Rep. Liz Cheney has some choice words about Joe Biden’s announcement that Sen. Kamala Harris will be his running mate in his presidential campaign, and those words show a failure to understand anything about the positionality of politicians on the left.
“Kamala Harris is a radical liberal who would raise taxes, take away guns & health insurance, and explode the size and power of the federal gov’t,” Cheney tweeted Tuesday. “She wants to recreate America in the image of what’s happening on the streets of Portland & Seattle. We won’t give her the chance.”
After Twitter began replying to Cheney's depiction of Harris as a "radical liberal," Cheney took it one step further by doubling down on herself. On Wednesday morning, Cheney appeared on Fox News' America’s Newsroom, where she lambasted Harris for her support of Medicare For All and stricter gun legislation, explaining that Harris “has a more liberal voting record than Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.” Cheney also called Harris’ policies “socialist,” indicating that Cheney does not actually know what socialism is, and Cheney accused Harris of supporting “abortion up until the ninth month and beyond,” which would be infanticide, but sure.
Cheney said the choice was made to “placate the very far socialist left of [Biden’s] party.” Unsurprisingly, people were baffled by this characterization of Harris because, well, she’s not exactly the “radical left.”
While it’s true that Harris’ voting history is quite liberal — in fact, she’s ranked by GovTrack as having the most liberal voting record in the Senate and joined bipartisan bills the least often — with vocal support of things like abortion access and DACA, her prosecutorial record paints a very different picture. Harris' "tough on crime" record has garnered her a reputation that she's spent the better part of her political career trying to combat. As Attorney General, she supported policies that punished parents of truant kids, appealed a ruling that found the death penalty to be unconstitutional, and did not overturn wrongful convictions. Harris also notably advocated against the use of police body cameras, which was widely criticized by the Black Lives Matter movement.
But Harris has reversed a lot of her positions on criminal justice reform, drug reform, and expressed support for the decriminalization of sex work in recent years. Her prosecutorial record, she says, has helped her evolve into a candidate that can now anticipate Trump's arguments regarding criminal justice, and has poised her to be able to grow policies that will ultimately serve and protect minority communities instead.
So, to Liz Cheney's point: Is Kamala Harris liberal? Yes, she is, and she will fight for liberal causes for the duration of the Biden-Harris candidacy. But is she the face of “the radical, socialist left?” Not exactly. In order to discredit Harris — and, in turn, Biden — Cheney and the conservative media have already shown that they are prepared to throw out every "liberal" buzzword they can in order to spook their base, whether the claim is accurate or not.
Of course, this is not the first time Cheney has gone after politicians on the left, though recently she’s been more vocal about her disagreements with the president himself. Late last month, Trump criticized Cheney and called for her to step down or be removed from Congress after she questioned his foreign policy decisions and called out his refusal to wear a mask in public.
Despite her seeming disapproval of him, Cheney seems perfectly willing to campaign for him by attacking his opponents, using his own rhetoric and likeness in the process.