Watch Out Darth Vader’s daughter Liz Cheney will continue his criminal legacy
Liz Cheney: time to ‘stand up and fight’ to save America
Far out in the America west, under the big skies and rough-hewn landscapes of Wyoming, near the town that William “Buffalo Bill” Cody gave his name, a race is on for the soul of America.
By Peter Foster in Cody, Wyoming 5:25PM BST 25 Aug 2013
And it is a woman with a familiar surname in US politics that is asking for a chance to lead a renewed assault on Washington and rid America of, what she sees as, the scourge of Barack Obama, impending socialism and the grasping hand of big government.
Liz Cheney – 46-year-old daughter of former US vice president Dick Cheney – doesn’t stand much over five feet tall in her cowboy boots, but from behind her sunglasses she radiates the kind of toughness that suits a place where you can still legally take a six-shooter into a bar.
It is very early days in her race for the 2014 Senate, but as Mrs Cheney takes to the stump to address a meeting of the Big Horn Basin branch of the Tea Party, she is breathing conservative fire and warning that America is facing “a moment of decision.”
Just as Winston Churchill refused to “seek terms with Nazis” and “saved freedom and civilisation” in 1940; just as Margaret Thatcher saved Britain from the “ravages of socialism” and Ronald Reagan saved America from the “morass” of the Carter years, Mrs Cheney says it is now time to “stand up and fight.”
The comparisons with Nazism might sound a little over-the-top, but not to Wyoming’s Tea Party activists who believe with a passion that the essence of America embodied in the US Constitution, is being frittered away.
Most are over 60, and believe the America that they grew up in – hardscrabble, self-reliant, enterprising and “free” – is being suffocated by a stultifying blanket of petty regulation and political correctness that intrudes everywhere from farmyard to workplace; to classroom and beyond.
“See that road,” says Larry French, a 63-year-old farmer and insurance agent, pointing to a pick-up throwing up a plume of dust. “The EPA (the Federal environmental regulator) wants to ban that dust. Can you believe that? Every day, it’s just more regulations.”
It’s not clear if the EPA really does want to “ban the dust” but Mrs Cheney, who is a regular contributor on the conservative Fox News channel, has a keen ear for her rural audience and their grievances – ObamaCare, taxation and regulation – all of which she checks off one by one, to wild applause.
On foreign policy Mrs Cheney unapologetically carries forward the neo-conservative doctrines of her father who remains a bitterly divisive figure in US politics – even among Republicans.
“This president came into office, I believe, intending to weaken the nation,” she says, tapping into the nastier side of the Right’s caricature of Mr Obama as a “Muslim” and a “traitor.”
“You only have to turn on your TV set and see what is happening in places like Egypt and Syria to know that is the result when America is weak.
“America’s strength and America’s fighting men and women are the best guarantors of peace and security that the world has ever known,” she adds, as the US and Britain contemplate action in Syria that Mrs Cheney says is now too little, too late.
Although born into politics – she recalls campaigning with her father in the rodeos when he was campaigning for congress in the 1970s – Mrs Cheney is herself a political novice who has never run for elected office.
She has quickly discovered the rougher side of electoral politics, being labelled a “carpetbagger” by opponents who say she only moved back to Wyoming three years ago with her Washington-lawyer husband and five children to lay the groundwork for her political ambitions.
Mrs Cheney describes herself as a “fourth-generation Wyomingite” but glosses over her own career as an international development lawyer for the World Bank, flanked by her husband Philip Perry, a well paid lawyer who attends, dressed for the part, in a camouflaged baseball cap.
This month Mrs Cheney’s newcomer status was further highlighted when she was forced to apologise and pay a $180 fine after it emerged she had bought a “resident” fishing permit reserved for those who lived in the state for more than 10 years.
But while the polls suggest she faces a tough fight – incumbents have a long track-record of winning in Wyoming – Mrs Cheney still has plenty of other things going for her in a state 12 times bigger than Wales, but with a population of just 575,000.
She has name recognition both from her family and her work on Fox News; she has her father’s formidable fundraising network; and her opponent, Senator Mike Enzi, is a ponderous figure who after 18 unremarkable years in office, Mrs Cheney will argue, is ripe for the plucking.
And while her Wyomingite credentials might be suspect, there can be no doubting her conservative lineage and Tea Party bona fides which have some on the Right of Republican party already speculating about Mrs Cheney as a possible vice-presidential candidate – “a Sarah Palin with brains” as one put it.
But that is all, possibly, in the future. For now, Mrs Cheney says has eyes only for Wyoming and for storming Washington where she promises to join the ranks of Republicans – like the Texas Senator Ted Cruz – who want to refuse to fund Mr Obama’s health care reform even if it means shutting down the government, and who equate deal-making and compromise with betrayal and selling out.
“We will not be able to save this great nation unless everyone of us dedicates ourselves to standing up and pushing back,” she concludes to more cheers.
“Who cares if they say you are an obstructionist? You say, ‘that’s right’, I’m obstructing because I’m a patriot. You got it!”