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Liz Cheney Opposes Syria Strike

Liz Cheney Opposes Syria Strike

By Scott Conroy - September 4, 2013

In her uphill primary bid to unseat Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi, Liz Cheney has brandished her hard-right credentials and tried to outflank the conservative incumbent at every turn.

Last week, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney revealed her opposition to same-sex marriage, leading her younger sister, Mary Cheney -- who married her longtime partner Heather Poe last year -- to chastise her elder sister publicly, calling her “dead wrong” on the issue.

On the issue of whether the U.S. should launch military action against Syria, however, the political calculation for the upstart Senate contender is trickier. Cheney has long been one of the GOP’s staunchest and most vocal advocates of using military force to project American power abroad, particularly against rogue regimes in the Middle East.

But polls show that a majority of Republicans now oppose military strikes against the Assad government, despite evidence that it has used chemical weapons against civilians.

At a speech delivered to the Jackson Hole Tea Party on Tuesday, Cheney laid down her marker in harshly criticizing President Obama for his handling of Syria and making clear that she does not support military action against the Assad regime.

“The press will try to portray this Syria debate as a battle between wings of the Republican Party,” Cheney said, according to the Jackson Hole News & Guide. “Don’t believe them.”

A co-founder of the neoconservative advocacy group Keep America Safe, Cheney in 2008 advocated for a policy that would hold the Syrian president “to account” for his actions and called for the implementation of red lines in the Middle East.

"I think that getting back to a situation where our enemies in the region understand that America will stand up for its friends, that America will stand up for its principles and that we have red lines is critically important," Cheney told a meeting of the pro-Israel group AIPAC, according to the Washington Post. "When those red lines aren't there, when our enemies like Iran and Syria begin to believe that they can act with impunity, you see situations like you have got in Lebanon today -- where Hezbollah now has a veto over that government, where Hezbollah will be able, I fear, to significantly continue its efforts to rearm in southern Lebanon, continue to threaten Israel and allow Iran a real chokehold on the region."

In her remarks on Tuesday, the former Fox News contributor lamented that some local news outlets were not “fair and balanced” and singled out for rebuke one newspaper editor who recently wrote an article highlighting Cheney’s posting of a $220 bond for swearing a false oath in order to obtain a fishing license.

“Newspapers are dying, and that’s not a bad thing,” Cheney said.

A poll conducted by the Republican-affiliated Harper Polling last month showed Enzi leading Cheney by 34-point margin (55 percent to 21 percent). 

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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