Rand Paul is doing everything he can to keep Liz Cheney out of the Senate as their bitter feud rages on: report

Rand Paul is doing everything he can to keep Liz Cheney out of the Senate as their bitter feud rages on: report
Liz Cheney image via Screengrab

One of the long-running feuds within the Republican Party has been the one between Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming. Cheney is considering a run for the U.S. Senate in 2020, and Burgess Everett and Melanie Zanona explain in a report for Politico that the bitter rivalry between Cheney and Paul is continuing to play out with Paul doing everything he can to keep Cheney out of the Senate.

Paul is encouraging former Rep. Cynthia Lummis (a Tea Party ally) to run for the Senate in Wyoming, stressing that she would be much better for the position than Cheney. Everett and Zanona explain that by doing so, Paul is giving Cheney a “tough choice”: either “embark on a brutal primary campaign against Lummis or take the safer route and seek her fortune in House leadership.”

The bad blood between the 53-year-old Cheney and the 56-year-old Paul goes back to the George W. Bush years, when their parents had radically different views over the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein. Cheney is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, while Paul is the son of former Texas Rep. Ron Paul; while Dick Cheney, as Bush’s vice president, was a major proponent of invading Iraq, Ron Paul thought it was a terrible idea. And the invasion of Iraq turned out to be as much of a disaster as Rep. Paul warned it would be.

As brutal a dictator as Hussein was, he provided some stability in Iraq — and the overthrow of Hussein led to the rise of ISIS (Islamic State, Iraq and Syria), a terrorist organization so vicious that even al-Qaeda and the Taliban have criticized them for being too violent. The invasion of Iraq was one of the worst foreign policy blunders in U.S. history, and Rand Paul isn’t shy about pointing out how enthusiastically Liz Cheney, like her father, supported the Iraq War.

In terms of foreign policy, President Donald Trump is much closer to Rand Paul than he is to Liz Cheney: Trump has been greatly influenced by Patrick Buchanan’s paleoconservative “America first” isolationism, while she is a strident neocon just like her father. Yet the congresswoman, who chairs the House Republican Conference, is on friendly terms with the president these days — although Rand Paul has denounced her as a “Never Trump warmonger.”

Rand Paul and Liz Cheney have exchanged countless insults on Twitter. And he isn’t the only well-known Republican who favors Lummis over Cheney in Wyoming’s U.S. Senate race: Everett and Zanona point out that other senators who are supporting Lummis include North Dakota’s Kevin Cramer, Utah’s Mike Lee and Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy. But those senators aren’t necessarily supporting Lummis for the same reasons as Paul.

While the Kentucky senator obviously detests Cheney, Cramer believes she is serving the GOP well in the House and shouldn’t jeopardize that with a Senate run. Cramer told Politico, “Liz very well could be the first Republican woman speaker of the House. If I was in Wyoming, I’d go, ‘Gosh, we have an opportunity to have a couple superstars.’ And if Liz does (run for U.S. Senate), we don’t.”

According to three of Politico’s sources, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is urging Cheney to run for the Senate and is among her most enthusiastic supporters.

Lummis (who was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008 and served four terms but didn’t seek reelection in 2016) and Cheney are both far-right, although in different ways. The 65-year-old Lummis, who was part of the House Freedom Caucus, does not share Cheney’s neocon views — and if Lummis and Cheney do end up in a Senate primary battle in Wyoming, it would no doubt be an ugly one. Cheney, however, has yet to decide whether or not she will run for the Senate.

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