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January 06, 2014 9:16 AM One Less Challenge

By Ed Kilgore

So as Washington begins slowly to return to normal activity this week, there is a quick, cheap shot of pure political news: Liz Cheney’s dropping her not-very-impressive Senate campaign. The official excuse is an undisclosed family illness. Assuming that’s an entirely legitimate explanation, you still get the sense most people around her are relieved to get off a bandwagon that was hemorrhaging oil and ready to lose a wheel.

What’s interesting about this sort of abandoned challenge is whether the changes it put in motion can now be reversed. Can Mike Enzi stop chewing big bloody chunks of meat three times a day and go back to being an obscure generic conservative Republican senator? Can Liz and her family move back to Virginia and abandon this whole Wyoming thing? Hard to say. But it’s one less Senate challenge we’ll have to keep up with later this year.

UPDATE: Charlie Pierce offers the final word on Liz Cheney:

There never was any there there. She never managed to find a way to connect her Beltway street cred — which, based on past accomplishments, she didn’t deserve, either, but never mind — to the gunslinging Republican base in a place like Wyoming. That left Wyoming voters with no good reason to chuck out a reliable right-winger like Mike Enzi on behalf of a woman whose sense of political entitlement fairly dripped off her every public pronouncement. This is a woman who sold out her own sister and didn’t even get pennies on the dollar, politically. (This is not even to mention that her campaign was amateurish and, in the case of the entirely avoidable flap regarding a fishing license, almost laughably so.) Her campaign ultimately had no inherent rationale beyond her being the daughter of one of the least excusable men in the history of modern American political life. That is rarely enough.
Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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