I know you’re running for a job, Ms. Cheney, but your past record on Syria is complicating!
Fresh off declaring her unlikely opposition to marriage equality, Liz Cheney, who is hoping to defeat Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi in next year’s Republican primary by appealing to a public that's skeptical of foreign entanglements, came out against President Barack Obama’s use-of-force resolution. Decrying the president’s “amateurish approach to national security and foreign policy,” she flatly told a Tea Party gathering in Jackson Hole that she wouldn’t vote for it. (Enzi is saying approximately the same thing.)
It is not clear how this position jibes with her reported comparison, at the same event, between herself and Winston Churchill standing up to Hitler. Nor is it obvious how it fits into her decidedly hawkish prior leanings. In her previous career, Cheney was a professional neoconservative D.C. policy intellectual, most prominently the co-founder, with William Kristol and Debra Burlingame, of the outfit Keep America Safe (whose Internet presence mysteriously and inexplicably vanished a few weeks before Cheney announced her candidacy). Here's a survey of what Cheney has said about Syria and others have said about Cheney’s beliefs about Syria:
Liz Cheney, April 15, 2007: "[The Assads] are an outlaw regime and should be isolated."
Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff and Michael Hirsh, March 22, 2010: "When Liz Cheney was promoted at the start of Bush's second term, becoming principal deputy assistant secretary of state, she upset some more moderate political appointees by pressing hard to use government money for regime change in Syria and Iran."
Liz Cheney, July 24, 2012: "You know, you’ve got the president issuing warnings. You've got our U.N. ambassador, you know, issuing more warnings. You’ve got the secretary of state issuing warnings, but we seem to be doing nothing. And you now faced with the very real prospect that these weapons could end up in the hands of Hezbollah or could end up in the hands of al Qaeda in a situation that really is one of our worst nightmares. I think it's clearly time for more action.... And precisely this moment when the United States needs to be demonstrating a very strong presence, very strong leadership and a very strong dedication to our allies, the administration is walking away.... His policies are making that worse as our allies see us heading for the exit at the moment when they are facing grave danger and so are we."
The Washington Post’s Jen Rubin, July 8, 2013: "And, finally, if she runs, Cheney would be part of a growing trend of conservatives (e.g. John Bolton, Rep. Tom Cotton) who are concerned with the hollowing out of our military and the isolationist trend in the GOP and the country at large. The Obama presidency, the Times would be loath to admit, has provided ample evidence that when the U.S. retrenches, dangerous forces fill the vacuum. Obama is now roundly criticized, even by Democrats, for his lackluster 'policy' (if you can call it that) on Syria and Egypt and his failure to recognize and move to impede aggression by both Russia and China. In 2014, GOP candidates strong on national security have every opportunity to make their case."
But Wyoming Republicans feel differently.
An earlier version of this post identified a Liz Cheney remark dating to July 24, 2013 rather than July 24, 2012.