Rep. Liz Cheney, Wyoming’s one at-large Representative, serves as House Republican Conference Chairman – the #3 House Republican leadership post. We use the term “serves”
rather loosely since Cheney has proven time and again that she really only serves herself, not the larger interests of the Republicans in Congress. And that is why she must be dismissed as GOP Conference Chairman.
Most people have no idea what the House Republican Conference Chairman and the Conference staff do, so a brief explanation is in order.
The Conference staff is the service bureau, if you will, for Republican members of the House of Representatives. The staff conducts briefings on policy and the Floor schedule, they prepare white papers and talking points for the Conference, and most importantly, the House Republican Conference is supposed to coordinate the messaging on policy and legislation so that, as much as possible, Republicans in the House are in broad agreement on policy and are all on the same page in their opposition to what Democrats are doing.
This means that the Chairman of the House Republican Conference must be able to represent the broad interests of the House GOP Conference to the media and coordinate a policy process that represents the vast majority of the Republican voters represented by Republican Members of Congress.
Liz Cheney has proven time and again that she can do neither of those jobs effectively, and what’s more, she has no interest in even trying.
Contrast Liz Cheney’s “all about me” record of picking unnecessary fights with former President Trump when he was President and her almost daily feuding with Trump since the disputed election, culminating in her vote to impeach him post the January 6 riot, with how another Republican Conference Chairman – one Representative Mike Pence – handled the job.
In January 2009, Pence was unanimously elected as the Republican Conference Chairman of a GOP Conference that found itself in the minority after Barack Obama’s 2008 victory and in disarray after Republican President George W. Bush’s bungling second term.
Rather than picking public fights with the much more moderate Members of the House GOP leadership (John Boehner and Eric Cantor) or former President Bush, Pence got to work crafting policies and messaging that would return the Republican Party to the majority.
Pence’s motto as House Republican Conference Chairman was “always on offense,” and he was, so much so that in the 2010 “Tea Party Wave” election Republicans won an historic number of seats and returned to the majority.
At the time, the Republican establishment was not only not interested in Tea Party candidates – they were openly hostile – but Mike Pence bridged the gap with his relentlessly positive message of limited government and traditional values delivered in a steady reassuring manner.
Has Liz Cheney’s feuding with Trump bridged the gap with any important Republican constituency or reassured the conservative grassroots that Republicans in Congress will stand against Joe Biden’s Far Left agenda?
We think not.
And there’s one other contrast – Mike Pence recruited a staff of outstanding conservatives to support him and the rest of the Republican Conference. The Heritage Foundation and other conservative think tanks were omnipresent in the Conference offices and meetings, and sometimes raided for personnel too.
This built a broad base of support within the conservative movement for what the House GOP Conference was doing and guaranteed that the Conference was in sync with the conservative grassroots base of the Republican Party.
In contrast, Liz Cheney has been conspicuous by her absence from conservative gatherings and her staff is notable for its lack of alumni of the conservative movement.
New York Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY-21) is rumored to be the top contender to replace Cheney if she is dismissed by the Conference.
Let’s not kid ourselves – Rep. Stefanik is not a movement conservative – her voting record on many conservative issues is middle of the pack at best and the Club for Growth came out against her noting she has a 35% lifetime rating on their scorecard.
But Rep. Stefanik has one great advantage over Rep. Cheney and that is that she has proven she is a team player and can effectively represent the broad base of the House Republican Conference and the grassroots of the GOP. Even though she could hardly be considered a red meat MAGA Republican she has a good relationship with former President Trump – a sign that she can be effective in keeping Trump’s fractious coalition working and voting for House Republicans.
We would love to see a conservative with a 100% Club for Growth voting record as House Republican Conference Chairman, but absent such a candidate we much prefer a smart team player who respects MAGA voters, like Rep. Elise Stefanik has shown herself to be, over the arrogant and divisive Liz Cheney.
George Rasley, editor of Richard Viguerie's ConservativeHQ.com, served as a staff member for three Chairmen of the House Republican Conference. A veteran of over 300 political campaigns, he is a member of American MENSA, and served on the staff of Vice President Dan Quayle, and as Director of Policy and Communication for former Congressman Adam Putnam (FL-12) then Vice Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, and as spokesman for retired Rep. Mac Thornberry, formerly a member of the House Intelligence Committee and Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
House Republican caucus
House Republican leadership
House Republican Conference Chairman
President Donald Trump
January 6 riot
Rep. Elise Stefanik