Liz Cheney: Biden's not my enemy so why can't I fist-bump him?

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

See, here’s the disconnect between her and the rest of the party in a nutshell.

The only thing that gets Republican voters excited anymore is owning the libs. How are they supposed to tolerate someone in leadership who isn’t interested in that?

The whole point of nationalism, in fact, is deciding who qualifies as a real American and who doesn’t. Biden, as the leader of the left-wing party, doesn’t by definition. Yet here’s Cheney treating him like he does.

And that’s why this will be used against her in her primary next year.

Trump Jr knows how this party operates now:

Here’s FiveThirtyEight’s scorecard on how often Cheney voted with Trump while he was president:

You’d expect someone who represents a state as blood-red as Wyoming to support Trump very, very often on policy. And … Cheney did. But she crossed him on the most tribal vote of his presidency, the second impeachment vote, and she criticized him sporadically for some of his rhetorical excesses. That’s all it took to motivate the Trump family to run a vendetta against her hellbent on driving her out of politics. Can’t side with the libs on his personal conduct even if you’re siding with him on policy.

Although, if we’re being honest, even a more quiescent Cheney would have been a MAGA target, if perhaps not the target of a primary. She’s a holdover from the GOP’s ancien regime, after all, the daughter of Bush’s VP. She represents the pre-Trump Republican establishment to a degree unmatched by few other current GOP officeholders besides Mitt Romney and Mitch McConnell. Ten Republicans voted to impeach Trump but only one had Matt Gaetz show up in her home state to try to rally voters against her. Gaetz understands that Cheney is a symbol as much as a person and that populists would be looking for reasons to rally against her regardless of how outspoken she was about Trump.

Speaking of which, another major figure of the pre-Trump era has been chatty lately about how he expects Trump’s influence to fade sooner rather than later:

Former U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan thinks his divided party – and history – will move on.

The either-or debate over fealty to Trump “is going to fade,” the 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I think circumstances, ideas and new candidates are going to … overshadow that whole conversation.”…

“It’s going to take us a few years to sort out who are we, what do we believe?” Ryan said. “My … hope is that we rally around a set of principles and ideas and policies, not a specific person.”

Ryan hosted a virtual fundraiser for Cheney not long ago, to help her try to stave off the MAGA primary effort. Meanwhile, though, members of Cheney’s caucus are increasingly irritated by the distraction created by her feud with Trump:

“It’s like ‘hey if you want the position, there is some responsibility that comes with it,'” one GOP lawmaker told CNN. “It’s a tough time for the elephants and so this is a complication that comes from within, which is quite frankly not helpful in any way, shape or form.”

The person added “you only got two letters and it is only M-E or U-S.”…

Another GOP lawmaker told CNN that the frustration is even more palpable this time.

“It’s real and much more widespread than before and completely of her own making,” the lawmaker said. “At this point, it has zero to do with her vote and everything to do with her words and actions.”

I had assumed until recently that most of her House colleagues would quietly — quietly — root for Cheney in her primary, just because they know what it’s like to fear crossing Trump and would relish seeing someone get away with it. Punch the bully in the nose on behalf of all of us, Liz! But maybe she’s caused them enough headaches with her Trump feud that they’d just as soon see her sent packing now. That would spare them from having to make a tough decision in 2023 on whether to reelect her to a leadership position or humiliate her by turning her into a backbencher.

Here’s “The View” talking about her Biden fist-bump moment. Everyone’s a fan, even (sort of) Meghan.