No one cares what Rumsfelds or Cheneys think about Syria!

Liz Cheney bashes Obama’s “amateurish” Syria plan, while Rummy calls him “feckless.” Their opinions are meaningless

Published September 4, 2013 5:25PM (EDT)

Donald Rumsfeld, Liz Cheney                   (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst/AP/Cliff Owen)
Donald Rumsfeld, Liz Cheney (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst/AP/Cliff Owen)

A sneering Liz Cheney, looking to unseat Wyoming GOP Sen. Mike Enzi, told a Tea Party town hall in Jackson Hole Tuesday night that she would not support a congressional resolution to back President Obama’s planned Syria strike, deriding him for "an amateurish approach to national security and foreign policy."

The daughter of the man responsible for fabricating the case for the Iraq war, the man who famously insisted “we will, in fact, be treated as liberators” and who had no plan for when that predictably turned out not to be the case – the daughter of that man is upset that Obama doesn’t seem to have a clear plan for Syria. This news comes on the heels of disgraced former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Cheney’s partner in war crime, blasting Obama’s plan as “feckless” and deriding him as the “so-called commander in chief.”

So let’s recap: The team responsible for one of the worst decisions in American foreign policy history is kneecapping the president in a time of crisis. Of course, Dick Cheney has been attacking Obama from the beginning, insisting before he was inaugurated that he was making America less safe by promising to end torture and close Guantánamo. But now his daughter is taking her Obama contempt so far that she’s bucking her dad’s neocon friends and resisting the president’s Syria plans.

Cheney’s turnaround is pretty striking. She was a co-founder of the neocon group Keep America Safe, along with always-wrong war-lover William Kristol. TNR’s Marc Tracy has detailed Cheney’s long list of statements backing action against Assad going back to 2007. As an assistant secretary of state she tried to use funds for regime change in Syria and Iran. Just last month, the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin (who’s in the running to share Kristol’s title of “always wrong”) listed Cheney as among the rising Republican stars who would buck “the isolationist trend in our party and in the country itself.” But now, running in a state that’s skeptical of more foreign interventions, she’s siding with the isolationists.

Cheney downplays the extent to which she’s split from former GOP allies. "The press will try to portray this Syria debate as a battle between wings of the Republican Party," she told the friendly right-wing audience. "Don't believe them." But in fact there is a split in the GOP, and Cheney is putting herself on Team Rand Paul.

Except she’ll never get to Washington to join Team Rand Paul. Trailing Sen. Mike Enzi by 30 points in recent polls, she sounded a little unhinged in her Jackson Hole remarks, comparing herself to Winston Churchill standing up to Adolf Hitler – although it wasn’t clear who is playing the role of Hitler, Enzi or Obama – and accusing congressional Democrats and Republicans of lying about the depredations of Obamacare. She promised to abolish the EPA, the IRS and the Department of Education.

Cheney also went on a rant against the Jackson Hole News&Guide --  the only paper covering her remarks Tuesday --  for reporting on the $220 fine she had to pay for misrepresenting her address to get a fishing license.

“Newspapers are dying, and that’s not a bad thing,” she said. “We’re not depending on the Jackson Hole News&Guide to get the news out. We’re depending on ourselves. We’re going to go over their heads.” Cheney then said if each supporter talked to 10 friends about her, they wouldn’t need the newspaper. An audience member then singled out the News&Guide reporter in the crowd, and Cheney supporters refused to be interviewed afterward. Friendly!

That’s the old Cheney charm. Also this past week she got in a fight with her sister Mary when she came out against gay marriage in order to hit the conservative Enzi from the right. The normally quiet Mary Cheney, who is married to her longtime partner Heather Poe, hit her sister back:

“For the record, I love my sister, but she is dead wrong on the issue of marriage," she wrote.

Even Dick Cheney has come out in support of gay marriage, citing his daughter’s relationship. Poor Liz can’t even find the courage to join the rest of her family. And it’s sad, because she’s opening the rift even though she has almost no chance of unseating Enzi.

But bashing Obama gets her back on the same page as her father, so family holidays may not be so tense after all.

By Joan Walsh