File this one under “2021: Hold My Beer.”
Rep. Liz Cheney faces a House GOP leadership vote on Wednesday, which she is likely to lose. As the House GOP Conference Chair, she is currently in the number 3 party position, behind Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise. Cheney survived a previous vote in February after she voted with Democrats to impeach former President Trump, but she has lost McCarthy’s support in the weeks since.
The New York Post issued this reminder: “McCarthy was caught on a hot mic last Tuesday saying, ‘I think she’s got real problems. I’ve had it with … I’ve had it with her. You know, I’ve lost confidence.’” The source of friction: Cheney’s insistence on a litmus-test approach to repudiating Trump and his view of the 2020 election, something that is at odds with much of the Republican base.
If the emptiness of the House chamber on Tuesday is any indication — Cheney made her case in a speech there prior to the vote — the outcome looks fairly certain. Republican lawmakers aren’t lining up to engage on this. McCarthy has already endorsed Elise Stefanik of New York as the new GOP conference chair.
Liz Cheney’s full House floor speech:
“The election is over…that is our constitutional process. Those who refuse to accept the rulings of our courts are at war with the Constitution…Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar. I will not participate in that." pic.twitter.com/sGZRaknBPc
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) May 12, 2021
But riding in at the eleventh hour is a unique, certainly unexpected endorsement that — well, probably won’t have any impact on the vote. Still, it was bound to make headlines.
O.J. Simpson — yes, that O.J. Simpson — has given Liz Cheney a big positive review, identifying himself as “kind of a fan of Liz Cheney.”
To dislike doesn’t mean to disrespect. pic.twitter.com/nOK2SuY5hx
— O.J. Simpson (@TheRealOJ32) May 10, 2021
He seems to have come to it reluctantly. Simpson admits he wasn’t a fan in the past. The Post quotes him from Twitter: “Don’t get me wrong, I’m 50-50 on her politics, but I didn’t like her,” says Simpson. “And then I just realized recently, the reason I didn’t like her had to do with her father, probably my least favorite politician of my adult life, former Vice President Dick Cheney.”
It’s not clear that Liz Cheney would have made headway against this antipathy unaided. But she had assistance from the timely intervention of a quote from French philosopher Voltaire, which came to Simpson’s attention when he saw a show: “Then I saw a show the other day and I saw a quote by Voltaire and it said that patriotism was the enemy of mankind,” Simpson said.
NY Post notes for the record that the correct quote is actually as follows: “It is lamentable that to be a good patriot, one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind.”
This got Simpson thinking about the Republican Party, and the next thing he knew, it seemed to him “that that big truth and honesty, seems to be the enemy of many of these Republican politicians. And Liz Cheney stands up for the truth, that’s got her a lot of heat.”
The upshot, from Simpson: “Standing up for the truth, that’s something I know her father wouldn’t have done so, right now I’m kind of a fan of Liz Cheney.”
The Post provides the obligatory summary of Simpson’s history of malfeasance: “Simpson, a once-revered football player and public figure, was acquitted of the 1994 murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, though he lost a civil suit which was repeatedly upheld in appeals courts holding him liable for the deaths.”
The paper continues, “He also did nine years in prison for armed robbery and kidnapping in Nevada.”
If Liz Cheney objects to his endorsement, it may be first because of Simpson’s evident hostility to her father. As his tweet indicates, however, “To dislike doesn’t mean to disrespect.” That’s ambiguous, possibly referring to Dick Cheney, or Liz Cheney, or both.
It wouldn’t be 2021, at any rate, without a profound moment with O.J. Simpson on the eve of the GOP House leadership vote.