Liz Cheney: chicken, hawk, or both?

I’ve been enjoying the public back-and-forth between Rachel Maddow, host of the eponymous MSNBC show, and Liz Cheney, daughter of the former vice president and founder of Keep America Safe, a hawkish PAC. In the past weeks and months, Cheney has appeared on television, in print, on the Web — just about everywhere — talking ...

578673_091021_843066702.jpg
578673_091021_843066702.jpg

I've been enjoying the public back-and-forth between Rachel Maddow, host of the eponymous MSNBC show, and Liz Cheney, daughter of the former vice president and founder of Keep America Safe, a hawkish PAC.

In the past weeks and months, Cheney has appeared on television, in print, on the Web -- just about everywhere -- talking up her hard-line foreign-policy PAC and asserting that Obama's "‘radical' policies are placing us all at risk." A rhetorical question she posed, which appeared in the New York Times: "Mr. President, in a ticking time-bomb scenario, with American lives at stake, are you really unwilling to subject a terrorist to enhanced interrogation to get information that would prevent an attack?" (Putative White House answer: Yes.) The former State Department official and lawyer instead vocally advocates for policies more in line with the hard right, interventionist, neo-con fringe in the past administration.

This earned the PAC, well, a bit of flack from the left and center, along with slews of plain-old publicity (during its major fundraising drive, natch). Apparently, the push-back rubbed Cheney the wrong way -- and in response Keep America Safe put an advertisement up on its website, criticizing MSNBC for its negative coverage and asking "Why don't they want to talk substance" and "Why don't they want to debate the issues?"

I’ve been enjoying the public back-and-forth between Rachel Maddow, host of the eponymous MSNBC show, and Liz Cheney, daughter of the former vice president and founder of Keep America Safe, a hawkish PAC.

In the past weeks and months, Cheney has appeared on television, in print, on the Web — just about everywhere — talking up her hard-line foreign-policy PAC and asserting that Obama’s “‘radical’ policies are placing us all at risk.” A rhetorical question she posed, which appeared in the New York Times: “Mr. President, in a ticking time-bomb scenario, with American lives at stake, are you really unwilling to subject a terrorist to enhanced interrogation to get information that would prevent an attack?” (Putative White House answer: Yes.) The former State Department official and lawyer instead vocally advocates for policies more in line with the hard right, interventionist, neo-con fringe in the past administration.

This earned the PAC, well, a bit of flack from the left and center, along with slews of plain-old publicity (during its major fundraising drive, natch). Apparently, the push-back rubbed Cheney the wrong way — and in response Keep America Safe put an advertisement up on its website, criticizing MSNBC for its negative coverage and asking “Why don’t they want to talk substance” and “Why don’t they want to debate the issues?”

Enter Maddow. As it turns out, the liberal television host had invited Cheney on her show dozens of times, and Cheney had always declined. So, Maddow called Cheney out, publicly offering to have the neo-con on the popular show to talk shop. Alas, it seems Cheney is more chicken than hawk — she said she would appear on Hannity instead.

I felt a twinge of disappointment, as I would have loved to have seen the Maddow vs. Cheney debate — particularly because Maddow is the talking head with the best handle on foreign-policy and security issues. In short: She is a wonk. Before her show hit the big time, she was planning to write a book on the military’s effects on Washington politics, a project now shelved. She loves talking about the GI bill. She regularly hosts military and defense policy experts. In a quick scan of her shows and Keith Olbermann’s over the past month, she devotes something like twice the time to defense and foreign policy issues. And I’d love to see more figures from across the aisle speak with her.

Getty Images

Annie Lowrey is assistant editor at FP.
Tag: Media

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