The Death of the Bush and Cheney Political Dynasties

Last Friday, I flew to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to speak at a prolife summit. A van was provided by the summit organizers to transport us all from the airport. A U.S. Congressman, who happened to be on the same flight, also hopped on to ride with us. The congressman, a conservative, was actually not in town for the pro-life summit; as I learned when he sat next to me, he was in town to campaign against his House colleague and Jan. 6-obsessed would-be martyr for “democracy,” Rep. Liz Cheney (RINO-WY).

Turns out the campaigning congressman’s efforts were not in vain: On Tuesday evening, Republican primary voters in Wyoming absolutely walloped Cheney and nominated her leading challenger, the Trump-endorsed Harriet Hageman. In this state that is largely rural and deep-red, the Republican primary doubles up as the de facto general vote. Hageman will be able to book her ticket for Washington in January. Cheney, the housebroken faux conservative, will be looking to find a new gig. CNN hostess is what comes to mind.

Cheney’s shellacking in Tuesday’s Republican congressional primary in the Equality State comes a little less than three months after a similar landslide in the Lone Star State. On May 24, the Republican primary runoff between incumbent Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and challenger George P. Bush, the state’s land commissioner, was shockingly one-sided: Paxton routed Bush by a roughly 68%-32% margin. Liz Cheney is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and George P. Bush (son of former Florida Governor). Jeb Bush and George W. Bush’s nephew lost their Republican primaries by almost 40 points.

The Texas and Wyoming Republican voters have dealt devastating blows to Bush and Cheney’s political dynasties by wide margins. Cheney may be so naive enough to run for the presidency in 2024, a truly masochistic endeavor in that she would have zero chance of winning.

But the even bigger and more important coup de grace is not that for any specific individual—or, indeed, for any particular family dynasty. The Bush-Cheney years are the most significant symbolic death blow. The tremendous defeats this year of Liz Cheney and George P. Bush, scions of neoconservative family royalty, at the hands of two Trump-backed primary opponents, represent a clarion plea from the Republican rank and file: “We will not go back to the old, pre-Trump era.”


After President Donald Trump’s narrow defeat in the hotly contested 2020 election, many in the housebroken GOP establishment began quietly pushing the party to reject all the substantive departures from sclerotic orthodoxy that Trump’s presidency entailed, to whitewash his myriad accomplishments from the history books and to revert to the “principled loserdom” status quo ante of John McCain and Mitt Romney. But Trump’s generally sustained success in Republican primary contests this year, outside some blips on the radar, evinces the folly of such Beltway conceit.

The demolitions of no less establishment figures than those literally named “Bush” and “Cheney,” especially given the latter’s lofty perch in the petty and vindictive Jan. 6 “select committee” witch hunt, only accentuates the key point: The “New Right,” a sweeping amalgamation of nationalist and conservative-populist sentiment, whose propitious rise has served as a rebuke to the overly “liberal” conservatism of yesteryear, is here to stay.

There will be no return to the feckless, moralistic nation building crusades of decades ago. There will be no going back to the old, neoliberal-inspired free trade absolutism that outsourced entire supply chains to our Chinese geopolitical archfoe, dramatically undercutting America’s industrial resilience. It will not be possible to return to the old, pro Fortune 500 immigration agenda of open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens, as well as mass visas for all foreign nationals.

It will not be possible to go back to the corporatist economic agenda that prioritizes corporate and capital gains taxes cuts while working-class families struggle with raising their children on a single income. There will be no more focusing on libertarian economics, the donor class’s policy hobbyhorse, to the exclusion of those “nasty,” “icky” cultural issues that animate the GOP’s actual voter base.

Republican presidential primary voters in two years will likely have an opportunity to decide whether the party’s future is best represented by Trump himself, on the one hand, or some variation of conservative-populist “Trumpism without Trump,” on the other hand. But these are the only two options. There will be no going back to the pre-2016 “dead consensus”—except perhaps in the fever dream monologues of Liz Cheney’s impending CNN show.


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