Liz Cheney’s Failed Campaign Highlights the Declining Influence of GOP Hawks

Cheney has ended her Senate campaign. The daughter of former Vice
President Dick Cheney announced that she would no longer pursue a
GOP primary campaign against Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi. National
’s Josh Kraushaar
 the right takeaway: 

But most significantly, Cheney found that her calling card in
public life as a spokesperson for a muscular, hawkish foreign
policy just wasn’t playing politically—even in a Republican primary
in a deeply conservative state. Cheney entered the race as a go-to
conservative expert on the Middle East, but she barely talked about
foreign policy on the campaign trail. Voters were more interested
in her views on gay marriage than her bromides against the Obama
administration over Benghazi.

Her dropping out is a symbolic nail in the coffin to the
politics of the Bush-Cheney administration, when foreign policy
trumped all and aggressive tactics to combat Islamic extremism were
initially greeted with public support. 

Cheney dropped out because she had no chance. And she had no
chance in part because of the declining influence of the Republican
Party’s most hawkish members. Her run was, as much as anything,
intended as a way to make some noise about the foreign policy
issues that party hawks thought were getting lost in the shuffle,
and to serve as an opposing voice to what is easiest to describe as
the Rand Paul wing of the GOP, which is more worried about civil
liberties and less interested in overseas adventurism or maximizing
defense-sector spending. That Cheney’s campaign gives a sense of
the electoral landscape within the GOP. It’s hard out there for a

Cheney’s decision to drop out hinged on all sorts of factors
that don’t necessarily transfer to other races. But if there’s a
broader lesson here, it’s that the party’s hawkish old guard may be
having more trouble than it used to keeping its candidates afloat.
The interest just isn’t there. If that’s the case, then New Jersey
Governor, and likely GOP presidential candidate in 2016, Chris
Christie is the most obvious potential loser. He’s already settled
into the role of the anti-Rand Paul, the anti-libertarian, and

the establishment favorite
. That’s not to say he can’t take the
nomination. But it does mean that he could have a harder time than
someone in that position would have in previous races. 

from Hit & Run

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