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In defeat, Cheney chides Trump and invokes history

JACKSON, Wyo. — Liz Cheney closed one chapter of her public life and opened another with a history-heavy speech Tuesday night that made clear that she’s at peace with losing her congressional seat — and ready to continue her fight against Donald Trump.

“This primary election is over,” Cheney told a crowd of supporters at a picturesque ranch outside Jackson, Wyo., saying she’d called her Trump-backed opponent, Harriet Hageman, to concede the race. “But now the real work begins.”

Cheney made no apologies for the decisions that led to her election loss. And she contrasted her quick concession to Trump’s prolonged refusal to acknowledge his own electoral loss, a refusal that led to the violence of Jan. 6, 2021 and the rise of election deniers within the Republican Party.

What Cheney’s next chapter will be remains uncertain, but the Republican made one thing clear about her political future in the speech: Her fight to protect American democracy is just beginning, and she meant what she said about doing everything in her power to make sure Donald Trump never steps foot near the Oval Office again.

Cheney said she was well aware of the political risks she has taken in opposing Trump, noting that she won her previous primary with over 70 percent of the vote and would likely have won Tuesday night’s race had she chosen a different path.

“But it would’ve required that I go along with President Trump’s lie about the 2020 election. It would’ve required that I enable his ongoing efforts to unravel our Democratic system, and attack the foundations of our republic,” Cheney said. “That was a path I could not and would not take.”

Cheney took the stage around 8:15 p.m. Wyoming time as the sun began to set. Mountains surrounded the gathering, and hay bales held up four American flags. A red vintage Chevrolet 3100 was positioned to the side of the stage.

She thanked members of her campaign team, her husband and her five children, four of whom were in the audience, along with her parents, former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Second Lady Lynne Cheney.

During the speech, she made repeated references to American history, particularly the history of the Civil War. She quoted from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. And she recounted how Ulysses S. Grant refused to retreat and led the Union Army to victory in the Civil War.

“Lincoln and Grant, and all who fought in our nation’s tragic Civil War, including my own great great grandfathers, saved our union. Their courage saved freedom,” Cheney said. “And if we listen closely, they are speaking to us down the generations. We must not idly squander what so many have fought and died for.”

And perhaps coyly, she noted that Lincoln had lost elections to Congress before he went on to be elected president.

“Abraham Lincoln was defeated in elections for the Senate and the House before he won the most important election of all. Lincoln ultimately prevailed, he saved our union and he defined our obligation as Americans for all of …read more

Former Rep. TJ Cox of Fresno indicted on charges of fraud and money laundering

The Democrat is accused of siphoning at least $1.7 million from companies he owned and funneling $25,000 in illegal straw donations to his campaign.

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Liz Cheney’s Non-Concession Speech

Concession speeches come in more varieties than the Baskin-Robbins menu. But the best ones aren’t forgotten — and Liz Cheney’s might yet go down in history — provided you are willing to have a generous definition of “concession.”

Most have at least a measure of graciousness and a call for unity. John McCain in 2008 made a point not just of congratulating Barack Obama but celebrating the victory.

“His success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance,” McCain said. “But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans, who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president, is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving.”

Some proclaim the power of the cause they fought for. Ted Kennedy memorably ended his 1980 convention speech — a lengthy recitation of the liberal vision — by saying: “For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”

A few offer humor. When Dick Tuck lost a California state Senate race in 1966, he proclaimed: “the people have spoken — the bastards.” (Rep. Mo Udall borrowed the line in 1976.)

Some grudgingly acknowledge the loss with more than a touch of anger. Stacey Abrams in 2018 condemned the “rotten and rigged” election system, and said flatly: “So let’s be clear, this is not a speech of concession because concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper. As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede that.”

And on occasion, a touch of barely suppressed resentment emerges, most famously as when Richard Nixon, after losing a 1962 governor’s race, told the press corps “you won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.”

But rarely do we see the kind of “concession” speech that Cheney delivered tonight. (She had plenty of time to prepare her remarks, since polls have showed her losing badly for months.) It was, as she had promised, a “road map” to her future plans for denying Donald Trump a return to the White House.

The only remotely parallel concession speech that comes to mind is when Sen. Joe Lieberman lost the 2006 Democratic primary to Ned Lamont (now the Connecticut governor), who rallied liberals against Lieberman for, among other things, his vote for the Iraq War.

Far from conceding, Lieberman said that “As I see it, in this campaign we just finished the first half and the Lamont team is ahead. In the second half our team — Team Connecticut — is going to surge forward to victory.” Deploring the dominance of partisan politics, he said: “…Tomorrow we launch a new campaign to unite the people of Connecticut — Team Connecticut — Democrats, Republicans and independents so we can go forward together to solve our most serious problems together.”

The pitch worked. That November, Lieberman defeated Lamont …read more

Firefighters battle blaze at vacant Exposition Park laundromat

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Supersonic Passenger Jets Are Back? Not So Fast

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