All of which brings me to Thursday when Cheney offered a stinging critique of his own party and their collective reactions to the riot at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
It’s worth noting here — as plenty of Republicans will — that Cheney’s daughter, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, is the leading (and one of the only) voices within the Republican Party urging the GOP to condemn both what happened on January 6 and the role then-President Donald Trump played in fomenting the insurrection.
Which, well, ok. Cheney, like any parent, is probably somewhat protective of his daughter. But, at the same time, he didn’t have to come to Congress to commemorate the anniversary of the January 6 attack. Nor did he have to talk to reporters — and tell them how he thinks the GOP has lost its way.
That he did so speaks to his concern at the current leadership of the Republican Party — and his belief that a course correction is badly needed.
He’s right, of course. And, my guess is that lots and lots of elected Republicans — leaders and rank and file — know it but are simply too scared of incurring the wrath of Trump to speak out.
Consider what the top two Republicans in Congress said in the immediate aftermath of the riot.
Staying silent or even defending something you know to be false is, quite literally, the opposite of what leadership looks like. Real leaders stand up for what they believe to be right — even if their constituents don’t always agree. Because leadership isn’t going along to get along. It’s putting yourself on the line when it really matters to stand up and do what needs to be done for the good of the country.
Cheney’s critique of his own party’s leaders goes directly to that leadership question. And every Republican in Congress should stop what they’re doing and listen to him.