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Liz Cheney for President

Susan Estrich on

Every once in a while, there is someone who stands up for what is right at a huge personal cost. Rep. Liz Cheney did that. She knew that she would pay for opposing the Big Baby of the Republican Party, and she did. That's how it works in politics. Most Americans may think favorably of her, but most Americans don't vote in Republican primaries.

Republican primary voters are a different breed. They are, in a word, Trumpers. If anything, the search of the president's home at Mar-a-Lago has led to a boost in the support for the former president among Republicans, who believe he has been unfairly targeted. They're almost as mad as he is, which is something to see. What happened to the party of law and order that they now attack the FBI for conducting a search that found exactly what they were looking for?

Imagine what Donald Trump would say if it were Hillary Clinton who had boxes of top-secret documents in her garage? Remember the email server. Remember the chant, "Lock Her Up." How about the hypocrite?

When a criminal complains that his privacy has been invaded by a search that turned up the very contraband that police were looking for, what does the party of Donald Trump say? Lock him up. How about the hypocrite?

How is it that finding evidence that the president took materials he should not have is a reason to attack the FBI and vote against Cheney?

The FBI was right. They found what they were looking for. That counts when it's a Black teenager who has been searched. Why not when it's the former president?

If no one is above the law in a democracy, why not? Because they should have asked first? Why did he take these materials in the first place? Why aren't Republicans as concerned as they would be if top-secret documents were found in the Clintons' home office?

Because you'll lose the Republican primary is why not. That's the lesson. So much for the rule of law. This is the rule of modern politics.

 

A grand total of 10 Republican House members, Cheney included, voted to impeach Donald Trump. Of the 10, four were defeated in Republican primaries and four more, all facing death threats as well as primary challenges, chose to retire. Leaving exactly two Republicans standing -- both from states with open primaries, where Democrats can vote for Republicans. Cheney would be a tough candidate to beat in a general election.

I wish there was room in the Republican Party for Cheney to play a leadership role. It's not because it would be good for Democrats; better for Democrats to see her rejected and marginalized and drive Republican women to the independent column. Between Trump and abortion, Democrats actually have a chance of avoiding disaster in November, notwithstanding the president's low poll numbers. Better a referendum on Trump than one on Biden. Democrats are happy to keep the focus on Trump and showcase a party that can't let go of him. But it's not good for the country.

It just can't be that one of our two parties is hopelessly and permanently in the grip of someone who has contempt for the Constitution.

Cheney should not be as lonely as the Maytag repair man, because her party is in need of repair. The knee-jerk pro-Trump reaction to the FBI raid may be manna for Democrats in the short run, but it infects the political process in a way that is dangerous in the long run. We are better than that.

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To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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