Liz Cheney said the following during an interview on ABC’s This Week this morning: “We have to recognize what it means for the nation to have a former president who has not conceded and who continues to suggest that our electoral system cannot function—cannot do the will of the people. To cause that kind of questioning about our process, frankly, is the same kinds of things that the Chinese Communist Party says about democracy: that it’s a failed system.”
To the question of whether or not she voted for Trump last year, Cheney answered immediately, “I did,” and added, “I was never going to support Joe Biden. It was a vote based on policy, on substance, and what I know in terms of the kinds of policies that he put forth that were good for the country.”
Indeed, Cheney voted with Trump 93% of the time, compared to her successor as Conference Chair, Elise Stefanik, who was only with the former President on 78% of her votes. So, policy wise, Cheney is a Trumper. She may even be able to look past his obnoxious Tweets. She just won’t tolerate someone who questions “our electoral system.”
Let’s put aside the temptation to defend Trump and chastise Cheney for a moment, and think through an analogy. Suppose that, on the campus of an esteemed university, there was a strict honor code prohibiting lying, cheating, and stealing; and suppose that the school’s honor code was revered by parents, faculty, and even students…
…And suppose that a plot was devised by a top fraternity on that campus to steal the final history exam to ensure that all members of the fraternity passed. There had been instances of cheating here and there over the years, but never before had anything so brazen been attempted. The plot was well planned, involving several players from the fraternity figuring out when the professor’s office would be unlocked, when the professor would most likely not be in his office, and how to get the stolen exam in and out of there without anyone noticing.
The plan seemed to work. The fraternity brothers all passed with ease, even exceeding the professor’s expectations. Everyone was happy—that is, until a week before graduation, when a security guard, who had been monitoring surveillance camera footage, noticed something unusual. Someone had walked into the professor’s office building after hours, wearing an overcoat. That same someone had walked back out, emptyhanded, about ten minutes later.
Why wear an overcoat when it’s seventy degrees outside? The guard couldn’t make sense of it, so he showed the footage to his supervisor, who knew the professor well enough to show it to him. All three agreed that something wasn’t right. Who was this person?
A closer examination yielded the answer: Ted Whitley, the secretary of the fraternity involved in the plot, was the person in the video. Whitley, it turned out, was one of the students in the class who, along with ten of his pledge brothers, had gotten an “A” on the final exam. There were only two non-fraternity-member “A’s” in the class, including among those students who had carried an “A” average going into the final (Whitley, by virtue of his high grade, was barely able to pass the course).
The next day, the outraged professor went to the Dean of Students, Dr. Peters, and announced that his exam had been stolen, probably by the members of Whitley’s fraternity who were in his class. Peters confronted the president of the fraternity who immediately, of course, denied it.
In the days that followed leading up to graduation, three camps on campus emerged:
1) Those who wanted Whitley and others brought before the student honor council on charges of cheating;
2) Those who believed a cheating scandal of this magnitude would tarnish the school’s reputation, and wanted only to figure out exactly how the boys pulled it off so they could prevent it from happening in the future;
3) Those (primarily members of the fraternity) who insisted that they were innocent, and the accusation against them was simply a big lie.
Those in the first camp knew that exposing the scandal would be ugly, but that, ultimately, doing so was necessary in order to uphold the school’s reputation as an institution that took its honor code seriously. Those in the second camp disagreed. The latter group was comprised of people who were either complicit, just wanted to get along with everybody, or didn’t want to be thought of as conspiracy theorists.
The question is, which camp would Liz Cheney have joined?