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During the 2012 presidential election, Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin cemented her reputation as a willing stenographer for Mitt Romney. Now in a new piece for the Post ("Ten reasons why Liz Cheney should run"), Rubin has transferred her affections to Dick Cheney's daughter, Liz. As it turns out, that is altogether fitting. By manipulating her state of residence and breaking her word in order to challenge an incumbent from her own party, Liz Cheney is just following in the footsteps of another offspring of the GOP elite, Mitt Romney.

In early May, 2012, Politico reported on her ambitions, explaining "Cheney is currently a McLean, Va., resident and there has long been speculation among Republicans that she would eventually run for office there." But just three weeks after Jonathan Martin wrote that she and husband "hope to buy a house in Jackson Hole, where her parents also have a residence, but the move is not a sure thing," Liz Cheney did just that. On May 25, 2012, CBS announced the former Bush State Department official purchased a $1.9 million home in Jackson. Denying that her relocation was politically motivated, Cheney in August 2012 said only, "Right now I'm very focused on 2012."

Last year, Tammy Hooper, chairwoman of the Wyoming Republican Party supported Liz Cheney's purported disinterest in taking on incumbent Republican Senator Mike Enzi

"She said, 'Well, what can I do to help you?' Because when I became the chairman, she was very supportive," Hooper said. "I said, you know, 'Come and help us raise money and help these counties raise money.'"

..."I've never heard her say in any of her speeches I've been to, 'Gee, I'm considering running or in a couple of years I'm going to run,'" Hooper said.

Cheney's own remarks last August seemed to support her claim that "the move to Wyoming wasn't motivated by politics":
"We're really excited about moving home," she said. "My kids are thrilled. They love Wyoming and they're excited to be close to their grandparents again."

She said she hasn't spoken with Sen. Mike Enzi, who some have speculated could decide to bow out in 2014, opening the door for Cheney.

"Sen. Enzi is a terrific senator and an old friend," she said. "I'm sure he'll let folks know when he's ready to let folks know about his decision in 2014."

It's no wonder her "old friend" Mike Enzi is now feeling so betrayed. "She said that if I ran, she wasn't going to run, but obviously that wasn't correct," Enzi said this week, adding: "I thought we were friends." As NBC News made clear Thursday, Mike Enzi made a huge mistake when he believed in Liz Cheney's loyalty and her word:
"I think Sen. Enzi may be confused. I think he may have me mixed up with Cynthia Lummis," Cheney said at a campaign stop in Casper, Wyo. "What happened is I called Sen. Enzi to tell him that I was considering a run. And I have always believed that that decision should be made irrespective of whoever else is in the race."

She added: "It's not true -- I did not tell Sen. Enzi I wouldn't run if he did. I suppose he's just confused."

If this tale of Republican betrayal and opportunism sounds familiar, it should. To become Massachusetts Governor back in 2002, Mitt Romney followed pretty much the same script.

In the summer of 2001, you'll recall, Mitt Romney was running the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. But whether or not he still had an "active" role with Bain back in Boston, Romney was very actively - and publicly - plotting his political future. On August 20, 2001, the Deseret News reported that "Mitt Romney won't return to the business world after the 2002 Winter Games but instead will pursue public service, possibly elected office." The only question was where:

Romney, who made the announcement Monday, declined to say whether he intends to seek office either in Utah or Massachusetts, where he was managing partner and CEO of Bain Capital. He said he would not return to the venture capital firm as originally planned.
On its face, Utah seemed like the obvious choice. After all, he and his wife Ann had been living in their $3.8 million mansion near Park City for over two years. (It was that property, and his tax payments to the state of Utah on it as his "primary residence" that brought up the Massachusetts eligibility question in 2002.)  As Mitt noted at the time, "the kids and grandkids are increasingly in Utah" and "the snow, the horses and the mountain are here." And as Michael Kranish and Scott Helman later explained in The Real Romney, his wife Ann had "'huge qualms' about going back east, because her multiple sclerosis symptoms had abated during three years in Utah. 'I've been healthy here,' she said."

But Utah's Republican Governor Mike Leavitt wasn't up for reelection until 2004 and GOP Senators Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett showed no signs of retiring. That meant that Romney's only other choice was to go back to Massachusetts and challenge the Republican incumbent governor, Jane Swift.

To be sure, Swift's tenure as acting Governor following the departure of Paul Cellucci in April 2001 had been troubled, to be kind. But despite her bungling in Boston and dismal poll numbers, Mitt Romney had promised he would not challenge her in the 2002 Republican primary. As Deseret News reported in August 2001:

Although he has been touted as a likely candidate in next year's Massachusetts gubernatorial race, Romney said again Monday he will not challenge a fellow Republican. The current governor, Jane Swift, a new mother of twins, was lieutenant governor when she assumed the top spot after the Bush administration named GOP Gov. Paul Cellucci as ambassador to Canada.
Romney continued to maintain that posture into early 2002. Despite the clamor from Massachusetts Republicans for him to jump in the race against the weakened Swift, Romney said that February he was still unlikely to do so:
Just last week Romney told CNN when asked about a challenge to Swift: "I'm pretty careful not to absolutely rule out anything, but I do think it would take an unusual circumstance for me to run against an incumbent from my own party. I'm very careful to make sure that even when doors seem pretty closed (to running), there's always a little opening."

He told the Deseret News he has turned down requests to allow political polling on his behalf and has yet to set up an exploratory committee to look at the race. But Romney knows he doesn't have much time if he's going to choose Massachusetts over Utah.

Given that background, it's no surprise that Swift spokesman Jim Borghesani told the Boston Herald at the time:
"Mitt Romney has said in the past that he supports Jane Swift for governor. She takes him at his word."
She shouldn't have.

As the Boston Globe revealed just a few weeks later on March 7, 2002, Romney had indeed been doing polling in Massachusetts, the results of which showed him mauling Swift and beating his likely Democratic opponents. And as Kranish and Helman reported, "his agents were on the ground quickly signing up staff and consultants and scheduling an announcement - whether Swift was in or out." By March 17, they wrote, "the Romneys, decked out in matching jackets with an Olympic theme, flew back to Massachusetts." Two days later, Jane Swift, the first woman to lead Massachusetts, pulled out of the race. To add insult to injury:

Romney never called Swift to say he had changed his mind and would run for governor after all. Swift found out from her staff, which had gotten wind that Romney had rented a big hotel ballroom.
Swift's departure from the race came on the same day as Romney's entry into it. As Time reported, the press conference by "Governor Mom" was an emotional one:
Jane Swift looked like she had been through hell. Her eyes were swimming with tears that she refused to let fall. Voice quavering, the acting governor of Massachusetts announced Tuesday that she would not run for the governor's seat this fall. Swift looked as shocked as the members of the state's political establishment, who were expecting her to put up a fight. Only the day before, she was defiantly vowing to contest a late primary challenge from Mitt Romney, chairman of the recent Winter Olympics. But after a night discussing what that fight would be like with her closest advisers and her husband, she was dropping out of the race. "I've never walked away from a fight in my life," Swift said. "That's probably the toughest part of this."
The rest is history. And Liz Cheney seems determined to repeat it, with two notable exceptions. To secure the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney was forced to run to the right, ultimately repudiating almost everything his father stood for. (That did not prevent him from using father George's rags-to-riches story and strong record on civil rights as pillars of his own campaign.)  In contrast, Liz Cheney is very much her father's daughter, regurgitating the same toxic brew of hardline neo-conservatism and incendiary rhetoric.

And one other thing. As her ambition to render Mike Enzi road kill on the road to the United States Senate and beyond, Liz Cheney doesn't plan on losing. Ever.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's related to this topic (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arizonablue, JML9999, Dretutz, annieli, Brecht

    Maddow Blog

    The entire party is "me first" and dishonest.

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 01:36:43 PM PDT

  •  "excited to be close to their grandparents again." (4+ / 0-)

    I hope the kids are bullet proof.

    I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

    by jhecht on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 01:38:53 PM PDT

  •  So there should be hidden camera footage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv

    of her trash talking Wyoming Residents........

    In keeping with the Romney Republican tradition........

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 01:50:56 PM PDT

  •  I could not feel any sympathy for Swift - (0+ / 0-)

    Nor Enzi

    Lemme laugh at em'!

  •  Liz is toast. Unlike Massachussets, The Cowboy (8+ / 0-)

    State is a place that's always been wary of outsiders.  It has a long history of spitting out federally dispatched territorial governors. Liz Cheney can claim to be 4th generation, but folks here (I'm in Evanston right now) see her as a DC lawyer/carpetbagger.  

    Her biggest mistake so far is using Jackson as her state 'residence'.  Most right-wing folks in Wyoming associate the ski resort town of Jackson with rich hot-tubbing/wife-swapping Hollywood libruls.  It's a beautiful spot with great trails and four-star cuisine, but if I were to mount a GOP coup of an institution like Enzi, it's the last place I'd pick.  

    An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. -Benjamin Franklin

    by martinjedlicka on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 02:21:15 PM PDT

    •  I hope you're right. But Dick's a Grizzly Daddy, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Theodore J Pickle

      and he'll be pulling on some deep connections, and bringing in some heavy donors to give her a platinum campaign.

      If the Cheney's need to get some of the moles he left in government to dig up opposition dirt, to blackmail anyone who stands in their way - it'll happen. This is the man who went and twisted arms at the CIA until he could cherry pick the facts to justify invading Iraq.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 08:56:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's right. And folks out here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brecht

        are scowling a this princess party.  Wyoming clings to the image of the self-made man (even though just about everybody here works for an out-of-state energy company or big box retailer).   Although ranchers can inherit those no-bid BLM grazing from daddy, they still have to push the cows around.  Political dynasties are not the quite the fashion like they are in Utah.

        Liz should have started campaigning for a house seat, or as Enzi did ,in the state legislature.   She's reaching way far off her horse for this brass ring.

        Given how far a buck goes in campaigning in a state with the population of Pittsburgh, Daddy Dick's fundraising will count for something, but Enzi's well liked in the state and the local pols and papers are lining up pretty solidly against Liz.

        I wish she would do better in the pols because a drawn-out fight could damage the GOP enough for a Dem to have a chance, but I'm betting that Liz will drop out sooner than later.

        An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. -Benjamin Franklin

        by martinjedlicka on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 11:59:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  bring it on: Jeb Bush - Liz Cheney 2016! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy
    In contrast, Liz Cheney is very much her father's daughter, regurgitating the same toxic brew of hardline neo-conservatism and incendiary rhetoric.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 03:41:19 PM PDT

  •  She's a nasty weasel with very sharp teeth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Theodore J Pickle

    Look at her shamelessly snide and hurtful explanation of her lying and carpetbagging:

    "I think Sen. Enzi may be confused. I think he may have me mixed up with Cynthia Lummis," Cheney said at a campaign stop in Casper, Wyo. "What happened is I called Sen. Enzi to tell him that I was considering a run. . . ."

    She added: "It's not true -- I did not tell Sen. Enzi I wouldn't run if he did. I suppose he's just confused."

    She plants the idea that this 69 year old man is getting fuzzy in the head. So whenever he complains about her breaking her word, voters will ask themselves, "What if he made a mistake?" But, to a career politician, that kind of promise is far too important, you'd never just mix up who had said it.

    She's a truly evil piece of work, she disgusts me. If she wins, the world will be a worse place than it is. She shouldn't be allowed anywhere near our senate.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 09:04:10 PM PDT

    •  Good Ideas (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht

      I think, in this post and the earlier one in this thread, you've distilled some of the essential elements of her campaign.

      Her father's intimidation campaign at the CIA likely is the playbook she has selected for the Wyoming electorate.  The "Win Friends and Influence People" book simply isn't available to her.

      Excellent posts.  Should be developed into a diary.

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