Cheney vs. DeSantis: A Battle Royale for the Soul of the GOP

She is considering a presidential campaign in 2024 on the Republican Party ticket and believes in America.

He is considered a front-runner for a starring role on the GOP campaign trail in 2024 and believes in himself.

She stated publicly — after losing a bid to continue representing Wyoming in Congress — that she wants to keep former President Donald J. Trump as far away from the White House in 2025 as possible.

He doesn’t talk about Trump on the campaign trail this year while running for re-election as Florida governor. During the recent primary season, however, he supported candidates endorsed by the twice-impeached former chief executive of the country.

Liz Cheney and Ron DeSantis. Longstanding Republican operatives engaged in trying to move their political party — and themselves — forward and hoping at the same time to recapture control of the federal government from President Joseph Biden and the Democratic Party.

It’s shaping up to be a battle royale for the soul of the GOP, a mainstream political party ripped apart by Trump’s vitriolic attack on democracy during the past six years, and by his quest to become America’s first president for life.

Cheney insists she is focused on fighting for the American people. DeSantis makes it clear that he, like Trump, wants people to fear him. More simply put, Cheney says she will do for folks based on historical, traditional Republican values while DeSantis says he will do unto folks who don’t support his often-dictatorial actions currently on display in Florida.

Let’s provide some context for the upcoming Cheney vs. DeSantis slug-fest. When Cheney throws out the “traditional Republican values” phrase, what does she mean? Most likely she’s referencing the 1984 GOP Party Platform Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush used in their successful re-election as president and vice president respectively.

The theme of that platform was “America’s Future Free and Secure.” In the preamble to the official document, GOP leaders endorsed rhetoric that seemingly echoes the promises of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness first expressed in the Declaration of Independence.

“Republicans affirm that now, as throughout history, the spiritual and intellectual genius of the American people will create a better nation and maintain a just peace. To Republicans, creativity and growth are imperatives for a new era of opportunity for all.”

Sounds good, eh, and that’s just one paragraph from a lengthy document filled with feel-good promises designed to persuade Americans to vote for the Reagan/Bush ticket that year, which they did in droves.

Why would Cheney want to pull from a past party platform and remind Republicans what was promised to the country nearly four decades ago?

Because the GOP didn’t have a platform in 2020. Republican candidates for office that year campaigned on whatever Trump told them were the issues he wanted front and center. So, the GOP’s platform pantry is currently bare and needs to be refilled.

DeSantis is busy in Florida trying to secure another term as governor, so don’t look to the Sunshine State’s leading Republican to provide details of a national party platform.

DeSantis, however, fervently wants to keep his presidential hopes alive, even if Trump’s constant threats of running again become reality. So, what DeSantis has done and will do in Florida could be instructive as to how he wants to reshape the GOP.

For some four years, DeSantis has been at war against just about everything, including mask and vaccine mandates during the COVID pandemic; critical race theory; and voting rights. Additionally, under DeSantis’ bullying tactics, the state has become rife with Neo-Nazi rallies, anti-CRT sentiments, debates on banning books and attacks on voting rights.

Much like the man he once campaigned for, DeSantis has called teaching about the impact of race in American history “crap.” He blathers about protecting freedoms and rights while attacking science, mask-wearing and vaccines as Florida has surged with COVID cases, hospitalizations and tragically, deaths. He won’t discuss the dramatic rise in the state’s death rate due to COVID during the past two years.

A national GOP reboot with DeSantis at the controls could look much like the no-party-platform train wreck created by Trump in 2020. Remember that brilliant strategy gave President Joseph Biden a major Election Day win — 7 million more popular votes and a 306 to 232 victory in the Electoral College.

Cheney, now unburdened of a midterm re-election campaign, fired the first shots in this soon-to-be-primetime contest with DeSantis shortly after her primary election loss.

“I believe that Donald Trump continues to pose a very grave threat and risk to our republic,” Cheney said recently on NBC’s Today show. “And I think that defeating him is going to require a broad and united front of Republicans, Democrats and independents, and that’s what I intend to be a part of.”

Along with constantly sounding the alarm about Trump’s quest to reoccupy the White House, Cheney established The Great Task Political Action Committee, borrowing from President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to establish and promote its vision and purpose:

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us . . . that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
— Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Trying to find specific policy positions the Great Task PAC — and Cheney — will support in the months and years to come is difficult. Yes, she voted to impeach Trump in 2021. Yes, she’s co-chair of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol that has produced a wealth of troubling evidence about Trump’s role in the terrorist attack to overthrow the U.S. government.

That’s strong proof Cheney has a handle on how to rebuild the Republican Party into a mainstream, thoughtful and people-oriented operation.

Her voting record in Congress, however, tells another story. Cheney and an overwhelming majority of House Republicans recently voted against the Inflation Reduction Act, which puts billions towards health care and climate initiatives. She considers herself “strongly pro-life” and supported the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v Wade. She has co-sponsored legislation to defund Planned Parenthood and prevent taxpayer money from going to abortions. 

Though to label Cheney old school Republican you would have to ignore her vote concerning the nation’s gun laws. Earlier this year, she joined a majority in the House in voting for the most wide-ranging gun control legislation approved in nearly 30 years. She voted against the measure as it was originally approved by the House, but voted for the compromise version that was returned by the Senate.

DeSantis, on the other hand, has declared an all-out war on gun control. In April, he vowed to make Florida a so-called constitutional carry state, which would allow people to publicly carry firearms without permits.

“The legislature will get it done,” DeSantis said. “I can’t tell you if it’s going to be next week or six months, but I can tell you that before I am done as governor, we will have a signature on that.”

Republican lawmakers have broached gun issues cautiously in Florida, the site of a deadly 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland. After the massacre, which left 17 students and staff dead, Republicans and Democrats united to raise the age requirement to purchase a rifle or shotgun to 21 and to enact a so-called red flag law, which allows a court to temporarily remove firearms from someone perceived as a threat. The combined measures were signed into law by then-Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican.

DeSantis, however, criticized the law as a candidate in 2018, saying he would have vetoed it if it had reached his desk. Calling himself a “big Second Amendment guy,” he also backed allowing firearms on college campuses.

The Cheney vs. DeSantis battle for the soul of the GOP will play out on national prime-time political coverage for the next two years. It could be joined by other interested parties such as U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), a member of the House Select Committee who is leaving office next year and is an outspoken critic of Trump.

Bottom line: It’s a Republican fight between Cheney’s traditional American outlook on life, versus DeSantis’ version of Trump’s anti-American, deconstructionist approach to governing the country.

Not sure Americans will win no matter who claims victory in the end.


One thought on “Cheney vs. DeSantis: A Battle Royale for the Soul of the GOP

  1. I couldn’t care who does what in the republican party. They are both stupid and evil. I know the good ole USA ain;t what it should be, (Oligharcy anyone?), but at least the dems will give you a pillow before they blow your brains out.


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