To say that I have a love-hate relationship with the Cheneys might imply that the two emotions are in balance. Truth be told, the love-hate balance is light on love. Vice President Dick Cheney was the chief cheerleader for the Bush administration’s torture policy, which ultimately led to my resignation as chief terrorism prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay. I later became a strong advocate for the fight against torture and against Guantanamo, and I was especially tough on Vice President Cheney, who I believe should be held accountable for what many see as crimes of war.
Liz Cheney served in the State Department during the Bush administration and co-chaired the Iran-Syria Policy and Operations Group where her hardline views mirrored those of her father. In 2009, she and journalist Bill Kristol co-founded Keep America Safe, a nonprofit that, among other things, fought to prevent President Barack Obama from closing the Guantanamo detention center. I took Liz Cheney and Keep America Safe to task in 2010 after they launched a shameful attack on Obama’s Justice Department lawyers whom they dubbed “the Al-Qaeda Seven” because they represented Guantanamo detainees before joining the Department of Justice. And I wasn’t the only one to criticize Cheney for his role in the “Al Qaeda Seven” defamation. Many prominent Republicans – including Ken Starr, John Bellinger, Ted Olson and even Senator Lindsey Graham – have publicly condemned Cheney for questioning the integrity and patriotism of lawyers who upheld the American tradition of zealously defending people. accused of horrible acts.
My criticism did not go unnoticed. Long before she ran to represent Wyoming in the United States House of Representatives, Liz Cheney blocked me on Twitter. A few years later, while I was waiting in the Green Room of the Fox News studio adjacent to the Capitol to tape a segment with Catherine Herridge, Congresswoman Liz Cheney walked in. I doubt she had any idea who I was and our interaction, although brief, was not unpleasant… she even laughed when I asked the woman who did my makeup before the shoot if she could make me look like Ryan Reynolds.
When it comes to politics, there aren’t many areas Liz Cheney and I agree on, as evidenced by the fact that she voted with President Donald Trump 93% of the time when he was in power. That’s a higher percentage than Virginia Foxx, Ted Budd, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, Thom Tillis, Richard Burr and Ted Cruz. Cheney is anti-abortion, pro-gun, pro-fracking, anti-immigrant, pro-wall and a foreign policy hawk. Given this history, common sense suggests that I should be happy to see Liz Cheney removed from office.
Well, it’s not.
I was stationed at FE Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and witnessed firsthand the reverence for the Cheney name in Wyoming politics. It is remarkable that blind loyalty to an immoral, habitual lying, conscription dodging insurrectionary despot brought this down. While I disagree with Liz Cheney on nearly every major political issue, I do agree with her that loyalty to the Constitution and to the country trumps loyalty to a crook or an independent party of American democracy.
Former Queensland Premier Rob Borbidge led efforts to enact gun control legislation in Australia after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre and subsequently lost his re-election bid. In a 2013 interview with John Oliver on The Daily Show, Mr Borbidge said he knew there would be a political price to pay for supporting gun control legislation, but doing what he needed and saving lives was worth more than winning an election.
The same goes for Liz Cheney.
Immediately after the attack on the Capitol by domestic terrorists on January 6, Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and others spoke out and told the truth about Trump’s culpability in inciting the insurrection. But it didn’t take long for the courage to recede and most to decide that honesty wasn’t the best policy if they wanted to stay in power. While the momentarily honest men decided to shut up, bend their knees and bow down to a demagogue to avoid his wrath, Liz Cheney chose to take the oath to the Constitution first and face the consequences. She paid the political price for doing the right thing. No matter what you think of Liz Cheney on politics, you have to respect her loyalty to America and to democracy. While others withered and broke, Liz Cheney did not bend.
When I ran for Congress in 2020, I said no one should hold public office without wanting to lose if that’s what it takes to do the right thing. Platitudes like that are easy to say, but they are hard to live with. I salute Liz Cheney for taking the hard road and paying the price to do the right thing. She put America first in the best sense of the word.
Moe Davis was the Democratic candidate in the race for the 11th district seat in the United States House of Representatives.