Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, ended her unpopular bid for Senate in Wyoming yesterday. Cheney was challenging Wyoming Republic Senator Mike Enzi to a primary election, although pundits were puzzled at her reasoning. She polled terribly, with Enzi keeping a 50+ point lead throughout the race. Her failure to garner support is the latest clear indicator of a GOP shifting away from neoconservatism. The ideology that once dominated the Bush administration and conservative policy has been relegated to the dust bin.
While Cheney’s campaign suffered minor blows from here lying over her residency on her Wyoming fishing license, it hardly explains the flop which was her senate run. Why Cheney targeted Enzi at all is baffling: he has a consistent conservative record, nor was he involved in any scandals. He even received an 80 out of 100 score from the American Conservative Union. Cheney undoubtedly felt her name, combined with neoconservative influence, would be enough for her.
Neoconservative influence has greatly waned over the past two years. Neocon figures like Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and John McCain have repeatedly demonstrated how out of touch they are with the more libertarian Republican Party which is emerging. Lately, Rove and Cheney have been steadfast in their defense of the NSA and its surveillance programs, largely contrasting themselves from the rest of their party. Cheney even suffered through an awkward moment on Fox and Friends when he refused to criticize the unconstitutional and Orwellian program. John McCain has repeatedly proven he is out of step and in need of retirement, from posing for photos with Islamic kidnappers to muddying international diplomacy in order to push for war in Syria.
Liz Cheney’s withdrawal from Wyoming’s Senate race is another indicator that the days of neoconservative rule within the GOP are over. Six years ago a Liz Cheney candidacy would have garnered serious support on name recognition alone. Her failure to even have a marginal effect and subsequent withdrawal from the race has received more media attention than her candidacy ever did.
Conservative columnists George Will called Cheney a “neoconservative” and declared that she was “out of touch” with her party, while appearing on conservative pundit Laura Ingraham’s radio show. He also alluded to the controversy over her residency. Cheney, who is from Virginia, tried to exaggerate her connection with the state. “Her connections with Wyoming have been tenuous,” Will said.
With figured such as Texas Senator Ted Cruise, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, and Michigan Congressman Justin Amash rising in influence within the party and figures such as Cheney, her father, and John McCain quickly fading into obscurity, the GOP is quickly forging a new dynamic. It seems the civil war many have written about within the party will drag on for some time. For the time being, the libertarians and limited government conservatives are winning. Voters will ultimately have the final say in this year’s upcoming midterm elections and the presidential primaries of 2015.