A dozen gray-haired guys in Lander meet every morning for coffee and political discourse. Here is what three of them had to say about the recent events concerning Wyoming’s lone member of Congress Liz Cheney’s vote to impeach then-President Donald Trump.
Dave Kellogg, a retired IBM representative and chairman of the Wyoming Catholic College board: “As I reflect on the actions of Rep. Liz Cheney, I have come to a somewhat more modified view of her part in the impeachment of former President Trump.
“I believe her vote was retribution for Trump’s attack on her of a couple of weeks prior, even though it was contrary to the wishes of the majority of her constituency. Human nature being what it is.
“What I do not understand is her willing participation in what can only be called a corruption of due process. An impeachment is an accusation of wrongdoing (not a conviction). The House took the impeachment action on a mostly partisan and arbitrary vote without any basis of facts. It was all based on dislike for Trump, false assumptions, and misrepresentation of facts.
“It concerns me that a person with a legal background, as has Liz Cheney, would take part in an accusation that had prepared no formal evidence, had conducted no open hearings, and had refused to review any defense. It gives me pause when I consider this might be some kind of pattern of snap judgments and vindictive actions that, at some point, could be detrimental to her sober and reasonable consideration of other controversial issues, especially ones that have an emotional side to them.
“I am sure this lapse of judgment will reflect on her future which might consist of an opportunity to be Speaker of the House if the Republicans do take control of the US House of Representatives in 2022 (or perhaps a 2024 or later run for the Presidency). It might also — however I doubt it — have an impact on her future as the US Representative from Wyoming.”
Another coffee shop attendee, County Commissioner Mike Jones, said “Good points Dave, I have a few thoughts rattling around. Whether this was a corruption of the process or not is unknown, nor can it be known without judicial review.
“There are lots of opinions but for a layman to decide on the issue is difficult. I think there is a case to be made that this was a very strategic decision for her, for whatever she sees as an endgame.
“I don’t see her taking impulsive actions. Strategically, she called for a secret ballot vote regarding her leadership with House Republicans because she knew she would win it (rather than a roll call). Kevin McCarthy is a B player at best and she outplayed him.
“I would also bet she is willing to push the pro-Trump part of the Republican party to the brink of divide to expand the more traditional moderate base. She knows, and they know, a split Republican party is a dead Republican party in Presidential politics. Again, she has the strategic high ground. I just don’t see snap judgments in her makeup. As for the Wyoming Republican party, a little less extreme would not hurt us.
“Congress is a stage. From what I have seen of her, she plays it very well and 95% of the time represents the Republican party and Wyoming well. To try and punish her for one bit of theater is, in my humble opinion, part of this black and white view that seems so prevalent in the U.S. today. No one is 100% of anything. The litmus test our Wyoming Republican party wants to hold everyone to is completely counterproductive.”
“Dead on, on all points,” said John Brown, an IT specialist and Republican activist. “Liz is definitely playing a longer game here.”
“It might help to look at the situation and why she did what she did if you consider what her long-term strategy might be.
“For example: If you were going to run for President in 4 years, what would you try to do to win that Trump couldn’t do? Maybe try to pick up more Independent votes, win those soccer moms over in the Virginia suburbs and appeal to those more moderate GOP votes in purple swing states like North Carolina and in the industrial Midwest.
“What does voting to impeach Trump get you? A lot of those Independent voters as well as those soccer moms and moderate GOP votes. It also denies the Democrats a campaign issue they could throw in a competitor’s face if the Republican candidate for president was seen as being ‘too cozy’ with Trump.”