Liz Cheney, a current Fox News contributor and former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, has long associated with the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party. Along with her cohorts — such as William Kristol and Paul Wolfowitz — she’s spent the last five years attacking and vilifying the Obama administration for refusing to march to the beat of their war drums. As CAP expert Matt Duss noted in 2010, their goal has been to “resuscitate the neocons’ post-September 11 vision of a world in which the United States, unbound by rules or reality, imposes its will on friend and enemy alike.”
With that in mind, it’s easy to see what sort of policies Cheney would bring with her should she defeat Enzi in the primary race between them and enters the Senate in Jan. 2015:
1. Keeping military spending astronomical. The huge military budgets that neocons believe are the only way to keep America safe — despite ample evidence to the contrary — would find another vote in Cheney. Last year, in response to Obama administration suggested budget cuts at the Pentagon, Cheney said, “I think in fact what President Obama is doing is something that America’s enemies — the Taliban and Al Qaeda — have been unable to do, which is to decimate the fighting capability of this nation.” She repeat that same claim again only days later.
2. Torture advocate. Snide remarks alleging that President Obama and the Democrats are too “weak” to protect American lives from terrorism due to an unwillingness to use the sort of torture seen in the Bush-era are par for the course for Cheney. She has in the past defended waterboarding against Guantanamo Bay prisoners, falsely claiming that it was the same as the tactics used to train military members. Those same tactics, Cheney has said, were “techniques that we know worked,” claiming that the debate over their effectiveness is over. Likewise, after her father left office, Cheney announced that any investigation into secret counter-terrorism programs the Vice President had ordered would inevitably backfire.
3. Hyperbolic attacks on Obama. Her tendency to criticize the Obama administration for supposed failures in countering terrorism and apologizing for America have often exposed an ignorance or hypocrisy towards reality. Cheney released an ad calling out Obama for “waiting 100 hours” to say anything about the failed Christmas Day bombing in 2009, despite it taking President Bush six days to acknowledge the so-called “shoe bomber” in 2001. After the Time Square bombing was foiled in 2010, Cheney accused the administration of refusing to acknowledge that terrorist groups even existed.
4. Staunch Iraq war defender. In the face of lengthy evidence that the decision to invade Iraq was a faulty one, Cheney and other neoconservatives continue to vigorously defend it, even to the point of rewriting history. In an appearance on Fox News in 2011, host Bill O’Reilly played a clip of Vice President Cheney declaring that U.S. forces would be greeted as liberators in Iraq. “It actually did happen, we were greeted as liberators in Iraq,” Cheney outright declared to the shock of O’Reilly.
5. Promoting Islamophobia. Cheney’s presence in Washington would increase the number of Islamophobes serving in national office by one. Cheney’s organization Keep America Safe teamed up with conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney to attack the freedom to worship of Muslims in the U.S. In 2010, Cheney was in the middle of calls against the building of the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” in New York City. “When you’ve got an Imam that has got the very questionable and dubious ties to radical Islamist organizations that this man does, saying he’s going to build a mosque at Ground Zero, I think we as Americans have every right to say, ‘No you’re not going to do that,'” she argued, lacking any real evidence to back her claims. She also once linked American NATO ally Turkey with Iran and Syria, saying they “threaten to destroy Israel.”
Even with her massive name recognition, Cheney isn’t guaranteed a cakewalk to the Senate chamber. While Enzi is no isolationist when it comes to foreign policy, he’ll have the backing of the insurgent wing of the GOP that believes the neocons have spent too long holding the reins. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has already announced that he backs Enzi in the Wyoming rumble; Paul has served as the de facto leader of the Republicans seeking scale back the GOP’s militaristic foreign policy. That won’t stop neo-con cheerleaders like the Washington Post’s Jen Rubin from promoting Cheney. Whether the people of Wyoming choose to send her to Washington, though, is yet to be seen.