As you probably heard, Liz Cheney has decided to challenge incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming. She’s free to do whatever she wants, but there are a lot of reasons this bothers me. Many of them overlap, but here are my top four reasons:
1. It’s dynastic. If her name were Liz Smith, she couldn’t do this. Liz Cheney is smart, to be sure, but would we be talking about her without the famous last name? I’m sorry, being someone’s son or daughter doesn’t entitle you to move into a state and take a U.S. Senate seat. Why don’t we just install her as president now, you know, before George P. Bush and Chelsea Clinton inevitably face off?
2. She lacks a raison d’être. If Mike Enzi had an egregiously bad voting record — or even if he had an obviously controversial vote on something like Obamacare or immigration reform — it would help. But according to National Journal, Enzi was the eighth-most-conservative senator in 2012. The only compelling reason for Liz Cheney to run now is because Liz Cheney wants to be a U.S. Senator. Is there another rationale?
3. How conservative is she really? On foreign policy, we know she’s a hawk. If interventionism is your definition of conservatism, then she’s good on that issue. As far as I know, she’s never been elected to anything, so how do we know how conservative she is on…anything else? I suppose you can look to her commentary and to her father. But talk is cheap. And while Dick Cheney is assumed to be conservative, he was Gerald Ford’s chief of staff and is a consummate “insider” and establishment type. The bottom line is, it’ll be hard for Cheney to argue she’s more conservative or less of an establishment figure than Enzi, so she will seemingly have to run on youthful energy and a confrontational style. Is that enough?
4. It’s overly ambitious. This troubles me because it is a continuation of a very unconservative trend in America. We no longer pay our dues. We want instant gratification. We don’t follow traditions or protocols. We don’t respect our elders. The audacity of challenging a sitting U.S. Senator of the same party just because you can is unseemly (and this has nothing to do with her gender). Why not move to Wyoming, live there for a few years, get involved in community service, and maybe run for the state house before deciding to run for the greatest deliberative body in the world?