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  • Writer's pictureDavid M. Rubin

Nancy Mace: Profile In Courage

While managing to Tweet on May 12 about how good her constituent service has been in her first few months in office, Rep. Nancy Mace did not manage to inform her constituents how she voted on the removal of Liz Cheney from the House leadership.

But why bother to inform her constituents? It’s only the most important vote of her nascent career.

I had to call her office to learn that she voted to remove Cheney. At least her assistant admitted what Republicans have wanted to cover up; that is, how individual members voted. The craven House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy held a voice vote and did not publish how individuals voted.

Recall that Mace’s entire campaign to take the First District House seat from Joe Cunningham was built around one word: “Pelosi.” Because Cunningham had a sensible, often bi-partisan voting record and proved to be the cooperative centrist he promised to be, Mace had nothing to run on other than that she loved Donald Trump and wouldn’t support Nancy Pelosi.

So her ad campaign and public statements harped on the evil “Pelosi, Pelosi, Pelosi”, and she tied Cunningham to Pelosi at every opportunity.

Mace implied she wouldn’t be a compliant back-bencher, as she claimed Cunningham had been.

Well, Mace just blinked. She is clearly Kevin McCarthy’s dependable vote. There will be no way for her to duck that in 2022 when and if she tries to hold this seat.

She voted to remove from the leadership Liz Cheney, who does not subscribe to the Big Lie of the election. She voted to remove the one Republican House member who is warning the Republican Party of the dangerous, anti-democratic path it is taking. She voted to accept the legacy of a President who inspired an insurrection on January 6. She voted as she was told to vote.

At this writing, she has not offered any explanation for this vote, or any logic to support it. It’s obvious why not. What can she say? “I embrace the Big Lie. The election was stolen. Trump cannot be crossed. We Republicans have to stay unified, even if it means endangering our Republic.” That is the real explanation.

First term members of Congress don’t have a chance to shine very often. Mace has been nibbling around the edges of veterans issues, meeting with Low Country mayors, and announcing results of high school arts competitions. But THIS vote really meant something for the future of the country, and she flinched.

Mace is rightly a proud graduate of The Citadel. The Citadel Code, in its very first paragraph, says that students must “…be faithful, honest, and sincere in every act and purpose and to know that honorable failure is better than success by unfairness or cheating.”

Liz Cheney chose “honorable failure” in demanding that Republicans renounce Trump and his unending, dangerous, divisive lies. She paid for this with her leadership position, and she may pay for it with her seat in the House as the representative of Wyoming. Mace embraced “unfairness and cheating.” She violated The Citadel Code.

Whoever runs against Mace in 2022 has to make her vote to unseat Cheney one of the first questions she is forced to answer. Political reporters representing the local media cannot forget this moment when they moderate debates. Her constituents should question her about this vote at every opportunity.

Nancy Mace chose Trump over Liz Cheney. That matters.

Blogger David M. Rubin is the former Dean of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He is a former columnist for the Syracuse Post-Standard and an expert on First Amendment law (speech and press). He lives in Summerville.

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