. I don't think most Americans even know what democracy is, let alone worry about its survival.

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I could not agree more. Let's encourage the former Republican Party to set up its circular firing squads. The rest of us need to recognize that the line has been drawn between republican democracy and fascist autocracy. All that matters now is which side you're on.

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100%.

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Absolutely right TCinLA

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I love that they are about to split themselves in two. Take a little joy wherever you can get it these days. This is our biggest advantage if the DOJ and SDNY do not produce all the atrocities and indictments of the seditionists and their sordid behaviors. I think they should be entitled the "Seditionist Party" or "Know Nothings II." Can you believe Texas wants to blatantly stop education of their children about current events as well as accurate history? You cannot control and manipulate educated persons. They know it and are working hard to prevent it. The Matrix is frighteningly alive in America. Modern slavery, enforced caste system. I don't think so, Texas. We will work to free your people, of all colors, from the Seditionists.

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Texas's legislature has been trying to prevent children from being educated for the last 40 years. This is why they wanted, about 20 years ago, all reference to Thomas Jefferson removed from their high school US history textbooks.

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And, Linda, could you give some thought to joining Heathers Herd, if you have not yet?

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I keep hearing about this group but haven't got any info. I would love to but I think the info gets deleted.

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Amazing how they keep trying. Thanks for background, Linda.

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It is my observation that Ronald Reagan died a second and lasting death when the Republican Party was turned into a wholly owned subsidiary of Trump & Co. I'd go so far as to bet good money that the likes of Jordan, Gaetz, Greene, Boebert, Nunes know nothing about Reagan. (Just to be perfectly clear, Reagan is a name that gives me the heebie jeebies. Still, I grant that he understood how government works and he played his role with a modicum of dignity. I recently came across his farewell address and, as much as hate to admit this, it brought tears to my eyes.)

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Ronald Reagan had people around him who knew how government worked. "Conservative Activists" who knew the mistakes from the past, learned from them, and made the way for Donald Trump to become President. Ronald Reagan was the salesman more than a leader. He was a one of a kind communicator. He delivered some amazing speeches. Liz Cheney's speech yesterday could be considered Reaganess.

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While I certainly can't say that listening to political speeches is one of my favorite entertainments, I do recall listening to a few of Reagan's speeches and I never figured out why he was called the "Great Communicator." He never made a lick o' sense to me -- it all seemed to be a jumble of bumper-sticker slogans with little rationale or reason.

For fun, read the account by Dr. Oliver Sachs of the reaction of his patients to Reagan's speeches, patients who were hospitalized for neurological defects involving either the understanding of speech or in the interpretation of facial expressions. The former group had become skilled in reading body language and concluded that Reagan was a liar from the mismatch between his face and his gestures. The latter group concluded Reagan was a liar because his words and concepts were disconnected from each other and made no sense.

At least, that's how I recall that section. I think it was from "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat," which used to be in my little personal library but which I can no longer find (grumble). Any clarification would be welcome.

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I love that Sacks essay! And I felt exactly as you did listening to Reagan.

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Who could have believed that Reagan, a really bad actor, could have convinced so many.

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A friend’s father was a journalist in Germany in the late 30s, before we joined the war. He asked to come back to NY after he found himself moved to tears by a speech of Hitler’s.

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He was an actor who could still deliver lines written by some young and articulate conservatives, even though he couldn't have told you two minutes after delivering those lines what they were or meant.

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Reagan was a game.

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We need a worthy opponent

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Susan, exactly! One not detached from reality.

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Mangoface. Hahaha. I prefer hateful toad, but this is good.

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So good to hear you quote Kierkegaard.

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I believe we need to work with Republicans, like Cheney, on the issues we can work with them on. Saving our democracy certainly seems like one of those issues. But, Mary, as you point out there are issues with Republican leadership. VP Cheney was comfortable with the Big Lie about WMD to take us into Iraq. Republicans were okay with Iran-Contragate that created a shadow government. Republicans have been okay with playing parliamentary games to sabotage sharing of governance.

Democrats need to work with Cheney and other Republicans to save our democracy. At the same, those Republicans serious about saving our democracy must face the serious issues they have created in burning trust in our government with their dangerous rhetoric that government is the problem.

Republicans wanting to save our democracy cannot expect to go back to their slash and burn parliamentary gamesmanship that has brought us all to this point. Like others, I hope there are back room discussions taking place among responsible representatives of both parties to meet this crisis of democracy as Americans who care about our democratic project.

It's hard to imagine a more existential crisis than this one.

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And just like Churchill working with Stalin, while it is strategic to ally ourselves with Cheney in these dire times, we must never forget what she stands for. A tiger does not change her stripes and, while she is far preferable to Trump and his minions, that's a damn low bar for her to clear. She is otherwise reprehensible.

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The first place for Republicans to start would be refuting the lies that McTurtle and Ted Cruz said about the For the People Act in the Senate yesterday. Saying that it was the Dems that we’re trying to control elections was a huge lie. Oh, and how about Dr. Fauci having to call out the other ridiculous lie that Rand Paul said about out funding the Wuhan lab? So they have many chances to show that they are willing to save democracy. But I’m not holding my breath.

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Yep--golly gee, Republicans have to grow up and behave like adults instead of 6 year olds trying to slither out of taking ownership of the crap they have caused? Quel horreur.

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Like you I hope the Democrats can find some reasonable Republicans to work with. I don’t happen to think Cheney is one of them.

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All of the Republicans that Democrats can work with call themselves Democrats.

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Frankly the pandemic was my biggest existential conundrum—the fact that the political crises merge into one period has and continues to be overwhelming.

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Yes, the pandemic has been especially hard on working families with children. These folks have been placed between a rock and a hard place, many of them having to idle one-half of their working pair to stay home to keep house and rear children I can't imagine a harder situation to be in.

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For sure!

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Jeff Flake in Todays WaPo: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/05/11/jeff-flake-liz-cheney-republican-party/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_opinions&utm_campaign=wp_opinions

Also, Charles Blow last week: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/05/opinion/liz-cheney-republicans.html?searchResultPosition=2

It is important to be aware that creating an alliance with people with whom we fundamentally disagree does not include pretending that the new ally has changed. Political pragmatism means sitting down at a table and talking to people whose political opinions one might abhor, but if they are, at least, not actively trying to destroy democracy as we know it, they are worth talking to. We can worry about the political positions Ms Cheney professes once the stark threat of possible nazification of the USA has been neutralized.

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Winston Churchill needed only seven words to summarize the value of the Soviet alliance: "They are very good at killing Germans."

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WC was so pragmatic.

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Sometimes, not always.

"Winston has a hundred ideas a day, and four of them are good."

-- Variously attributed, including FDR

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WC was such a character— yes I can imagine why FDR said that and poor long suffering Clementine. He was an exhausting husband.

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Liz Cheney. Mitt Romney. Jeff Flake. George W. Bush. And others like them. These people do not believe in what I believe in. They do not want what I want for our country. But. We Have No Choice, but to form a temporary alliance with these kind of Republicans to fight back against Trump and his ilk. And for God's sake, all kinds of liberals need to suck it up and stand together right now to fight off this nightmare.

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My brother-in-law once quipped that Trump is the best thing that ever happened to George W. Bush -- he actually looks like a senior statesman in comparison.

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Is there a way to join together?

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The Democratic Party need to step up and build an alliance, like thenLincoln Project or with the Lincoln Project. We all have plenty of time to go our separate ways later.

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We have 9 years on the climate. Is that enough time?

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Just breathe through your mouth for a while...like when you dissect a frog.

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Oh. THATs what “mouth breathers” means!

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I read it but though I’m so aware of why I couldn’t stand the Cheney’s before, this speech of hers goes a long way toward standing up for a real two party system.

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Having read it, can I ask what you think Cheney’s motives to be? It seems unlikely to me that they include saving democracy, given the actions of her past.

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She is clearly standing up for the principles of our democracy, rule of law and constitution while her colleagues like McCarthy are kissing Cheeto’s ring. Whatever else she has done or will do, at the moment, I forgive.

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Cheeto has a new name in WaPo’s comments section:

“Been-A-Dick Donald.”

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He doesn’t deserve so many syllables—dickhead works-Cheeto dick head

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No more than four characters needed, e.g. Idjt, 1/45.

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Liz I would like to believe that but I need evidence. She has participated in big lying throughout her career—why should I believe her now? That isn’t a rhetorical question.

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I don’t need to believe her motives— I like the words of her speech because they help our cause and if the Repugs splinter off to 2 or 3 parties that helps us too.

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I see your point, but in the context can't agree. She's dangerous, and the motives of her long game are are important. Everyone knows the next "T****" will be slick, plausible and have a working vocabulary: ideally she'll be a woman. Cheney was hand in hand with her autocratic father throughout the opening years of the Age of Lies, has hard right views, big political ambitions, and gives no sign in her actions or views of a normal conscience. Her enthusiasm for waterboarding is discouraging, and that she can manipulate rhetoric doesn't allay my fear. I hope I'm wrong. Here's John Nichols, if Maureen Dowd doesn't do it for you: https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/liz-cheney-trump/

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Forgive, but don’t forget.

#AppalachianGrudgeHolder

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Don’t worry— I’m a Scorpio and I never forget the bad stuff!

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Is it perhaps Trump’s most dangerous legacy that we become a nation of cynics?

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It's Nixon's legacy first. 1/45 deepened it.

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I don’t think it’s cynical to be skeptical of a person like this. I’m a pro-democracy activist and put a lot of my time and precious energy into that.

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Thanks for mentioning Maureen Dowd’s column. I missed it originally and went back after your note. I think that she is right on in her comments. I also agree with you in several of your comments that we should treat Liz Cheney’s role in challenging the ‘Big Lie’ not as one that is a fight for democracy but rather as a fight for power in the current Republican Party. As Dowd notes the makings for the ‘Big Lie’ were established for the rush up to the Iraq war in 2003 when Cheney’s dad pushed his own big lie with the intel manufactured to support Iraqi possession of weapons of mass destruction. The Cheney’s are neoliberals with a strong penchant for an all-powerful executive branch that favors authoritarianism rather than democracy. This is clearly a power struggle between two factions within the Republican Party neither of which is in favor of democracy. Both will march under the tune of the Koch donor oligarch network.

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Liz Cheney is playing the role of disinfectant. The infection may or may not be cured. But we should not forget that if Cheney is successful in eradicating Trumpism, a healthier Republican party may emerge.

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Healthier in what way? Do we want an invigorated autocratic far-right party? I don't see Cheney disavowing Reaganomics or voter suppression laws. I don't see her addressing climate change or the excesses of free-market capitalism.

I hope they splinter to pieces.

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Erik, that was my point (perhaps not clear). The Republican party of Trump is unstable, diseased, likely to crumble. Cheney is trying to save it. We should be wary of cheering for her to succeed.

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Ah, ok. I understand.

Yeah no. I am certainly not cheering for her to succeed in saving the party. I am heartened to see the split become more obviously highlighted, though, and so I would like to see her continue to press the cause.

It's very thin line, isn't it, between wanting Republican opposition to Trump become *just strong enough* to stop the overtly fascist takeover but not strong enough to continue their policies with no further introspection.

Myself, I'm kind of worn out by just how interesting the times have become. Are we cursed? ;)

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Politics makes strange bedfellows, and the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Keep your eyes open and you hand on your wallet: but don't turn down earnest help over political differences.

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Again: could you please tell me why you think she is earnest? All politicians are performers. She is additionally a public liar. What do you know about her that makes you believe she's earnest? I worry about her long game and her extremism frightens me. I've watched Marine LePen pull off such an approach in France (she had to boot her own father out of the party he founded to manage it) and the results are scary.

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She is clearly in earnest about taking a public stand against Trump. In doing so, she is obviously scuttling her obvious career-path, and setting herself against her party. Maybe she has a deep game. Maybe she doesn't. I can't guess why she's doing this.

Her political calculation could be as simple as ours: she prefers democracy. I don't know why she would prefer democracy. I don't know why Heather prefers democracy: I do know that she does, because she's said as much. I'm not entirely clear on why I prefer democracy, but I know that I do. Maybe Ms. Cheney prefers it because she thinks democracy gives her political advantages that autocracy would not. Maybe she's recently "discovered Jesus." I don't know, and I really don't care.

I do refuse to view every politician as a super-intelligent, psychopathic machine full of dastardly motives, with a long and deep game (bwah, ha-ha) that every move is calculated to advance, because that is simply ridiculous. The fact is, most of them are really rather dim herd animals, and -- like Gaetz -- when presented with an opportunity to use their power and wealth to "scratch an itch," they do so without much thought for even short-term consequences.

The only thing that is clear is that Cheney is standing publicly against Trump, and is a sharp edge against which the Republican Party could split in two. It's already a minority party. If it splits, and still holds power, we don't have a democracy at all, and should have our own come-to-Jesus moment and stop pretending.

So the presumption is that a split Republican Party would not hold power after the split, and the Democratic Party would therefore hold power until an opposition party got its shit together. If that resolved democratically, it would take years, maybe decades.

Unfortunately, the way that would probably play out is that one of the Republican splits would dominate, and after having eaten its weaker sibling, would come roaring back. My money would be on a fully fascist Republican party: populist and autocratic. Hitler all over again.

That's why Biden's thrust for stability is so important. What allowed Hitler to gain power was the wide and deep discontent of the citizens of Germany under the Weimar Republic. Had most Germans been happy campers, Hitler would never have risen to power. We in the US have, as a people that fundamentally misunderstands the real relationship between government and prosperity, been enabling government action that has dissolved everything that makes us happy as humans, for at least forty years. We are deeply discontent, and growing more so. If that isn't addressed, and promptly, we are simply tilling the earth for a new fascism.

I think Biden has the right idea: I think he grasps this. So what has to happen in the short-term is to move the obstruction out of the way, so that we can reduce the level of discontent over crumbling infrastructure, bad policing, bad healthcare systems, etc., etc., etc.

Any guarantees that it will work? None.

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Where is the comparison made between Dick Cheney and Donald Trump illustrating the power of lies; war profiteering and self-seeking in the land of the free to make big, bad trouble?

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I posted this over on yesterday's posting, but since Mr. Friedman wrote it today, it more properly belongs here, particularly with the discussion coming from HRC's post tonight.

When Tom Friedman says things like this, it's time to realize "We're not in Kansas, Toto."

As Stanford University democracy expert Larry Diamond summed it all up to me, while we’re focusing on Liz Cheney and the 2020 elections, Trump’s minions at the state level “are focused on giving themselves the power to legally get away with in 2024 what the courts would not let them get away with in 2020.”

You tell me how American democracy will ever be the same again and how these people can be trusted to cede power the next time they win the White House.

And while you’re at it, tell me how America can ever again be a credible observer and upholder of democratic elections around the world — so vital to our national security and the hopes and dreams of democrats in all these countries who look to America as a beacon of democracy and the rule of law. The next time we want to question election results in Russia or Iran or Poland or Hungary, what do you suppose their elected autocrats will say?

They’ll say: “Listen to you? Your Republican Party turned a blind eye to a guy who told the biggest election lie in the history of the Milky Way Galaxy. And it wasn’t even in the service of some urgent, compelling policy. It was just so he could stay in power, salve his ego and deny he lost.”

So, thank you, Liz Cheney, for doing something vitally important and clarifying — something that only a conservative Republican like you could do: force the G.O.P. at every level to choose whether to stand with Trump and his Big Lie or with the Constitution and the most important conservative principle of all — reverence for the rule of law.

Because, if Trump and friends are not stopped, one day they will get where they are going: They will lock in minority rule in America. And when that happens, both Democrats and principled Republicans will take to the streets, and you can call it whatever you like, but it is going to feel like a new civil war.

I don’t use that term lightly or accidentally. We are all the product of our life experiences, and my first reporting experience was living inside the Lebanese civil war in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

I saw close up what happens when democratically elected politicians think that they can endlessly abuse their institutions, cross redlines, weaken their judiciary and buy reporters and television stations — so that there is no truth, only versions, of every story. And they think that they can do it endlessly — cheat just one more time, break one more rule, buy one more vote — and the system will hold until they can take it over and own it for their own purposes.

Then one day — and you never see it coming — the whole system breaks down. Whatever frayed bonds of truth and trust that were holding it together completely unravel.

And then it’s gone. And there is no getting it back.

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I find amusing the argument that the United States represents "the beacon of democracy and the rule of law." That has always been a posture, not a reality. We are the country built on Indigenous genocide, slavery, lynching, voter suppression, treaty violations, class warfare, and misogyny, not to mention our rape of natural resources in the name of ever-increasing profit. Nazi Germany studied our slavery practices approvingly. I agree with Churchill that democracy is the worst system of government, except for all the others that have been tried. But our legacy is one of cruelty and domination and it does not do well to forget that.

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Reid, "perception is reality" to the people around the world who are only shown our light side, not our dark side. Heck, most people who have been educated in the American school system pre-K to PhD have only been shown the sunny side. Why do you think the 1619 Project is so controversial? I, myself, have blindly lived in the shining city I was fed. I'm nearly 70 and am only now reading & learning how insidious and limited my education thru a bachelors degree was. So, yeah, you're right that we have a very, very dark side but it's been very well hidden by the powerful people who benefit from our blind support of them in order to manipulate the world to bend in their favor--the rich, powerful oligarchs.

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Well said

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You nailed it, Reid. Our country's hypocrisy has always been concealed in the name of freedom.

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well .. all true ..but people have come here to live and prosper if they can. It seemed to be a desirable place and if you look, you’ll find a lot to like. I’m not disagreeing with you because I do read history. Just saying we in the US have a lot to be proud of too.

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True enough. This is a wonderful country, you're right. But I think elevating the U.S. as an avatar of freedom and democracy is disingenuous at best, dangerous at worst. It is precisely because I love my country that I hold it to a high standard.

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Indeed Dillard! Even with our dark "back story" I believe it to be the best country to be living in (despite the last 5 yrs LOL). But the last 5 yrs also shocked people here and abroad because so much of the dark side of American life got exposed. Perhaps our motto should change from "In God we Trust" to "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" ;)

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"As Stanford University democracy expert Larry Diamond summed it all up to me, while we’re focusing on Liz Cheney and the 2020 elections, Trump’s minions at the state level “are focused on giving themselves the power to legally get away with in 2024 what the courts would not let them get away with in 2020.”

TC, both your and Larry Diamond's summation is spot on and I'm glad you posted it. I stated, without your eloquence, the same idea, that people on the local level and on up the line are doing everything they can to manipulate the outcome of our elections regardless of how votes are cast or the courts rule.

The moment Trump walked into the political arena as a candidate people began to emulate his brashness and bigotry and embrace his lies to justify almost anything that would "own the libs". The roots of Trump's brand of authoritarianism run deep in our country - his outspoken acceptance and encouragement unleashed a sort of hysteria in those who embrace it and would soon become his base. They are no less fervent today.

If those bolstering the Big Lie are not stopped it's not going to feel like a new civil war it will be a new civil war.

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We're in a sad state of affairs when we have to depend on this SCOTUS to defend our democracy, but I think that's where we are. If legislatures decertify elections, one would hope they would have to give cause and, if there is none, the action would be unconstitutional. Sadly, I am far from sanguine that the court would not fall back on state's rights and refuse to hear those cases.

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I hate to say it, I'm afraid they will fall back on state's rights as well...which would have the potential to turn any and all elections into shams.

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Invocation of an Article V convention has been years in the making. "This background memo was originally published in March 2017 and updated in April 2021."

This one-sentence summary may encourage you to read the article by Common Cause:

"The constitutional rights and civil liberties that could be impacted in an Article V convention include the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, privacy rights, the guarantee of equal protection under law, the right to vote, immigration issues, and the right to counsel and a jury trial."

https://www.commoncause.org/resource/u-s-constitution-threatened-as-article-v-convention-movement-nears-success/

"With special interest groups gaining more momentum, conservative advocates are just six states short of reaching the constitutionally-required 34-state goal. They are targeting Republican-controlled legislatures in 2021 and are within striking distance."

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Afternoon, Lynell!! The prospect of a constitutional convention is frightening, especially with rightwingnuts leading the charge.

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Ha ha! I can't believe we posted the same 1st sentence at the same time.

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Morning, Daria, TPJ, Richard. I was hoping someone on this page would dismiss this right wing move as poppycock!

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Great minds think alike, it is said.

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It is indeed a frightening proposition. I hate to sound negative but the Democratic Party played nice far too long. Taking the high road when the other political party's ambitions are clearly aimed at tearing down our democracy was and is foolish.

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are spot on not is

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TC you speak to my deepest fears. The US has always been a deeply flawed work in process. Though I’ve anguished over our many sins and worked to correct them, I’ve never feared the structures of our democracy could fail - until now.

The turmoil of our fights over civil rights, women’s rights, the Vietnam war, wars in the Middle East and racial equity came from the people demanding their government change course. This time is entirely different.

Today traitors within the state and federal government and the military are attempting to dismantle the very democracy they were elected and/or sworn to uphold. This is terrifying.

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Thank you, Tom. Guns and ammo are sold out. That’s Fact.

Hulu commissioned a huge documentary. Film crew was coming the 14th. I said, pause. The commission may have to be amended to include Bill Gates. Les Wexner, move over.

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Had a similar reaction. Friedman doesn't usually get emotional. captured the reality of the threat tooo well. His last two paragraph left me discomforted.

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I'm convinced that only serious criminal charges and guilty verdicts against Trump, reached after the presentation of overwhelming evidence, will break the diabolical spell he has cast upon millions of people. A majority of them must be persuaded that he is the cheating, conniving crook that we here know him to be. Will this happen? I think it will, though not overnight.

Republican leaders will end up having no choice but to stop their bootlicking and ignore him, or even begin denouncing him. Trump's rabid supporters will slowly turn away. And for Trump, the sting of irrelevance will be a worthy emotional warmup for life behind bars.

Another key factor could be if the Justice Department unearths smoking-gun evidence that Trump, as we suspect, engineered the events of Jan. 6, including preventing a robust police response.

Sure, I could be guilty of wishful thinking. If right-wing media persuades the cult that the charges are drummed up by "the socialists" and Trump has been railroaded, the threat of violence could intensify. But that would be a tough sell if the evidence is irrefutable.

Most Americans don't like cheaters. How many cult members actually know that Trump has spent a lifetime cheating, cheating by not paying vendors, cheating on his taxes, cheating on his wives, and even cheating at golf? And no doubt there's more cheating waiting to be revealed.

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Michael, I appreciate your optimism and wish I could share it. Normally, I would.

I even agree that most Americans don't like cheaters, though plenty of Americans are cheaters and are envious of cheaters who have been more successful at it than they have. I have lived out in the world a bit and could certainly say the same about Italians and Nigerians and Ethiopians, and ven Eritreans have been known to cheat and even to lie upon occasion, though some might deny it. Human nature appears to embrace all humans, for better or for worse.

The real problem is that we who have not been sucked into the Trump-cult sewer attribute too much importance to Trump the man, imagining that if we could just put him behind bars and humiliate him that his followers would undergo a great awakening, see the error of their ways, become normal citizens again and finally blame the GOP for all this stinkin' mess.

But because this has notably not happened at all following the Mueller Report, two impeachments, a Trump-inspired attempted insurrection and his loss of Twitter and Facebook privileges, I think we have no choice but to attribute the Trump phenomenon to some larger defect (or defects) in ourselves, our history, our Constitution, our prejudices, our beliefs and our conception of personal freedom as it conflicts with the possibility of social justice (to mention several).

To put it bluntly, the plumber's helper, Drano and repeated flushing have not done the trick. It is now time for ROTO-ROOTER.

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You hit the nail on the head. The cultists will not see any "great awakening" as this iDJT has fed all of their amygdalae with the white/male/cisgendered/Christian/heterosexual threat that an inclusive democracy poses to them and their "sincerely held beliefs" that their way of life is threatened when those "others" get to come to the table.

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Not only is democracy frail, we as humans are also. We are deluded, acting out old grievances, seeking revenge, hearing only what confirms, fearful, and mistrusting. In small villages the darkness of humans is "managed" by community. In a large sprawling nation, managing the complexities of human interactions and beliefs is nearly impossible. It requires a basic sense of unity, something that has purposely been manipulated.

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Active traitors in high places have knowingly joined the Deluded Deluder in his continuing assault on America, her people, the most basic human values.

The fact that they are still walking free feeds the mass delusion.

Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation.

This is no time for partisanship.

Regardless of their differences, all those who can see Evil when it is staring them in the face must stand together. If you don't, you will be serving the Great Evil.

Lesser evils can be addressed later, if we survive to face them when they come, as they surely will. That's everyday life. Today's crisis is of another order.

Today's crisis is fundamental, it his all the crises of your country's history bundled together.

Time to take a stand.

TOGETHER.

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"The fact that they are still walking free feeds the mass delusion."

I've counseled patience on prosecutions since Jan 6, but even I am anxious to see some filthy insurrectionist hides nailed to the wall. Not just the rabble that stormed the Capitol -- Iet's see DOJ start landing some of the big fish!

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I'm with you, TPJ. The DOJ is carefully building their case(s) as fast as they can within the constraints of making certain that they are airtight and will result in guilty pleas for the lower level combatants who then turn "states evidence" in exchange for a bit of leniency in sentencing. It is my fervent hope that the "Sedition Caucus" is charged, and ultimately, the ringleaders.

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One of the things that the internet has provoked is this belief that everything should happen quickly. There has been only four months since the insurrection at our Capitol. There are hundreds of possible cases. It takes time to build a case, bring it to court, and prove it. In my city, when a homicide happens, people are on Nextdoor, Facebook, and Twitter, only a few days after the crime was committed, asking, "Why haven't they caught someone!" "What are the donut-eating cops doing?" "Why am I paying taxes?" People expect an immediate resolution. One of my hunches was that Trump answered the desire for "immediacy." He had an immediate answer to anything. And, apparently, that's what voters are seeking. Answers. Now. Not later. It's a phenomenal distortion of reality, but a growing, manipulated part of the human frailty.

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Agree 100%, jan.

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So there you are, Lynell. Aftermorning!!

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Very good points.

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Patience to be sure cases are built, and most of the fish are retained in the net, please.

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I'm patient, very aware of legal niceties, but scared to see leading conspirators moving around freely and continuing their seditious activities after an event substantially more grave than the 1923 Munich Beer Hall Putsch.

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These sentiments of country over party were espoused two times in the last 4 years at both impeachment hearings. The weasels failed to hear them then, don't hold your breath they'll suddenly come to their senses now.

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Imagine a weeping emoji

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Here’s one for you...

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It IS all the crises of your country's history bundled together.

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Michael Bales 100%.

I also think that there may well be more rightwing political violence, but not enough to genuinely threaten the government. And the majority of us do not like cheaters, despite the Ijdt asserting "that makes me smart" in 2016.

As for golf, Idjt only plays on his own courses, to enable cheating. If he's still allowed to play in minimum security, let's see how his golf numbers look with the warden keeping score.

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a thousand likes for this one!

please, could we have an idjt warden really soon?

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You can have your heart's desire, Kim!

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🥰

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We should clone TPJ

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Been there, done that -- I'm a twin. Honest!

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Or, at least, start a fan club!

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You’re a upposing he doesn’t pay off the warden...

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hahahahaha

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The members of the cult are fully aware that he cheats and admire him for it. But I think Cheney's calculation is that those die-hard cultists are actually a much smaller minority (and shrinking) than is mostly portrayed. I still think your vision is correct; she and her ilk will slowly peel away those who question whether or not backing Trump is wise. But his criminal conviction would only harden support from the cultists, who will see it as persecution. The real question is their numbers. I hope Cheney is right that they are few. I fear otherwise.

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I believe the evidence is irrefutable, and that eventually, the majority of the cult will come to their senses and realize that what they have done has put our democracy on death's door. As to what his cult followers "actually know" is (I hope) a great deal, and that at some point, the evidence will win out over their "sincerely held beliefs".

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Precisely!

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I hope you're right.

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What an incredible time to be watching history unfold. Scary as hell, but riveting as well.

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That you Jeanne for posting ahead of me. I rate this moment as one of the big turning points in American history, certainly in our lifetimes, up there with and linked to January 6. This is a key moment for a political party that has been around for a good portion of our nation’s history. They are at an existential moment in their history. The party of white racists and male sexists, and that segment of our society at large, is at a crisis point. I was starting to wonder if I was going to see this in my lifetime, the disintegration of the old racist and sexist order. That moment has arrived. Popcorn has never tasted better.

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I was just thinking that, too.

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Jeanne, isn’t there a famous saying about being beware of “interesting times”? For the courage, determination and support of democracy Liz Cheney is showing, I am grateful. When the lizard brain changelings crawl back in their slimy holes we can argue about how to move forward in the democracy we will still have.

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"May you live in interesting times" is a venerable Chinese saying. It's not necessarily a blessing or compliment.

The great historian Eric Hobsbawm titled his memoir "Interesting Times."

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jan/17/eric-hobsbawm-mi5-communism-stalin-historian-private-papers

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Thank you, again for helping my brain follow a trail

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Leave a trail of bread crumbs to find the way out of the woods, but don't let the birds eat it.

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Working on just such strategies

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"There are but two parties now, Traitors & Patriots and I want hereafter to be ranked with the latter and, I trust, the stronger party."

-- Ulysses Grant, 1861

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Wow. It pays to read history!

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“We must settle this question now – whether in a free government the minority have the right to break it up whenever they choose. If we fail, it will go far to prove the incapability of the people to govern themselves.”

— Abraham Lincoln, 1861

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Wow, thanks TPJ.

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Thanks also to Grant's biographers, all of whom quote this letter.

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Regardless of how you feel about Liz Cheney, her speech was perfectly delivered. This sentence sums it up:

"This is not about policy. This is not about partisanship. This is about our duty as Americans. Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar."

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Sadly, I think they WANT to embolden the liar.

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Agree with you, Janice, and hope many Rs do as well.

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The preface to Heather’s Letter tonight was her video chat this afternoon [5/11/2021]. She asked and answered if she is worried about the Republican Party’s attack on democracy: “Yes, I am.”

And she continued:

“We need to make our voices heard about the balance of this democracy, or we’re going to lose it.”

“Changing the public conversation changes the future.”

“Write to your Congress critters and newspapers, especially your local newspapers.”

Write to which Congress critters? She suggested writing to the reachable Republicans, like those who are retiring or up for re-election in 2022, such as Burr in North Carolina, Murkowski in Alaska (opposed by Trump), and Tooney in Pennsylvania.

https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/544196-republicans-set-to-rebound-big-in-2022-midterms-unless

Ready to walk the talk? Interested in community with fellow HCR Substackers, sharing resources, and joining grassroots organizations in support of democracy? Hone your letter writing and phone calling skills and coach others to make our actions effective? A bunch have already signed up and others are already doing so. (Want to invite others to come aboard?)

Heather concluded, “It’s time to put shoulders to the wheel. Do I think we can do it? Yeah, one hundred percent!”

Reply to affirm your interest in making our voices heard in support of democracy.

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My husband and I listened to her this afternoon. Never heard her so adamant. I'll be writing letters today.

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This is what standing together means. For a start.

NOW.

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Interested (and already a prolific writer of letters to editor😂)

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video on FB?

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I just listen to it thanks for the heads up

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I listen while I do a lot of stuff around

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Liz Cheney’s speech is all the more powerful given that her voting record is ninety something percent in support of the former president. This is not another round of an ongoing feud.

I believe it is also a calculated maneuver that will position Cheney as a leader in a third party split of “rationals”, which could very well emerge from this godawful mess to be the future Republican Party.

Stay tuned, folks. This is going to get interesting.

Message to President Biden; keep doing what you’re doing. Let the Republicans twist in the wind all by themselves.

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Yes, that may be what Liz Cheney is calculating. In fact, she may be such a true believer that she imagines bringing us back to Reaganomics and a new Cold War. I wonder how many votes that will get her, assuming people will still be allowed to vote and have their ballots counted fairly.

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