With the GOP turning on Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) — pushing to oust her from her leadership position as the third highest-ranking Republican member of the House of Representatives because she refuses to support Donald Trump’s big lie of a stolen election — one must wonder how much of the opposition to the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney is based on ideological disagreements and how much is simple Republican sexism, a feature, not a bug, in the party’s traditional values.
After all. no one would argue that Rep. Cheney is not sufficiently conservative enough in her voting patterns to be expelled from the party for violating party dogma unrelated to Trump.
In fact, when comparing her legislative voting record to that of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), one finds that they voted exactly the same 96 percent of the time.
Still, with the majority of the Republican Party still deep in thrall to the former president, Cheney is expected to be ousted soon from her position in GOP leadership and is in danger of losing her congressional seat in the next election, primarily due to her criticism of Donald Trump for inciting the insurrection of January 6th.
Oddly, none of the other brave Republican mavericks who expressed their opposition to Trump, like Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Fred Upton (R-MI), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), and John Katko (R-NY), have faced the kind of sanctions that Rep. Cheney is now confronted with, but they are all men.
Former Virginia Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock told The Hill this week that she sees a vicious double standard in the GOP’s attempts to undermine the senior female member of their party’s congressional delegation.
“The women don’t get the same slack that the men get,” Comstock said, perhaps thinking of the pass that Rep. Matt Gaetz has so far gottten from his colleagues in the wake of accusations of child sex trafficking. “And I think a lot of the men are attacking her because they resent that she’s got guts and they don’t.”
“They’re on their knees for Trump and she’s standing up for herself,” Comstock continued. “And that’s kind of an embarrassing thing if you’re the guy on your knees.”
Comstock’s assessment was echoed by Meghan McCain, The View host and daughter of the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ).
“The message that’s being sent by the highest member of Republicans in Congress is that women like me and Liz Cheney who refuse to bend the knee to President Trump, but still remain loyal Republicans, we don’t have a place in this party,” McCain told her TV audience yesterday.
“It’s the most asinine politics I have seen in a really, really long time. … And if you do this … I promise you there will be consequences,” McCain continued in a long rant. “So go ahead — go ahead in this sausage-fest of MAGA up on Capitol Hill. Pull her out and put another woman in who will do and say anything you want for President Trump: ‘The election wasn’t stolen’; ‘He’s Jesus’; ‘It’s only Trumpism going forward.’ See where this lands us in midterms.”
Republican leadership is trying to avoid accusations of sexism by nominating Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) to take Rep. Cheney’s place as the number three member of the party’s House delegation, but former Representative Comstock sees through that bit of prestidigitation.
“It’s an existential crisis for the party to cynically throw out somebody for stating the truth and then say, ‘OK, let’s go find a woman who makes Donald Trump happy.’ You know, really? That’s our standard now?” said Comstock. “Woe to the woman who’s going to be the handmaiden to what is basically a male assault on [Cheney], and has been from the start.”
“Any woman who would take that position under these circumstances, it’s not going to do well for them or for the party,” Comstock continued. “Because … your role is: smile and read the talking points. Then we like you. Then it’s OK to be a woman who smiles and reads the talking points. That’s not where you want to be. That’s not equal.”
It seems that anyone expecting gender equality in the GOP has a long wait in front of them.
If House Republicans do oust Liz Cheney from leadership, it sends a message to women across the country that there is no place for women or independent thinking in their party.
That, my friends, is not a long-term strategy for electoral success. Expect more moaning about stolen elections in the years to come as the GOP refuses to own the consequences of their behavior.
Original reporting by Mike Lillis and Scott Wong at The Hill.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.