Q&A

Liz Cheney: Why My Father Won’t Campaign for Me

The former vice president’s daughter — shunned by the GOP establishment — will go it alone in her campaign to become senator from Wyoming.

Wyoming Senate candidate Liz Cheney holds a news conference at the Little America Hotel and Resort in Cheyenne, Wyoming on July 17, 2013. Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, will run against longtime incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY). Cheney launched her campaign yesterday following Enzi's announcement that he will run for a fourth term. 
Getty Images
Marin Cogan
See more stories about...
Marin Cogan
Sept. 26, 2013, 4:05 p.m.

On the cam­paign trail with her kids, Liz Cheney is vis­it­ing many of the same places that she saw 35 years ago, when she joined her fath­er, former Vice Pres­id­ent Dick Cheney, in a ren­ted RV for the fam­ily’s first cam­paign across Wyom­ing. Even apart from her fam­ous fath­er, Cheney has qual­it­ies that might en­dear her to a Re­pub­lic­an primary elect­or­ate. But there’s a snag: The Sen­ate seat she’s run­ning for is oc­cu­pied by a mem­ber of her own party, Mi­chael En­zi, whom many Re­pub­lic­ans think doesn’t de­serve a chal­lenge in the 2014 primary. Cheney chat­ted with Na­tion­al Journ­al about why the Re­pub­lic­an es­tab­lish­ment likes En­zi and why Dad won’t join her on the cam­paign trail. Ed­ited ex­cerpts fol­low.

NJ This week, Mike En­zi stood on the Sen­ate floor in sup­port of Ted Cruz, who was protest­ing Obama­care. Do you think he would have been up there if you wer­en’t chal­len­ging him?

CHENEY A lot of what Sen­at­or En­zi’s do­ing now is a day late and dol­lar short. On Face­book and on my Twit­ter feed, you’ll see people point­ing out that he’s sud­denly got­ten en­er­gized on a num­ber of these causes be­cause he’s fa­cing a primary chal­lenge. The sen­at­or’s been there for al­most 18 years, and the people of Wyom­ing are ask­ing, “What has he done to de­fend and pro­tect them in the last four and a half years of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion? What has he done to pro­tect from massive en­croach­ment of fed­er­al gov­ern­ment in our lives?”

NJ Who would be your al­lies, in terms of be­liefs, if you were elec­ted to the Sen­ate?

CHENEY There are a num­ber of the young­er sen­at­ors I have been im­pressed with. Ted [Cruz] is one of them, Mike Lee is an­oth­er one. There is a shift go­ing on in the Sen­ate today. A new gen­er­a­tion com­ing in. After our party has lost two pres­id­en­tial elec­tions in a row, if there’s some soul-search­ing go­ing on, that’s a good thing. It’s time for a new gen­er­a­tion to step up and some of the old guard needs to step down. We need to deal with chal­lenges across the board — eco­nom­ic and do­mest­ic policy as well as for­eign. It will take a new gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers.

NJ A lot of Re­pub­lic­ans, in Wash­ing­ton and Wyom­ing, seem to think En­zi is already con­ser­vat­ive enough. Why isn’t he? What are the is­sues on which you dif­fer?

CHENEY Sen­at­or En­zi’s hall­mark ac­com­plish­ment, one he doesn’t men­tion much, is the In­ter­net sales tax. It’s a job-killing tax that im­poses an un­be­liev­able new bur­eau­cracy of audits and reg­u­la­tions on new busi­nesses. Secondly, Sen­at­or En­zi ne­go­ti­ated for months as part of the Gang of Six for Obama­care in 2009. That was a big mis­take. He gave cov­er to Pres­id­ent Obama so he could say, “Look, I got the GOP in­volved in this ef­fort,” which we all know was rammed through on a par­tis­an vote. The sen­at­or should have ob­jec­ted from the very be­gin­ning. We dif­fer on Com­mon Core. Sen­at­or En­zi has praised it; I think it hasn’t been tested and is go­ing to be harm­ful to our kids. In gen­er­al, his 80-20 rule — he says in Wash­ing­ton every­one agrees on 80 per­cent of is­sues. We do not agree with Pres­id­ent Obama on even 20 per­cent of is­sues. Our job ought to be look­ing for ways to sig­ni­fic­antly re­duce the size of fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.

NJ Were you sur­prised at the ex­tent to which the GOP es­tab­lish­ment ral­lied around En­zi?

CHENEY No, he’s the in­cum­bent sen­at­or; he’s part of the es­tab­lish­ment. It’s something that helps me in Wyom­ing. For a lot of people in Wyom­ing, it makes them angry — the idea that people in Wash­ing­ton will tell them how to vote, the idea that the Na­tion­al Re­pub­lic­an Sen­at­ori­al Com­mit­tee will pick the win­ner of this primary. There is an­ger from a lot of folks. This is not a time when we need more es­tab­lish­ment.

NJ Alan Simpson is be­ing quite vo­cal about his dis­agree­ment with your fam­ily, even though he’s known you and had a re­la­tion­ship with your fam­ily for years.

CHENEY Yeah. Al is def­in­itely es­tab­lish­ment and quite lib­er­al, and I wasn’t sur­prised that Mike En­zi would be his can­did­ate.

NJ You were a key ad­viser for your fath­er. How’s he help­ing you in this cam­paign?

CHENEY I am very proud of my dad, ob­vi­ously, and I love him very much. He was very ex­cited when I told him I was get­ting in the race. He’s thrilled, but he re­cog­nizes that this is my race, and he won’t be out on the trail cam­paign­ing for me. It’s very im­port­ant for me to do this one vote at a time my­self. And that’s how I plan to do it.

What We're Following See More »
HE ‘WILL NEVER BE PRESIDENT’
Warren Goes After Trump Yet Again
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

When it comes to name-calling among America's upper echelon of politicians, there may be perhaps no greater spat than the one currently going on between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump. While receiving an award Tuesday night, she continued a months-long feud with the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. Calling him a "small, insecure moneygrubber" who probably doesn't know three things about Dodd-Frank, she said he "will NEVER be president of the United States," according to her prepared remarks."We don't know what Trump pays in taxes because he is the first presidential nominee in 40 years to refuse to disclose his tax returns. Maybe he’s just a lousy businessman who doesn’t want you to find out that he’s worth a lot less money than he claims." It follows a long-line of Warren attacks over Twitter, Facebook and in interviews that Trump is a sexist, racist, narcissistic loser. In reply, Trump has called Warren either "goofy" or "the Indian"—referring to her controversial assertion of her Native American heritage. 

FIRST CHANGE IN FOUR DECADES
Congress Passes Chemical Regulations Overhaul
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The House on Tuesday voted 403-12 "to pass an overhaul to the nation’s chemical safety standards for the first time in four decades. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act aims to answer years of complaints that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the necessary authority to oversee and control the thousands of chemicals being produced and sold in the United States. It also significantly clamps down on states’ authorities, in an effort to stop a nationwide patchwork of chemical laws that industry says is difficult to deal with."

Source:
NO MORE INDEPENDENT VOTERS?
GOP Could Double Number of Early Primaries
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Leaders of the Republican Party have begun internal deliberations over making fundamental changes to the way its presidential nominees are chosen, a recognition that the chaotic process that played out this year is seriously flawed and helped exacerbate tensions within the party." Among the possible changes: forbidding independent voters to cast ballots in Republican primaries, and "doubling the number of early states to eight."

Source:
LEVERAGE
Kasich Tells His Delegates to Remain Pledged to Him
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

Citing the unpredictable nature of this primary season and the possible leverage they could bring at the convention, John Kasich is hanging onto his 161 delegates. "Kasich sent personal letters Monday to Republican officials in the 16 states and the District of Columbia where he won delegates, requesting that they stay bound to him in accordance with party rules."

Source:
EFFECTIVE NEXT MONTH
House GOP Changes Rules for Spending Measures
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Speaker Paul Ryan is changing the rules of how the House will consider spending measures to try to prevent Democrats from offering surprise amendments that have recently put the GOP on defense. ... Ryan announced at a House GOP conference meeting Tuesday morning that members will now have to submit their amendments ahead of time so that they are pre-printed in the Congressional Record, according to leadership aides." The change will take effect after the Memorial Day recess.

Source:
×