From the first Morning Jolt of a busy week:
A Cheney for Senate Bid Turns the New York Times Green with Enzi
I’m sorry, Senator Mike Enzi, but the thought of Democrats’ heads exploding upon hearing the words “Senator Cheney” is spectacularly appealing.
Naturally, the New York Times angle on this — written by Jonathan Martin, formerly of Politico and briefly with NR — is that a Liz Cheney senatorial bid means doom for Republicans:
A young Dick Cheney began his first campaign for the House in this tiny village — population 1,600 — after the state’s sole Congressional seat finally opened up. But nowadays, his daughter Liz does not seem inclined to wait patiently for such an opening.
Ms. Cheney, 46, is showing up everywhere in the state, from chicken dinners to cattle growers’ meetings, sometimes with her parents in tow. She has made it clear that she wants to run for the Senate seat now held by Michael B. Enzi, a soft-spoken Republican and onetime fly-fishing partner of her father.
But for the state GOP, that means doom! Dooooooooom!
Ms. Cheney’s move threatens to start a civil war within the state’s Republican establishment, despite the reverence many hold for her family.
Mr. Enzi, 69, says he is not ready to retire, and many Republicans say he has done nothing to deserve being turned out.
It would bring about “the destruction of the Republican Party of Wyoming if she decides to run and he runs, too,” Alan K. Simpson, a former Republican senator from the state, said in an interview last week. “It’s a disaster — a divisive, ugly situation — and all it does is open the door for the Democrats for 20 years.”
Above: The New York Times Graphics Department’s depiction of downtown Jackson Hole after the Republican Ragnarok of an Enzi-Cheney primary.
You may be less than stunned to learn that most conservative bloggers believe that the state and national GOP, the nation, conservatism, and the laws of time and space can indeed survive a Cheney senatorial bid. Why, they almost seem to welcome it.
I have nothing against Enzi; I know little about him. But I don’t like the sense of entitlement being shown by Alan Simpson and others.
If Enzi deserves to be reelected, he should earn it. No free rides from now on.
Maybe the Wyoming Republican Party needs a little shaking up.
Run, Liz, Run.
Doug Brady over at Conservatives4Palin:
First, I’d take anything Alan Simpson says with a large grain of salt, and his warning that a Cheney challenge to Enzi would result in the destruction of the Wyoming Republican Party and open the door to a Democrat Senator from the state is ludicrous. Whoever wins the GOP primary — Cheney or Enzi — would be the overwhelming favorite to win the general election. Simpson, who’s most famous for the disastrous Simpson-Mazzoli amnesty bill in 1986, has always been an establishment guy and has always been more interested in getting on the Sunday talk shows than advancing conservatism..
Second, I think Enzi overestimates his conservative support. As you’ll recall, he teamed up with Dick Durbin to co-sponsor a Senate bill which would impose a massive new internet sales tax just four months ago. Such a cumbersome bureaucratic mess like that would be harmful even in a good economy but, as Stacy noted at the time, it would be particularly disastrous in the Obama economy. There’s no way I can square a vote for what amounts to a national sales tax increase with a “reliably conservative record”.
Kurt Schlichter: “Liz Cheney has the potential to take the GOP in a new direction. Toward success.”
But not quite everyone is on board. At PowerLine, John Hinderaker contends the challenge would be a waste of conservative energy and activism:
I admire Liz Cheney as much as anyone, but I can’t claim to be pleased to learn that she has moved from Washington to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and has told Senator Mike Enzi that she may run against him in next year’s GOP primary. In my view, Republicans (and conservatives) spend much too much time and energy attacking each other, rather than going after the Democrats. That doesn’t mean, of course, that Republicans should never mount primary challenges.
But when do such challenges make sense? If an incumbent Republican is not a conservative (Susan Collins, say) and a more conservative challenger has a good chance of winning the general election, then a primary challenge is in order. But that isn’t the case here: Enzi is a solid conservative with a 93% lifetime American Conservative Union rating (92% in 2012). He recently voted against the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill. Cheney may well be a little more conservative than Enzi, but going after a 90+% conservative is fratricide.
We have primaries for a reason, don’t we? If Cheney’s bid is so ill-considered, Wyoming Republicans (also known as most Wyoming voters) will let her know. Hinderaker concludes, “Cheney is neither significantly more conservative than Enzi nor significantly more electable; her real advantage as a primary candidate is that she is significantly more glamorous. That isn’t enough.”
Yeah, but there’s something to be said for glamour.