Liz Cheney Wants to Make Torture Great Again

Like father, like daughter. Rick Barbero / The Register-Herald - AP
Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan

She’s back in Washington, and she’s eager to pick up where her dad left off.

When Liz Cheney returned to her ancestral home state of Wyoming in 2012, she expected to be greeted as a liberator. She moved into a house in Jackson Hole, not far from her parents, Dick and Lynne; she bought a horse for her 13-year-old daughter; and she began laying the foundation for a Senate run.

But in the rush to jump-start her political career, Cheney neglected to inform the man she was angling to replace—Mike Enzi, her father’s fly-fishing buddy and the state’s senior senator. Enzi had been planning to retire after 2014, and had Cheney asked for his blessing, he might have stepped aside. When she surprised him by jumping into the race, he decided his retirement could wait.

Things descended from there. A local newspaper revealed that Cheney had obtained a Wyoming fishing license without fulfilling the residency requirements. Robo­calls alleged that she supported same-sex marriage, prompting her to proclaim that she did not, and provoking her sister, Mary, who is gay, to denounce her on Facebook and cancel their Christmas plans. Cheney found herself in the crosshairs of a bitter insurgency with few allies on her side. She dropped out of the race before the primary.

Lesson learned. In November, bolstered by a few mended fences and backed by family friends such as Karl Rove and Donald Rumsfeld, Cheney easily won her race to succeed retiring Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis for Wyoming’s lone House seat, which was once held by her dad. After eight long years in exile, the Cheneys are back in government, and it might be a while before they go away again.

Cheney, a veteran of the Bush administration who has inherited her father’s hawkish views, is returning to a Washington, DC, far different from the one the former vice president left eight years ago. After the missing weapons of mass destruction, the Iraqi insurgency, Abu Ghraib, and the other foreign policy and national security fiascoes of the 2000s, neoconservatives lost their grip on the Republican Party. President Barack Obama’s two terms gave rise to a new kind of anti-interventionist Republican, such as Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul (dubbed “wacko birds” by Sen. John McCain), who opposed intervention in Libya and Syria and criticized the growth of the surveillance state. The 2016 Republican presidential primary, with Cruz and Paul on one side and Sen. Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush on the other, was supposed to settle the question of what kind of foreign policy Republicans would push going forward.

Read the rest at Mother Jones.

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Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan