There have been a few headlines making the rounds today suggesting that Wyoming Congresswoman and House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney might be considering a White House bid in 2024. Given her very high-profile battles with Donald Trump (and her vote to impeach him), Cheney is in a somewhat unique position in the party at the moment. She’s going to be facing multiple primary challengers in the midterms, but if she makes it through that obstacle course, she’ll likely retain her position in the House GOP leadership. (She already fended off one challenge this year.) But the White House? Seriously? We’ll get to the reality behind this in a moment. (NY Post)
House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney is not ruling out a potential presidential bid, The Post has learned.
“I’m not ruling anything in or out — I’ve been here a long time,” she told The Post when asked if she would ever consider running in the future.
The Wyoming Republican — who has been a frequent target of former President Donald Trump — said there are a number of contenders she sees as having potential for the 2024 nomination, adding that she believes the lawmakers who led the efforts on challenging the election on Jan. 6 should be out of the running.
A quick bit of checking will reveal where this story most likely got started. There are a number of signals that politicians send when they’re seriously getting ready to gear up for a White House bid. They generally team up with a larger fundraising PAC or start one of their own. They form an “exploratory committee” to test the waters. They begin hiring staff in parts of the country outside of their home state and D.C. There doesn’t seem to be any indication that Cheney has been doing any of those things.
Here’s the far more likely scenario. We’re in an odd-numbered year without an election looming. On top of that, Donald Trump is not only out of office but he’s not on Twitter anymore so the press corps is getting bored and looking to generate some clicks. So rather than this being an idea that Cheney cooked up herself, this clearly appears to be a case where a reporter decided to pick out a prominent Trump critic with a lot of name recognition and ask, “are you looking at a possible presidential bid? Have you ruled that out?”
As predictably as the sun rising in the east, Cheney responds with the same answer anyone gives at that moment. “I haven’t ruled it out.” Of course she hasn’t. You could ask the most junior backbenchers in the House and they’d likely say that same thing seven out of ten times. Hell, I haven’t ruled out running. (Just in case you felt inclined to ask.) That doesn’t mean I’d have a realistic shot.
Of course, Cheney has me beat in the name recognition category by roughly one million percent and she comes from a political dynasty, so it’s not as if the idea is completely fatuous. But it seems to me that she could have a very tough row to hoe in the presidential primary. If we assume that Donald Trump isn’t running himself (a very big assumption), his most fervent supporters will be looking for someone to be The Next Coming of Trump and you can bet that Cheney would have a bullseye on her back for that. If it’s a crowded field, that doesn’t rule her out instantly, so it’s not as if she couldn’t go deep. But if the pro-Trump support solidifies behind one candidate in the early going, it’s going to be tough for the NeverTrump candidates to gain a lot of momentum.
Still, as I mentioned above, this “candidacy” is entirely vaporware for now and a lot of other people seem far more likely to be building some campaign infrastructure before Cheney. (Niki Haley comes immediately to mind.)