You’d have expected more from a Cheney political operation. This family has run quite a few cynical campaigns before and enjoys winning; there’s no time to get caught up in any feelings crap. This is because they are an evil family.
When Liz Cheney, perhaps the most cynical of them all, decided to run for Wyoming’s Senate race, you’d have thought there’d be a family meeting beforehand that went like this.
Liz: Mary, I am going to denounce your same-sex marriage, to win a Republican primary.
Mary: Of course you are, Sister. That is the only way to win a Republican primary in Wyoming, where you brilliantly are pretending to live. I would consider you weak if you didn’t.
Dick: The Cheney family must not be weak.
Lynne: Destroy everything, we must.
Liz: Mwah! War!
[Whole family guzzles deer blood from flaming goblets.]
But now a totally unexpected thing and fun has emerged: Mary Cheney is publicly offended by her sister taking a stand against marriage equality.
The relationship “has deteriorated so much that the two sisters have not spoken since the summer,” the New York Times writes, ”and the quarrel threatens to get in the way of something former Vice President Dick Cheney desperately wants — a United States Senate seat for Liz.”
On Fox News Sunday yesterday, Liz Cheney described same-sex marriage as “just an area where [Mary and I] disagree.” Rather than just sitting there and taking it, as even a Cheney family in-law would be expected to, Mary’s wife, Heather Poe, wrote this up on her Facebook page:
I was watching my sister-in-law on Fox News Sunday (yes Liz, in fifteen states and the District of Columbia you are my sister-in-law) and was very disappointed to hear her say “I do believe in the traditional definition of marriage.”
Liz has been a guest in our home, has spent time and shared holidays with our children, and when Mary and I got married in 2012 – she didn’t hesitate to tell us how happy she was for us.
To have her now say she doesn’t support our right to marry is offensive to say the least
I can’t help but wonder how Liz would feel if as she moved from state to state, she discovered that her family was protected in one but not the other.
I always thought freedom meant freedom for EVERYONE.
Which Mary Cheney then reposted and added, “Couldn’t have said it better myself. Liz – this isn’t just an issue on which we disagree – you’re just wrong – and on the wrong side of history.”
It all seems so very sloppy, this… this spat… from such a ruthless political family like the Cheneys.
Then again, maybe this was the plan all along — because to right-wing voters in Wyoming, watching Liz Cheney trash her lesbian sister’s marriage may just show that she has a Spine.
Think back to when GOP Sen. Rob Portman announced his support for gay marriage in March, because his son was gay. Out of some dumb luck, this announcement happened to come out at the same time as CPAC, and everyone wanted to know what the right-wingers thought about it.
Much of the reaction from angry conservatives, as Think Progress captured at the time, was along the lines of, Not my problem his son is gay! He’s weak for allowing that to change his position, or, he should have raised him to be less gay, then.
“Horrible!” said Tony Mele, an 88-year-old woman from New Jersey, of Portman’s decision. When told he did so because of his gay son, she responded, “That’s his fault! He gets no sympathy from me.” A pastor from Georgia, William Temple, told Portman to “quit being so selfish as to only think about his son,” and if he won’t reverse himself, “to step down and go home.” Another pastor, Rev. Robert Lancia, dismissed Portman’s point that we should treat each other according to the Golden Rule: “That doesn’t cover it.” One man, David Kern, even said Portman’s son’s choice of college turned him gay. “Well what did Sen. Portman expect when he sent his son to Yale?”
To the deep-red Wyoming primary voter hive mind, Liz Cheney’s performance yesterday may not have shown just how cynical and craven she was by throwing her sister under the bus. No, she may have proved her mettle as a conservative by doing so. She’s not “being so selfish as to only think about her” sister, as the William Temples of the world must process it. In fact, she’s willing to kick her own lesbian sister in her lesbian teeth for the sake of America.
This could be the best thing that ever happened to Liz Cheney — assuming she values a U.S. Senate seat over a speaking relationship with her own sister, which seems like a relatively safe assumption.
Jim Newell covers politics and media for Salon.More Jim Newell.