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Ron Radosh

The Media’s War Against Liz Cheney

October 14th, 2009 - 5:53 pm

Liz Cheney is sending fervent Obama fans into a tizzy. First, Maureen Dowd, the most overrated op-ed columnist writing today, penned the most mean spirited column she has ever written and  perhaps the most inaccurate. She accuses Ms. Cheney of “regarding bipartisanship with the same contempt as multilateralism and multiculturalism,” and along with her father and sister, of leading “the charge against Obama, painting him as a wishy-washy loser who turned America to mush.”

There is nothing as crude as exaggerating a serious critique of Obama’s foreign policy, one that Liz Cheney regularly makes with aplomb and dignity, by dumbing it down to make Cheney sound absurd. Dowd is obviously furious that Cheney along with Bill Kristol and others have formed a new group, Keep America Safe, that seeks to heighten public awareness of the need to come together as a nation and demand a policy that protects our national security.

Dowd is scornful that Cheney charges Obama will “make America weaker.” After all, didn’t the Nobel Prize Committee respond to its critics by saying that Obama won the prize for contributing to a “world with less tension.”  But as Sean Curvyn writes on his website, “It’s a less tense world. Tell that to the Chinese dissidents…By conceding to the Russians on missile defense, he is reducing “tension” with Putin. By granting the Iranians further stages of delay before there are any real consequences for their pursuit of nuclear weapons, he is reducing “tension” with the Persians.” As he quips aptly, “if only he could reduce tension with Fox News.”

Another commentator who agrees is Marty Peretz, editor-in-chief of The New Republic as his recent “Spine” blogs at TNR’s website makes clear. As he writes today , “Obama hasn’t reset the American relationship with Russia. He was taken for a ride. Maybe his vanity won’t let him admit it. But, believe me, the Russians know they have taken him (and us) for a big ride, indeed.” Obama, he adds, gave the Russians what they asked for, in the hope that Putin would then agree to tough sanctions against Iran. Secretary Clinton then goes to Russia, only to be informed by Putin that his government does not believe sanctions are appropriate. As Peretz concludes: “Of course, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. In fact, with the Russians, if you don’t demand and threaten a little, you get zero.” 

Michelle Cottle in TNR has launched her own  attack against Cheney.  Apparently the arguments of her editor- in- chief, or the strong arguments on the same website by historian Jeffrey Herf  have had little effect.  Calling Bill Kristol “an appalling jackass,” she goes on to claim media types are easy on Cheney, “because she’s a sweet looking blonde chick.” Had a man written that, it would be slammed as sexist tripe. 

What upset her, evidently, is that on “Morning Joe,” both Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski did take Cheney seriously, or as Cottle calls it, “fawned shamelessly over her.”  To Cottle, Cheney is simply a “baby-faced blonde … fighting for an aging, ailing daddy’s honor.” Under this veneer, she writes, she is really “a particularly dangerous combination of sweet-as-sugar looks and savage instincts.”

 Actually, as anyone who has met Ms. Cheney knows, she is a knowledgeable and serious advocate of a tough foreign policy that she believes needs to be articulated and fought for. One can disagree with her, but to date, the critics have not done this. 

You can’t win with liberal supporters of a weak dovish foreign policy, especially if you are a woman. We’re familiar with their attacks on Sarah Palin, whom they accuse of being a know-nothing, uneducated, unprepared, right-wing partisan.  Liz Cheney obviously knows her stuff, is prepared and educated, and certainly does not need to be brought up to speed.  She has five children, still manages to function as a serious spokesman for a new foreign policy, and is good looking and charming. 

Of course, their real fear is that before long, Liz Cheney will run for a major national office. What could be worse–an attractive, articulate female conservative with knowledge and guts, running for office.  For the Dowds and Cottles of the world, this woman must be brought down.

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