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Liz Cheney Isn’t Important

Jonathan Chait gets a bit too alarmed by this morning’s boilerplate arguments from Liz Cheney:

Liz Cheney’s op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal is an important and alarming document.

Chait considers it important because Cheney is “not a marginal figure” and he finds it alarming because she is “obviously stark raving mad.” It’s true that Cheney is a reasonably high-profile figure in the GOP, and it’s also true her arguments are as divorced from reality as one might expect, but this reaction invests her and this particular op-ed with far more importance than they deserve. If there’s anything alarming about this stale recitation of bogus charges, it’s the fact that many of Cheney’s assertions are widely believed and taken for granted on the right. The only significance the op-ed has is that it is just the latest in a long line of silly attack pieces that movement conservatives and Republicans have been churning out with regularity for at least four years. In fact, it wouldn’t take many modifications of Cheney’s op-ed to come up with a standard Romney stump speech. Cheney’s op-ed comes complete with the nonsensical warnings about “becoming Greece”:

If you’re unsure of what this America would look like, Google “Cyprus” or “Greece.”

Unless Obama is proposing to bring the U.S. into the eurozone and no one has seen fit to mention it before now, this is wrong and displays total ignorance of what has happened to Greece and Cyprus. This stuff is completely wrong, but the alarmism about “becoming Greece” has been a common feature of Republican fiscal arguments for years, and the same goes for most of Cheney’s other claims. My point is that these arguments ceased to be genuinely alarming a long time ago. They have become a depressing reminder that movement conservatives ran out of or gave up on making serious arguments a while back.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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