Rocky Mountain Showdown
It just seems that Liz Cheney has been itching to get into elective politics for years. You could see it in her numerous appearances on political TV talk shows. She most likely got the bug from her dad, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and has finally settled on a Senate seat in Wyoming as her target.
There are only a few hitches with this plan. First, the Senate seat in question happens to be occupied by a popular Republican incumbent, Mike Enzi, who is running for a fourth term next year. And second, until late last year Liz Cheney was a resident of Virginia. True, the Cheney family has roots in Wyoming dating back to the 1850’s. But she might find it tougher than she thinks to convince some of those small-town Wyoming folks that they need to throw out Enzi and put her in the seat.
In the Web video announcing her candidacy, Cheney talked about the need to send a new generation to Washington and that it was time for Republicans to stop cutting deals with Democrats. Cheney is also a fierce critic of President Barack Obama, especially in the areas of national security and foreign policy. But it might be tough to build a Senate campaign in Wyoming around the idea that the U.S. needs to be more aggressive with its adversaries around the world.
Tough Fight Ahead
The primary election has all the earmarks of a battle royal in the shadow of the Grand Teton mountains. Wyoming’s other U.S. Senator, John Barrasso, and lone House member, Representative Cynthia Lummis, have already fallen in behind Enzi. Enzi, in fact, says Cheney once promised not to run for the seat if he decided to seek another term, adding, “I thought we were friends.” Cheney says Enzi is “confused” and that she never made such a promise.
The Cheney bid has also split some national Republicans. The National Republican Senatorial Committee is supporting Enzi, as is Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a possible GOP presidential contender in 2016. Former Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer warned on Twitter that there was no need for a divisive Republican primary in Wyoming.
But another veteran of the Bush-Cheney White House, Republican strategist Mary Matalin, told Politico that the “so-called ‘Establishment’ should let the voters decide” in the Wyoming race. Other Republicans believe Cheney will be able to raise a lot of money and will be a formidable candidate.
Republicans outnumber Democrats in Wyoming by more than three to one, so whichever Republican emerges from the primary will be the odds-on favorite to win the seat.
Biden-Hillary Face-off in ’16?
The latest issue of GQ magazine features a piece on Vice President Joe Biden and whether he will run for president in 2016. Biden says his judgment call is determining how much he wants to run.
“First of all, am I still as full of as much energy as I have now? Do I feel this?” Biden went on. “Number two, do I think I’m the best person in the position to move the ball?” And finally, this: “I can die a happy man never having been president of the United States of America. But it doesn’t mean I won’t run.”
Many Democrats are excited by the prospect of a Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016. Women activists in particular are urging Clinton to make another presidential run, believing she is the best hope ever of shattering the glass ceiling in the White House. There is considerably less clamor for a Biden candidacy, though he remains popular with Democratic voters.
Former Bill Clinton aide James Carville says when it comes to Hillary there has not been such a strong non-incumbent frontrunner since Republican Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. But other Democrats aren’t convinced that will necessarily deter Biden. Some weeks back, former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson told ABC’s “This Week” program that Joe Biden is “somebody who always wanted to be president. He’s got the eye of the tiger…I think there could be a face-off.”
Hard-core Hillary supporters would no doubt like Joe Biden to simply step aside and cede the 2016 Democratic nomination to Clinton. That may yet happen. But if it doesn’t, and Biden decides to run, Democrats could be in for yet another lengthy and divisive primary campaign pitting two of the party’s most experienced and formidable personalities against one another.