Joni Ernst on ousting Liz Cheney: “Cancel culture is cancel culture no matter how you look at it”

I’m sympathetic to Cheney but this is silly. She’s not a random Twitter user somewhere who’s getting fired for having a Bad Opinion. She’s a member of Congress in the Republican leadership. Having political opinions is what she does for a living.

If removing Liz Cheney from office is “cancellation” then what’s the difference between “cancel culture” and basic political accountability?

She’s out of step with her caucus and with her constituents even though she’s right on the merits about the election and the insurrection. It’s a travesty that the party would rather be represented by conspiracy theorists and riot-inciters but it is what it is. Preferring to be represented by someone who’s more in tune with your views isn’t “cancellation” or else the term has lost all meaning.

“I feel it’s okay to go ahead and express what you feel is right to express and, you know, cancel culture is cancel culture no matter how you look at it. Unfortunately I think there are those that are trying to silence others in the party,” Ernst told reporters on Monday asked about Cheney’s likely ouster…

Ernst, who is the Senate GOP’s conference vice chair, noted that she supports Trump and his policies, so she and Cheney aren’t coming from the same place, “but I still think we shouldn’t be trying to cancel voices.”

“What we can do is come together and try to win seats in 2022. I think that’s what all of us should be focused on,” Ernst said, adding that she thought the fight over Cheney was a distraction from that.

If I oppose Trump in the 2024 primary, am I guilty of trying to “cancel” him? C’mon. If “cancel culture” is going to be a galvanizing concept for the right, it needs to mean more than “penalizing a person I like for having an unpopular view.” Josh Hawley seems to understand that better than Ernst, although maybe not much better:

Cheney losing her seat wouldn’t be a case of “cancel culture” either. To me, “cancellation” is when someone suffers serious and disproportionate professional consequences for holding a disfavored personal opinion. That being so, I’m not sure how a politician could ever rightly be said to have been “canceled.” When your representative is too far out of sync with popular opinion locally, the proper recourse is to replace them with someone who isn’t. That’s not disproportionate. It’s … politics.