CNN Pundits Admit: Liz Cheney’s Base Is ‘Democrats and the Beltway Media!’

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Not exactly the people you need to win a Republican presidential primary . . .

Given Liz Cheney’s overwhelming defeat in yesterday’s Wyoming Republican congressional primary, it would be a very uphill slog for her to win a national GOP presidential primary, should that be her goal for 2024. In a mark of just how steep that climb would be, on today’s New Day, CNN cast the two legs of Cheney’s base of support as . . . Democrats, and the Beltway media!

First up was CNN polling maven Harry Enten, who offered a Reality Check on the pure polling numbers. Cheney’s bad numbers mean she doesn’t have a path to winning anything.

ENTEN: Among Republicans, not surprisingly it’s well under water at minus 53, independents minus 17. Of course, that might be the group she might want to appeal to. She does have a base within the Democratic party, right, at plus 36. And that’s not surprising, given that the counties she won last night in Wyoming were, in fact, two counties that Joe Biden carried…. 

But, overall here, I’m just not quite sure given this number [-10 overall favorability] what she’s exactly going to do, especially to stop Donald Trump, especially given how far under water she is with Republicans.

Nia-Malika Henderson Scott Jennings CNN New Day 8-17-22During the subsequent panel discussion, CNN political analyst Nia-Malika Henderson offered a surprisingly candid take, one that wouldn’t have been out of place coming from us! She said:

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HENDERSON: In so many ways, Liz Cheney is a person without a party. I mean, her party in many ways is the Beltway media [chuckles]. And, you know, she might get grand profiles in The Atlantic, and maybe she gets a cable news deal. But in terms of having actual Republicans who will follow her, we can see in the polling, we can see in the results from this race, but that she, you know, is a person on an island in her party. 

Establishment Republican analyst Scott Jennings seconded Henderson’s take:

“There may not be enough Republican primary voters to sustain Liz Cheney. But to your [Henderson’s] point, there may be enough interviews to sustain Liz Cheney.

He referred to Cheney appearing on NBC’s Today with Savannah Guthrie to play the courageous martyr. Jennings also noted what he wryly described as a “very interesting” change in Hageman’s politics. He pointed out that at the 2016 Republican National Convention, Hageman was part of a group trying to block Trump from getting the nomination. But she ran in the primary as an ardent Trump supporter, having received his endorsement. He said she was a “pure populist,” posing as a “vessel” for whatever the “mob” wants. 

On CNN’s New Day, Liz Cheney’s base of support being described as composed of “Democrats” and “the Beltway media” was sponsored in part by Samsung, maker of Galaxy phones, Tempur-Pedic, and Skechers.

Here’s the transcript.

CNN
New Day
8/17/22
6:02 am EDT

HARRY ENTEN: So, you know, she wants to take things nationally and I’m not exactly sure what the lane is. Part of that you can see here, her net favorability rating, that’s her favorable minus her unfavorable, among all voters it’s at minus 10 points. It’s under water. 

Among Republicans, not surprisingly it’s well under water at minus 53, independents minus 17. Of course, that might be the group she might want to appeal to. 

She does have a base within the Democratic party, right, at plus 36. And that’s not surprising, given that the counties she won last night in Wyoming were, in fact, two counties that Joe Biden carried. 

But, overall here, I’m just not quite sure given this number [-10 overall favorability] what she’s exactly going to do, especially to stop Donald Trump, especially given how far under water she is with Republicans.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: Listen, she’s got big plans, right? I mean, the speech was grand in its language, references to the Civil War, to Lincoln, to Ulysses S. Grant. I don’t know if she’s Lincoln or Ulysses S. Grant or both in, in this speech. 

But she talked about America being a house on fire in many ways in terms of the threat to our democracy, and her being someone who wants to be part of gathering Americans to, essentially, put out this fire that she says is being set by Donald Trump and some of his allies. 

We will see. I mean, in so many ways, Liz Cheney is a person without a party. I mean, her party in many ways is the Beltway media [chuckles]. And, you know, she might get grand profiles in The Atlantic, and maybe she gets a cable news deal. 

But in terms of having actual Republicans who will follow her, we can see in the polling, we can see in the results from this race, but that she, you know, is a person on an island in her party. 

. . . 

JOHN BERMAN: You spoke of actual Republicans. There’s one sitting next to you, Scott Jennings! What lesson do you take out of this?

SCOTT JENNINGS: Well, I think getting on the wrong side of Trump is survivable if it doesn’t become a crusade. For Cheney this became a crusade, and obviously she paid the price. 

It did raise an interesting question, sometimes in political-science circles, we talk about whether congressmen are supposed to — supposed to act the way they think they should act, or are they supposed to be mirrors of what their constituents want? 

And in Wyoming, we found out that the Republicans out there would rather their congressman be more of a mirror than somebody who follows what’s in her heart. So she, her positions aren’t invalid, it’s just that they’re out of step with the people of Wyoming. And so, I think that that question is interesting in this day and age. 

The person we don’t talk much about is Hageman, who won, who has been on quite a journey. I mean, I’m old enough to remember when she was on the floor of the Republican National Convention, literally plotting a coup against Donald Trump’s nomination. I mean, she [chuckles] she was part of the people who were trying to set up a vote on the floor to get rid of Donald Trump in that big dramatic Ted Cruz moment, and now she’s come all the way to being Trump’s choice here, which I find extremely interesting, to say the least. 

And so, I think she more represents the, well, I’m just going to do what you want me to do. I mean, it’s kind of a pure populist. I have no views of my own. I’ll just be a vessel for whatever the mob, in this case Republican voters, want me to do.

. . . 

There may not be enough Republican primary voters to sustain Liz Cheney, but to your [points to Henderson] point, there may be enough interviews to sustain Liz. Cheney. I mean, she’s going to be on a major national network this morning at 7:00 A.M. I mean, this is part of the plan, is to try to just generate as much attention over time for yourself as you can, and see if it eventually turns into something. I’m dubious that it will

. . . 

She clearly deeply believes this and, you know, there is something to be admired about people who are facing certain negative outcomes who keep going. On the other hand, you know, the raw, cynical, political tactician in me is like, you went out and you blew yourself up, you’re now out of office, you have no chance of achieving the objective you’re probably going to be seeking. There’s an interesting duality here: admiring the commitment versus wondering, you know, when are you going to actually realize you’re heading towards a cliff?

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